I ended up with a BANDERSNATCH TATTOO after letting social media control my day

I created a real life Bandersnatch experience for our followers to dictate what I did all day. 10,000 people tuned in and over 27,000 votes were cast to decide my fate.

By Ben Brown | 18 January 2019

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10am – Time to wake up and get started

In order to make things easier I slept at fellow Finest friend Steven’s house on Friday night. His wonderful girlfriend made us a top-notch curry, we watched a zombie film with a few beers and I secretly pushed back the worries in the back of my head about Saturday’s event.

I woke up at 10am to the first choice;

Should I start the day with a coffee or a Jägermeister?

As a staunch hater of coffee, I was secretly hoping for the Jager, I don’t think I’d have been able to handle a cup of coffee and the day would be over before it started.

Of course, people chose the Jager and I relished the sweet aniseed fire as it went down my gullet. Dutch courage and all that. Next up – what to wear;

Casual or Full 3 Piece Suit?

Straight away I knew I was going to have to get the suit on – the percentages skewed in its favour pretty much instantly and never faltered. I suppose it was probably for the best, wherever and whatever I ended up doing for the rest of the day – at least my mum would think I look smart.

Next up – breakfast and unfortunately for me Steven had a LOT of tins of John Smiths in the fridge, so the choice was;

Granola or John Smiths?

As you’d expect, I was supping that flat bitter in less than 20 minutes, worrying that all of our followers were certainly just looking to stitch me up at every opportunity.

My suspicions were pretty much confirmed with the next question;

Shall I get an Uber to Manchester of shall I hitchhike?

Low and behold, in no time at all I was using the Granola box to create a sign for the side of the road, certain that nobody in their right mind would pick me up ever.

12pm – Leaving the House

Standing at the side of Moorside Road in Swindon, can in hand, freezing my face off it was clear – nobody was going to stop for me.

Perhaps it was my appearance, looking like a young Uncle Albert on his way to a date at the Nags Head, or the fact that I’d written my sign with too much small text. Most of the people who drove past either looked at the sign and laughed or just strenuously kept their eyes forward and avoided even looking at me altogether.

I tried smiling. I tried a new sign. After a suggestion from a follower on Instagram I finished off my can of John Smiths and took off my gloves. Still no luck. I decided to turn to the one tool that had got me there in the first place – Social Media.

I told followers where I was and asked if anyone could pick me up, and surprisingly enough a mere 15 minutes later I was walking down the road to get a lift with Jess, who was more than happy to stop on her way to The Ivy. Thanks Jess!

The car was pretty packed and everyone looked ready for what would undoubtedly be an enjoyable day down Spinningfields. After a quick chat we were in town and I was out in the cold once more. Time to get myself sorted and get some proper food inside me.

1:30pm – Finally in Manchester

Of course, with this being a Bandersnatch day I couldn’t choose my own food, so the question was raised;

Should I spend £10 in Greggs or £10 in Mackie Mayor?

Knowing that I could probably get around 35 sausage rolls in Greggs and likely only 1 thing in Mackie Mayor I was hoping for Greggs – I was absolutely starving by this point. Certainly, the closest of any of the questions that we asked that day, both options were pretty much neck and neck but Mackie Mayor ended up nipping Greggs to the post. I suppose some haggling would need to be done.

Arriving in Mackie Mayor there was only really 2 choices with a tenner;

Baohouse or Honest Crust Pizza?

It would be tight. Honest Crust would get me a Margherita and not much else, Baohouse – one bao and maybe a side if I was cheeky.

Sure enough, the people proclaimed that Bao House was the winner and so I slowly approached, tiny tenner in hand to see what I could get my hands on.

To be fair to the gang at Bao House they did a little deal for me – offering 2 of their ‘Bao of the Day’ for £10, and they were some form of Chicken creation, but I’m not entirely sure – I never got to bloody eat them!

That’s because the next question was;

Should I eat them or should I give them to someone who actually needs them?

