Monday, 27 April 2009

The Bottle's Gone

I found it hard to leave the house today.

Having spent most of yesterday on the 'Sunrise Coast' in Southwold, having healthy fun on the reconstructed pier, eating overpriced fish&chips and drinking Adnams beer (before 6pm!), we left the pub mid-afternoon, in order to search for early bluebells in the woods.
As we left, a group of nondescript lads started pointing & sniggering.
I always like to soothe my aching paranoia by staring straight back, usually to confirm that it's me they are addressing. Sure enough, as I passed them, their heads followed my path, and one let out rather a large guffaw.
I haven't been guffawed at since the early 90's, so I inevitably started to check my appearance for signs of mirth-provision. My fly was buttoned, my nose was clean and I had steered myself & my companions away from the very few pieces of dog-shit, littering Southwold's golden paving stones.
As far as I was concerned, I hadn't been this un-funny since Aisle16 shared a Glastonbury performance tent with The Poetry Cubicle, and I scared off (bored off?) the bulk of audience with my rant about fanzine writers & bloggers.
I put the lads' reason for hilarity down to sunshine, beer and general fuck-wittedness.

But decided to stay in for the best part of today.
I was bruised, albeit secretly.

Having succeeded in writing one poem, hoovered the house (groundfloor only), washed-up, completed two washing cycles & at least one witty reposte to Facebook statii, the late afternoon ennui that is 'you have no booze in the house so go buy some quick, before Co-Op shuts, you dickhead', enveloped me like a badly written metaphor about a duvet.
Hurriedly, I threw on my cycling clothes (I have a 1940s delivery bike a la' Granville-OpenAllHours that requires the wearing of wartime fashion tank-tops & de-mob trousers, with bicycle clips) and I bone-shook my way to this side of a Rainbow.
As I pretended to lock up my bike in the designated area, two very-descript girls began to giggle and point.

What now?!

The one who didn't look like someone I'd like to hang out with, giggled & prodded her accompli, and gave the impression of a hyena in a dentist's chair - beyond the natural urge to be an animal but full of intense pain at the sight of my visage.
The little one (who really wasn't old enough to warrant less than a clip 'round the ear) decided to put me out of misery.
"Ain't you heard of a haircut mate?"

It was my hair!
People were laughing at my hair.

For those of you reading this who don't know me, (and at present I have 4 'followers', 3 of whom 'don't know me')
I have spent somewhere in the region of 25% of my total lifetime earnings on my hair.
I am a potential shareholder in Toni & Guy. I have more 'product' in my bathroom cabinet than sauvignon. I have embraced every one of the last 30years of 'do', from a 70's Donny Osmond, thru' a skinhead, then an 80's back-combed mess, and the inevitable 'I wannabe Liam' and subsequent metrosexual.
I have maintained my hair.
My hair has been an ongoing project.
My hair has defined me.
And no-one (except maybe siblings, parents, maths teachers & priests) has ever laughed at my hair.

As I pulled away from the Rainbow, 2nd gear, frustration & 2 litres of dry cider weighing down my wicker basket, I got to thinking about why I felt so upset.
I've been retired now for just over 9 months.
In that time I've reconnected with the things that really matter to me.
I garden, I forage, I potter and I procrastinate.
And in this seemingly never ending lifetime of possibility, I think it's fair to say that I've 'let things go'.
My paunch is paunchier, my man-boobs more so.
My clothes are suspect, my fingernails rustic.
And my hair.

My hair has obviously become laughable.

I spend hours on end, bleaching teaspoons & toilets, but I no longer peroxide my hair.
At 42, the bleach-bottle's gone.
The bottle's gone.
But tomorrow, I start sharpening the scissors........


  1. Throughout my teenage years I desperately wanted a floppy indie fringe, like the lead singer out of Menswear. Sadly, I've always had very curly hair, so when I grew it longer it just puffed out until I looked like Krusty the Clown.

    I'd never heard of hair straighteners, but I remember very vividly slumping onto the bathroom floor, clutching a can of Cossack hairspray my Mum had bought me, with my hair a sticky, curly lump on my head, and breaking down crying. I would never be a lanky Indie poser. My final, desperate roll of the dice was to get my fringe bleached blond, because Louise Wener had hers done like that. Louise Wener! I mean, for Pete's sake.

    The anthems that accompanied most Britpoppers' teenage years were Champagne Supernova or Country House. Mine was: 'Nice hair mate.' Delivered with scorching sarcasm.

    Fuck the kids, Yanny. Not literally, obviously. I have all the sartorial acumen of a rotary clothesline, but I can recognise someone who knows how to look after his appearance, and that someone, my friend, is you. Sure, no man is an island, but an Englishman's hair is his castle. Did King Arthur invite zitty latchkey brats to come and editorialise on his court? 'Mate, that Round Table is well gay. And why you all dressed like dustbins?' It was a rhetorical question, Yanny. The answer, of course, is no. King Arthur stormed into the villages and took Excalibur to their sleeping throats. 'Have I heard of a haircut? Have you heard of a tracheotomy?' See whether their insults still sting when delivered through bloody gurgle of a slashed larynx. 'Hair? Hair?! I'll have your eyes you impudent shite!'

  2. Yanny your hair is an inspiration to us all. As Tim so wittily puts it, fuck the kids. Literally or not, I should imagine both contexts will be equally unpleasant to them.

    I know you know this, but it all comes down, as always to "townies" and "grungers." I still organise the world into these two categories, deciding whether I like grungers on a case by case basis and dismissing all townies out hand as second rate citizens. Only a townie would laugh at your hair, so it doesn't matter.

    My experiments with Sun-In in the late nineties didn't just earn me the comment "nice hair," the phrase became a kind of catch phrase for a kid called Ra, who was my chief protractor. Each "nice hair" would get more and more pronounced until it was just a grunted, spacky-mouthed noise. But by that time every one knew what it meant. This went on for a year. Coming from someone with 'curtains' it was particularly galling. I learned to fight back. I made a series of gross homosexual passes at Raz until he swung a hockey stick at my head and was expelled. It was an ugly victory, but a victory none the less. And I've still got great hair. As have you Yanny, the world needs to see it.

    BTW - I will hunt each and everyone of those kids down, torture them and kill them. Then I will kill their families, their friends and their pets.

  3. i love this blog! and your cider drinking ways! and your hair! sgx