Elayne Angel Podcast and Book Review

Elayne Angel admits she’s more conservative about piercing than many others, and as far as her new book, The Piercing Bible, is concerned, that probably works to her advantage. Over five years in the making, the book is billed as “the definitive guide to safe body piercing,” which ostensibly seems like a dicey proposition; there could be some (understandable) apprehension to an actual guide to piercing for public consumption. Angel cuts this off at the head, though, in an early section in which she states that “piercing (is) not a do-it-yourself hobby,” and that this is not meant to be a handbook for hacks or people who think they can blow off an apprenticeship. On piercing kits sold in some shops, for example, she writes, “These are no safer than a home root canal kit and must be avoided.”

What the book actually is is a user’s guide. As it methodically goes through all the necessary steps one should consider before getting pierced (choosing a good shop, advice for kids and parents, etc.), it strips away any notion of piercing as something underground and deviant. Angel explores the different motivations one may have, but places the act itself in the context of normal behavior—something so normal, in fact, that one can write a sober, conservative guide to it.

As the book progress, Angel discusses most piercings in detail: what is appropriate placement? Appropriate jewelry? Appropriate anatomy? How long will it take to heal? A long section on aftercare follows, filling in any holes that may have remained. Beyond that, many of the latter sections of the book are dedicated to piercing as an element of modern culture, whether it’s looking for work with visible piercings (and what a person’s priorities should be), dealing with prejudice and even what to do if one wants to become a piercer oneself.

It’s an incredibly thorough piece of work, but it doesn’t fall into the trap of becoming a manual. There’s enough there to help you understand each procedure and what goes into making it successful, but stops short of making you feel as if you can perform a certain procedure simply because of what you’ve read. There’s really not much bad to say about The Piercing Bible; Angel only briefly touches on subjects like microdermals, with which she has little experience, so there’s certainly room for expansion here, but as both an offering to the mainstream and a guide for the experienced, the book is certainly a success.

Visit PiercingBible.com for more information.

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As well, here’s my interview with Elayne Angel, in which we discuss how the book came together, her career as a piercer and how Hurricane Katrina changed her life. Stream or download the podcast below. Enjoy!


Right-click and “Save Target/Link As” to download the .mp3 directly

Music featured:

The Gutter Twins – Down the Line (Jose Gonzalez cover)
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – Coma Girl
The Twilight Singers – Bonnie Brae

21 thoughts on “Elayne Angel Podcast and Book Review

  1. GO Elayne!!
    Congratulations and thank you.

    This is truly one of the best people inthe Body Art/Modification industry.

  2. I ordered the book from amazon 12 days ago. I reeely hope Ill have it soon. Elayne is such an inspirational woman. 🙂

  3. “piercing (is) not a do-it-yourself hobby”

    It is for some people, whether she likes it or not.

  4. Why does diy piercing get such a bad rap? If done thoughtfully, with some discretion, and at least some knowledge of human anatomy, it can be as safe as “professional” piercing. Body piercing has been around a lot longer than the modern body piercing profession, after all.

  5. because for the 5% of people who diy who’ve done research and realize the consequences of “what can go wrong”, there is 95% of people who do it to themselves or god forbid others with no care of what happens.

    I’ve personally seen a lot of scary shit and I’ve personally seen a lot of well done shit. And I’ve personally done both diy and professional. It’s just that the bad outweighs the good.

  6. Jaime: yes, good point. People have been piercing themselves with sticks and stones for thousands of years.

    I appreciate the services that professional piercers provide, but I just can’ t be doing with piercers who presume to tell other people what they should and shouldn’t do with their bodies. I don’t pierce myself to save money – piercing myself, and being pierced by close friends who I trust, is a much more personal and meaningful ritual than going to a studio.

  7. Shop piercing. $40+ Elitist jerk piercers, hanger on clientelle that sit and stare when someone new comes in, think their opinion is the only way things are to be done, paperwork, and finding parking to the place.

    DiY piercing. Comfort of my own home, 50c for the needle, $2 for the jewelry, perfectly straight, no douche bags to deal with.

    Diy wins everytime.

  8. AxCx – quite a bit of generalising there…..

    The piercing bible is great, read it today

  9. This book is amazing! I’m just at the end now and its so informative! I’m a piercist and I’ve learnt things from it, shes been in the industry a lot longer than most and has an absolute well of knoledge. Being in england its interesting to see the differences between american and european procedures and she highlights a lot of these herself.

    Also, you guys that are going to studios with ‘jerk piercers’ are obviously going to the wrong places. Any respectable shop that wants the best possible outcome for their customers listens the the client and takes into concideration what they are saying, but at the end of the day if something else is better for you we will explain what it is and why. We are here so you can do what you want to your body in a respectable way to yourself. But yes i can see why a safety pin put under a flame and cheap jewellery dipped in vodka to ‘steralize’ it is so mush more appealing!

  10. Georgi: Thanks for providing a great example of why it’s impossible to engage with professional piercers in a reasonable conversation about self-piercing. You know perfectly well that all self-piercers don’t do stuff like that, and you sound really judgmental (and frankly, kind of stupid) making that kind of generalisation.

  11. I don’t think I’d trust a piercer that had never pierced him/herself. At least, not enough. “Do it yourself” has always been at the heart of the body modification movement – it’s an essential part. But now, because people are making money for calling themselves professionals…

    I use all of the proper, sterilized equipment that a “professional” piercer does. But I will say this – taking a few courses in microbiology or serving an apprenticeship under a respected piercer does not make you any more ‘professional’ or safe than a self piercer with equal knowledge.

    Though I’m sure she doesn’t care, I won’t be buying this book.

  12. Tiny, I dont see a problem with self piercing if you do have all the correct equipment and you may very well know what your doing, i’m just coming from the point of view where i have kids walking in all the time saying, ‘i pierced myself when i was drunk and now its buggered, can you fix it for me?’ most people that arent heavily into this lifestyle don’t have a clue where to begin. sorry you thaught it was a generlisation over everyone though.

  13. Hey, I pierced myself and my friends at home quite a bit before becoming professional. DIY piercing can be done safely, but very often it isn’t…

    Part of me taking a hard line approach to this in The Piercing Bible is to make body piercing more approachable to “outsiders.” I’m hoping that this book will help healthcare providers, family, educators, and others who interact with piercees to become more accepting of it by showing them the safest side of piercing–and I think that can only be a good thing.

  14. >DIY piercing can be done safely, but very often it isn’t…

    Rather like DIY root canals?

  15. all i remember from her is that silly slave/winged angel POS on her back that’s now adorning a REGISTERED trademark emblem?

    what a hoot!

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