All the best ‘stick n poke’ tattoos that Lancs students did over lockdown

They fade eventually… right?

The trauma of traversing through a trilogy of lockdowns has been difficult for most Lancaster students. With one of the only outings still available to those on campus being the launderette and Spar shutting earlier and earlier by the week, opportunities to escape your flat to live out a main character fantasy are becoming increasingly sparse. 

It comes as no surprise, then, that there’s been an uptake in Lancs students committing to being stabbed multiple times with a needle by an amateur, often drunk, tattoo artist that happens to be their flatmate. That’s right, Lancs students are giving themselves stick and poke tattoos. Maybe it’s out of boredom; maybe it’s to feel edgy? Whatever the reason, we’ve been blessed with seeing an eclectic mix of lockdown tattooes that might make you wonder exactly why you’d ever want to pay for a proper tattoo ever again:

Flat Unity

Our first entry comes from a group in Grizedale. While some undergrads might be sick of the sight of their flatmates, this townhouse have demonstrated their bond by getting their flat number tattooed. Not only is the uniform nature of the tattoos’ fonts impressive, but also the fact that so many flat members were willing to agree to the procedure. Here’s hoping that they can all look down to their ankles in 30 years time and fondly remember flat 128, along with all the shenanigans that occurred inside. This seems like one that nobody is going to regret.

The all-seeing eye

The next submission is from a brave Bowland student who elected to add some pizzazz to their ankle with an ethereal-looking eye. It’s true that the eye won’t see much on the average day other than the inside of a sock, but it can still nonetheless be useful as an icebreaker at parties or as a means of giving parents a cheeky heart attack at subsequent christmas dinners. It’s not entirely clear what the eye is symbolising – viewing life from a different perspective? A connection to the Illuminati? Impersonating Count Olaf from “A Series of Unfortunate Events”? Either way it looks cool and we endorse it. 

Love to see it

This heartthrob tattoo saw a fusion of whe  a Bowland artist meets a Cartmel client. In an impulse purchase, the pair bought a tattoo kit in hope of forming an ink-based bond. The juxtaposition of the sad heart just has the right balance to give off doses of serotonin. The glum face somehow radiates love. Why not have a heart tattoo slapped on your body? It might be a helpful prompt in an increasingly heartless world.

Bored to tiers

The next four examples of artistic exuberance were sent by one Furnessian who must be experiencing serious questions about themselves. The lockdown has taken a toll on them and in their deranged state they have turned their arms into a canvas for some questionable sketches. Ranging from a flower to an homage of the iconic Smash Mouth song, the eclectic mix of doodles paint a picture of impulsivity, disregard for consequences and a strong desire for the pubs to reopen.

Sliding in

Here we have another Bowland attempt, with an artisanally crafted snake (maybe a worm), again located by the ankle – a popular position it would appear. What’s impressive here is not only the design but also the iron will that the recipient must have, as the curvy, serpentine design of the tattoo will have required stillness and a high pain threshold to endure being stabbed in the pursuit of an avant-garde piece of body art. 


Arriving via Furness college is this entry, containing four animals not often seen together –  a duck, sheep, jellyfish and worm (or it could be a mermaid). A psychological assessment of the reasoning behind each creature is difficult: the duck is likely an homage to Lancaster’s duck population; the sheep may be a reminder to not simply follow the crowd and be prepared to stand out; the jellyfish is a potential warning to others not to get too close or they might get stung; and the worm might be them demonstrating that they like to do things at their own pace. That being said, they could also have just picked four animals at random.

Air beneath hair

From the very same Furness flat comes a unique choice, with this Lancs student opting to have the astrological symbol for air tattooed on the back of their neck. The simplistic yet elegant design serves as a way of demonstrating their spiritual demeanour; failing that, if you can make it out clearly, it’s a handy indicator that you’re standing too close to them in the queue in Sainsbury’s. 

Time to leave

Our final inclusion comes yet again from Furness; despite being the smallest college, it appears to have been the most eager to get creative with lockdown stick and pokes. It would appear that this individual has sacrificed their thigh to echo a sentiment that many of us must be feeling at the moment – the urge to escape from this persistently problematic planet. The simple three letter farewell placed underneath the lucky kidnappee sums up how exhausted this entrant must feel (whether that’s due to work stress, rent worries or just life in general). Whatever it is, we sympathise and admire the handiwork.

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