We are a tattoo studio based in Seaham, North East, UK
Well first of all, I am just some bloke but The Studio's name is 'Thandertons Tattoo Studio', previously known as John Anderton's Nemesis Tattoo Studio until relatively recent events sparked the inspiration for a rebranding!
One of these events was the opening of another, unaffiliated Nemesis Tattoo Studio in London's Camden, this created quite a lot of confusion regarding the Nemesis brand, initially customers complaining about tattoos they'd had there but mistakingly airing their complaints on our own website but more recently people having tattoos done there which they are happy with but again assuming they've been tattooed by people at the Nemesis they'd intended to go to.
I'd like to make it clear that there is absolutely no offence taken at all from my end, (my family excluded, who urged me to fight for the name I'd worked so hard to earn respect and renown for) because I have a different view, I see the world more as a game, and in games we face the occasional challenge so I chose to look at this as one of those.
Fight or 'Flight'
So the question was "are you going to fight it?"
The answer was "no"
With what I consider to be a realistic understanding of the universes workings I decided there were three potential paths with this choice,
One, I fight for a few years at a cost of stress, time and money and eventually win but be in exactly the same position as I already was once it was over.
Two, I fight the same few years at a cost of stress, time and money and actually lose because they have an 's' on the end of tattoos or something, or
Three, I politely ask them to change it and they immediately scrap their business cards, studio sign, T-shirts, convention banners, stickers and anything else with that name on, say sorry and then leave.
Number 3 was very unlikely so I decided another path.
Rather than to fight, I was going to choose to Fly.
Why should I be the one to rebrand?!!
I don't mean fly as in run away but to fly in the sense of rising above the whole thing like a bird above your head, ...and I don't mean some drunk bird from Newcastle on a night out.. different kind of bird, different kind of head.
I thought rather than fighting, how could I look at this as an opportunity to learn and potentially grow?
I decided instead to rebrand and redesign the whole thing.
I'd need new business cards, a new studio sign, new T-shirts, new convention banners, new stickers and anything else with the old name on... How exciting!!
So with this new idea in my head along with a massive sense of calm I'd acquired from choosing the path of peace, I began work on thinking of what I'd do differently this time around.
Peace to resistance.
I'd definitely define my definite goals and maybe make some people deaf... 'innit'.
I'd definitely make a cool new sign using that fancy technique of wood finishing that I'd just learned from watching about 4 Youtube videos on the subject (shou sugi ban)
I'd definitely make a cool new set of Business cards that people could collect including rare 'shinies' some of which would be very difficult to obtain, potentially even requiring the shedding of blood to earn, or perhaps one of them would require the clicking of specific words on a website to unlock a puzzle that would ultimately lead to a test earning one the knowledge of how to acquire it. Either a way, a set of cards would be cool.
I'd definitely make new stickers.
I'd definitely start the studio name with multiple A's so we come first in lists.
I'd definitely decide after a lot of consideration that this could actually be a good time to rebrand myself for my music career but at the same time link both of my passions together.
But Thanderton doesn't begin with multiple A's?
I know that! Aren't you reading this?
I understand that this is a long piece of writing and that we're already down the page a bit but I literally wrote that the studio was called 'Aanderton, Thanks' at the beginning!
So yes, it starts with two A's... minimum.
At this point I should probably point out that as part of the whole rebranding thing (along with a desire to remove a certain middle name that nobody had ever called me in my whole life right up until I was on tour in Australia with Mic Righteous in October 2018 and one of the guys saw my passport and started calling me it) I decided to change my name.
No longer shall I be known as John, my slave name given at birth. I am henceforth going to be known as Thanks Aanderton... with 2 A's. (the 2 A's part isn't part of the name, I was just pointing out the second A)
I actually legally changed my name officially, by deed poll on the Friday before the first Australia gig whilst walking over a bridge.. It's actually surprisingly easy to do.