Well, by this point I was really, really hungry – but I suppose I wasn’t as hungry as someone who is homeless so this was a chance for us to do something nice and our followers didn’t disappoint.

It was cold and miserable and raining outside, so I was more than happy to deliver two steaming hot chicken bao buns to a fella outside Morrisons on Piccadilly Gardens.

3pm – Things start to get extreme

This is where things started getting a bit out of hand, as I went from a barbers to tequila to a tattoo parlour in the space of around 2 hours.

Starting off outside RPB, probably Manchester’s best barbers, it was put to our followers to choose what I did with my rather large beard;

Shave it all off or Have a trim?

Of course, I already knew the answer before the 20 minutes was out. Nobody gave a shit that it took me around 4 months to grow my beard or that it so effectively hid my many double chins – they wanted it off.

As the barber started his clippers and my seemingly endless facial hair sprinkled around me there was space for another question to our followers;

Shall I stop or Shall I take it all off?

It was decided that my trim would stop around the ‘Handlebar Moustache’ stage – allowing people to decide whether it should be kept or I should be completely bald. The fact that I’m still sporting a ‘tache that would make Freddie Mercury, Ian Rush and Jim MacDonald jealous will tell you which option won.

I then headed to Crazy Pedro’s and even enjoyed around 7 minutes down time before I was back at it – downing tequila shots with some ‘fans’ who had been following the story all day.

By this point our followers were inundating our Instagram with suggestions of what I should get up to and I was pleased to hear that a few people just wanted me to get off home and have a relax. But many more had different views…

After around 5 people mentioned the word ‘tattoo’, the decision was made. I was going to get a Bandersnatch tatt to commemorate the day. Brilliant.

Walking up the steps of Studio 81 on Oldham Street, the lovely fellas who worked there were in for a bit of a surprise. The next question;

Should I get tattooed with my own design or the design of the professional?

Well, as someone who is a self-confessed ‘shit drawer’ I sincerely tried my best at creating a tattoo of the Bandersnatch creature (a sort of goat/demon/dog/80’s rock star creature) and it wasn’t half bad to be fair.

As you’d expect though, the actual real artists’ version was MUCH better, but as the people went to the ballot boxes in their phones, I fully expected my piece of shit to adorn my arm by the end of the day. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when the tattooist’s design won. Phew!

A quick lube up, a couple of needles and the thing was done. It’s pretty decent too. Thanks guys!

7pm – Things are starting to get messy

The sun had gone down and the city was coming alive with people looking forward to a Saturday night out on the tiles. The next question wasn’t as extreme as the tattoo but it certainly made things interesting;

Have 40 Chicken Nuggets or Do Karaoke at The Millstone.

Again, it didn’t take long to realise that the karaoke option was a favourite, so we headed towards the old school boozer in the NQ and as usual – it was packed.

A quick squeeze towards the DJ booth and we were told that the karaoke wasn’t on – the guy’s microphone was buggered and so after a short impromptu rendition of ‘It’s Not Unusual’ using just my voice like Barry out of Eastenders, the only choice was 40 Chicken Nuggets.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to eat 40 Chicken Nuggets in one sitting – it’s VERY HARD. After 35 I was feeling the strain and had to stop, otherwise I’d have passed out into a nugget coma and likely ended up in a ditch too early.

As punishment I was to head to Sandinista, who were conveniently offering £1 tequila shots, to finish off the final 5 in liquid form. Needless to say, again it was a struggle, but I sunk them and managed not to spew them back up.

22:00pm – Heading Home?

By this point I was a bit of a mess – mostly because of the tequilas and the fact that, just like Gizmo, I have rules about drinking the stuff. The final question of the day was;

Shall I go Home or Run through the fountains in Piccadilly Gardens (and then go home).

87% of our followers wanted to continue my pain and so elected for me to run through the fountains.

Off we went back to Piccadilly Gardens where – luckily enough – the fountains had been turned off for the night. A turn up for the books after a day of getting stitched up!

I took the opportunity to quickly slink off home and have a very enjoyable kip and very lazy Sunday.