By this point I'd been making music, specifically Rap for a couple of years, had released 2 Albums and a few singles from a planned upcoming project, done a few gigs in a few countries, had radio play and had been invited to go on tour with Mic Righteous (Rocky Takaloobigahintonshire III Esq.) who had taken me under his wing to teach me the ways of the forgotten art of poetry, aka making funny little sentences that rhyme like you do when you're at infant school.
Apparently if you put music with them and throw the odd curse word in people like it.
I had been under the impression that in order to attain any level of success in the music industry it was likely that I'd have to lose everything, after all this is one of the things that seems to happen just before you achieve almost anything important to you, there always seems to be that final challenge to overcome, that final block on the path, that final boss to defeat before you finish the 'level' you're on, get the prize and move on to the next level. I mean it certainly was like that the first time around when I was fired from my factory job ultimately forcing me to take the risk of losing everything to go full time into tattooing and that turned out alright so I trusted it would happen again. It turns out I had misunderstood the lesson there though.
Lose it all.
But what does Thanderton even mean tho?
The universe seems to have a certain code.
The new understanding was that maybe you didn't need to lose everything, although it does seem as though you have to be willing to, or at least have to consider that it is a definite possibility before you take the risk. Maybe you don't have to actually lose the things though, or maybe you only do sometimes, maybe you only actually have to lose the things you hate, such as the factory job you literally sell your one and only asset of actual life time to for money.
If this is a game then the object would surely be enjoyment and entertainment, basically 'to experience joy', with lessons only in there to help us advance in our ability to achieve joy.
If that is the case then losing something you love wouldn't really fit, I mean, that wouldn't be fun.
So after a bit of looking into myself and trying to figure out what had happened in my life so far and how I could make better choices going forward, I remembered that I love tattooing. Something that I had actually forgotten over time and as I started to embrace this art form again I noticed that it only gave me more inspiration and more opportunities with the music. And when I'm around the music side, people are often interested in the tattoos so why shouldn't I do both?
Even make a store.
So that's what we're doing here, I'm going to present everything together in one place and let the inspiration flow freely in whichever direction it seems to want to go.
Already I can see it making a difference there are ideas coming from everywhere it feels like there are almost unlimited possibilities, we've even finally got around to offering things such as Prints, T-Shirts, Pins, Original Artwork and even socks in the store. (plus I need somewhere to put my CD's, which, technically is just another artistic medium I choose to work in... The medium of words.. or If we add a difficulty level to that of medium then it's the medium
medium of words, if I ever manage to channel any spiritual energy whilst writing them it would be the medium medium of medium words. If I write them down, but not to small or too big then it's the medium medium of medium medium words, maybe if I do all of that but only choose words that are a certain amount of letters, ie. neither too many nor too few it would be the medium medium of medium medium medium words. Maybe if I speak like a geordie caveman it's "me dee 'em medium medium of medium medium medium words")
What? I can't even remember what I was saying.
>10 PRINT *LOOK AROUND YOU *
>20 GO TO 10
First of all. Never write 'though' like that again.
Ok, so I'll finally explain the whole thanderton thing.
A friend of mine I met in the Army, yes I was in the army for a bit. 4 years 361 days to be precise. No I didn't like it. No I didn't kill anyone... at least not to the best of my knowledge but I did do a few dodgy repairs on some landrovers and tanks. Yes I have trained with weapons. Yes I can drive a tank. Yes I went to Iraq. Yes I was a little scared when I first got there but you get used to it really quick. I mean, there was the occasional mortar coming over the walls into camp but they almost never hit anything with them.
So again.. A friend I met in the army who's name is John Davies (apparently pronounced Davis, which I don't agree with) who's life ambition at the time seemed to be to become the guy with the coolest looking hat in the whole army introduced me to a TV show called Look around you, a British comedy written by Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowix which was narrated by Nigel Lambert in the style of an educational documentary. One of the running jokes in the series was to teach you new words which were always a mix of the first and last words such as thanks ants.. thants and bless you ants.. blants.
I'm not intending to spoil it for anyone but explaining the punchline of this joke is kind of part of the story. On it's own it's not really an amazing joke but over the course of the series more words were 'taught' for instance on the music episode the ghost of composer Tchaikovsky comes along to help with something which results in a thanks Tchaikovsky.. Thaikovsky. Again, in my opinion funny but still not amazing, but then after a full series of this and some other running jokes the last episode has two security guards who are both named Hank who are generally around, in and out of different gags throughout the episode and although here in this writing it might be obvious by now as to what is coming but when I first saw that episode and the narrator thanked them both for helping with something with a "thanks Hanks... Thanks" I couldn't even handle it.
From this joke "Davis" started to say Thanks Anderton... Thanderton which eventually made it onto the TV in my room on one of those embossed plastic labels they would have on bottles in science classrooms in the late 80's early 90's as well as on bottles on the show of things such as Hydrochloric Acid or Maths.
Thanks Look Around You.. Thook around you.
So you changed your name to thanks because of a joke?
Not exactly, the name change was a result of a lot of other thoughts I'd had, for instance this isn't the first time I've changed my name, my original surname was Nutter and although my Dad and brothers seemed to have a pretty easy time with this and were able to laugh it off quite well, I was not. Plus I was in the later part of primary school and the first part of comprehensive school at the same time the Harry Enfield Dime Bar advert came out where a guy shouts "that bloke's a nutter" and as if that wasn't enough "Oi Nutter" in a cockney accent.
The other kids loved this but again I did not, I understand now that everyone has their own version of this and that it's a pretty standard part of a childhood, maybe it's part of the games tutorial where our goals and life missions are being coded for later when we're finally allowed to start playing but either way it definitely affected my confidence.
I'm not saying that I was bullied the most or that I had no confidence but I acknowledge that it was a factor in my life which eventually had me snapping angrily at people in the army who made the same jokes but were higher ranks than me, this doesn't go down well in the army.
They really do believe in that whole rank system thing, that somehow a couple of stripes on a shirt make you better than someone.
I realised that getting angry and lashing out at people who held power over me and that being in a job where I'm surrounded by people who hold power over me were both very bad ideas.
One day whilst being punished for something bullshit such as having my sideburns 1mm too long or for being told to be somewhere at 9 and then not being 5 minutes early, Bordon's biggest bellend CSM Kelly made me clean the Officers break room and wash all of their cups whilst everyone else got to go home. Most of the time he let me get on with it but as if he could read my mind he came in and specifically told me not to use the stronger cleaning products like floor cleaner on the cups at exactly the same time I was pondering wether or not they would be strong enough to poison anyone.
I took this as a sign, maybe murder wasn't the answer to my problem, maybe there was another way.. I asked for his advice and he told me I could always change my name.
I felt a huge relief at this idea which left me to think for a while after he left, maybe he was actually a good person? Maybe he was just as lost as anyone else and that maybe he too had been bullied earlier in his life and was only trying to work it out in his own way.
I immediately erased that last thought, wiped my knob around the rim of his cup and then went home to change my name.
But what can I do about it?
I indeed 'deed' that and I used Deed Poll
At the time changing your name was £48 and I still think that might have been the best £48 I'd ever spent, I was immediately more confident, no longer did I dread the part of meeting someone where they would ask what my name was, and although I'd try to avoid it, answering simply "John" rarely worked, people almost always followed up with "so what's your second name then?"
I wasn't bothered what I'd change it to, my only requirements were that it wasn't weird and that it began with an A because I would always be talking by the time they got to the letter N on the morning register. (yes just like school, there's a reason they're recruiting 17 year olds and not 25 year olds)
Most people might think to use a family name, which I also did consider, but the only one that started with A was Archer, which was also the surname of my girlfriend at the time and I thought might be a bit weird.. Errm... That guitar shop I like begins with an A, that will do. Anderton.
Andertons is a music shop in Guildford, Surrey in the UK and every time I went there as well as every time I've been there since I'd be greeted by friendly knowledgeable people who are genuinely happy to help.
Plus they would let you try out even the most expensive equipment they had, full in the knowledge you aren't going to buy it but without any judgement because you never know what happens in the future.
Anderton and a ton of confidence later.
I not only decided to take on that name but I decided to take on that same attitude also, who knows if someone will be able to afford a £5,000 guitar in a few years if they can't right now. I know they probably would't go back to the place who looked down on them but would very likely go to the place that had treated them like a human if they could later. If I ever had a shop I would hope to approach it with the same attitude.
The confidence continued to grow and I eventually had my own tattoo studio, called Nemesis after an Arch Enemy track and I was enjoying almost every day of tattooing and was working at conventions and meeting lots of different people and learning lots of different things for a while and then Instagram came along.
I didn't really care much for that kind of thing but figured it might be good for business, plus a few of my friends were on there so I made an account.
I had to choose a name, I chose @thanderton from the in-joke with my friend because I wasn't really taking the whole thing seriously and I was just kind of doing it for fun at the time, which it really was for quite a while.
Then the account started to get popular which made me wonder if I actually should be taking it seriously, I figured the answer was a strong maybe and changed my account name to @john_anderton_art... and then I lost interest.
We Are Nemesis.
So that's what it means!!
Long story short as I started to feel like I had to be professional and that I should take it more seriously it started to feel a lot more like a job and not the fun hobby I was somehow managing to get paid for.
I was at work creating tattoos to the best of my ability but because I had to not because I wanted to.
Somehow I was no longer able to achieve the extra level of detail that was so easily achieved before. I couldn't concentrate on the quality as easily, but maybe because I was trying to.
I realised eventually that there is such thing as trying too hard, it leaves much less room for error but it's sometimes these errors or these mistakes that force you to consider something different, the freedom to relax seemed to be the thing that was missing, I had to take it less seriously, I'd told so many people this over the years when they'd ask me for advice and now I had to listen to myself.
Just care a bit less.
When you care a bit less you're no longer the adult who's been told what to do, who looks at the clock and is gutted they have 4 hours left, you can go back to being the kid who is pretending to be an adult but is secretly having fun because they know how to make everything into a game.
Maybe that 'Thanderton' attitude was the thing I was missing. That doesn't necessarily mean I should change it back though, that's not often a good idea, always move forward.
Maybe keep the new account name on the tattoo account but I still held the @thanderton tag and so I decided to put that onto my music account and use it as a reminder not to take life too seriously, and most importantly be true to myself and not be what I think others think I should be.
So that's what I did. My music instagram changed to Thanderton but I still didn't know what my stage name should be for shows, which brings us up to the point where I decided to take it the one step further and commit fully as I mentioned earlier.
After all changing my name the first time had only brought good things, why not again this time.
Plus going back to having a strange name is probably some kind of conclusion to the things I need to learn from my childhood, as if I was always destined to have a strange name but now I'm able to be at peace with it.
Probably because it's by choice this time rather than just because I'm born into a system where my character name was already given to me when I started, what type of crap is that?!
I like the word thanks, it shows appreciation. In a way, by changing my name to Thanks Aanderton I'm actually saying thanks for everything the name Anderton has given me, except this time I have 2 A's.
The 2 A's were mainly because it looks better like that when it's written down, but once it was done I realised if I used it for the studio name it would link it to the old name whilst still bringing us up first on lists. (gotta be first on the lists)
Thanderton is the word that joins all of these things and these attitudes together, it's about freedom, joy and inspiration, about not taking yourself or others too seriously, about having fun whilst striving to better yourself and your abilities in whatever you choose to do whilst not being too hard on yourself if you make a mistake, mistakes are human.
Being human is ok.
Wow, that took longer than I thought it would to write.
When I get the urge to write again, I plan to add parts here about some of the awesome people that currently work here and even some things about the people who have worked here in the past, But that's going to be another day.
Currently we have Sophie Cahill, Bethanie Lauren and Chris Edwards, you can find links to their profiles and mine at the top of the page on the drop downs.
In the mean time why not buy some thocks?!