Hair Today …

Hairdressers are rather like husbands.  For the first few years they do exactly what they want and you always feel good afterwards.  Then they get a bit lazy and complacent and suddenly you don’t feel so special any more.  So when that happens, it’s time to start the nightmare search for a new one.  So where do you start?  Is there a Tinder for hairdressers?  Hinder, maybe?  And how do you tell the incumbent that you’re moving on to a younger, trendier salon?  It’s not you, it’s me? And if you don’t tell them, you end up trying to avoid the area for fear of bumping into them sporting a new ‘do’.   It’s a huge dilemma – one I’ve encountered on many occasions over the years.  I knew the false beard would come in handy one day.

There isn’t a high street in the UK now that doesn’t have at least 2 or 3 salons peddling their hairs. It’s an industry that has grown steadily over the years and currently sees no sign of declining.  It was sometime around the end of the 1800s when we slowly started to see the transition from men only barbershops to salons across the civilised world.  In those early days, wealthy women were having their hair styled by their servants.  All a bit Downton Abbey.  The rest of the classes probably just used some carbolic soap and some rusty shears.

The roaring 20s saw almost 25,000 hair salons open in the US. From the 1900s to 20s, bobby pins, hair dryers, perms and hair colour became more and more popular. It was the age of Hollywood movie stars, Jazz and Coco Chanel.  Everyone wanted to look like their idols!  By the 40’s and 50’s, beauty salons became the go-to-place for the housewife to escape from their mundane lives, get pampered and indulge in gossip. Gradually, the hairdressing salon became affordable to the masses and not just the upper classes, eventually combining other beauty services to pamper and preen it’s clientele.



Nowadays, our high streets are awash with them.  Some part of a chain, others with quirky fascias such as ‘Hairport’, ‘A Cut Above’ and my personal East London favourite, ‘Jack the Clipper’.  But how on earth do you choose a good one?  Today it’s easier with social media, reviews and online recommendations but what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the hairy old gander.  My own personal start point is that, if the hairdresser has bad hair, quite frankly I don’t want them anywhere near mine.  They are basically a walking advert for their profession.  Like I don’t want a dentist with bad teeth or a doctor with weeping sores.  I’m also rather seduced by a cool interior.  1970’s pictures on the wall, office furniture or rubbish towels are also a bit of a sign of apathy. Not always indicative but first impressions etc.  I also like hairdressers to be honest.  If it won’t suit, then please have the decency to tell me.  A stark reminder never to show them a picture of a poodle ever again!

witch hairdresser cartoon

So on a whim, I booked into a trendy Shoreditch salon for a cut and blow. I’d read the reviews, scoured the website and gallery and wandered past on more than one occasion. I could even book online which shows both innovation on their part and total laziness on my part. Tick!  Nothing worse than booking over the phone to a fairly dopey receptionist who gets just about every part of the booking wrong.  Most annoying to find out you’re booked in next Tuesday with Cilla for a perm when you’d asked for a Saturday appointment with Donna for highlights!  That’s happened!  Anyway, I was politely greeted,  ‘gowned up’ by a nice young man and promptly offered a cocktail.  It was after 6pm so why not!  Who doesn’t love a Espresso Martini full of hair!  Anyway, a chat with the Senior Stylist and a rather nice (and faintly disturbing for various reasons) wash and head massage from that nice young man, I was set about with sprays and scissors.  Oh and another Espresso Martini or 3.  Rude not to!  They were friendly, they’ve got dogs, alcohol and nice towels.  By the end I was hair cut, half cut and £65 out of pocket!  But you get what you pay for and I’d definitely go back.


Probably when I’ve won the lottery!


An old person reviews The Brits 2011

I haven’t watched the Brits since 1989 when some clearly mental events organiser thought it was a good idea to get drummer Mick Fleetwood and Page 3 deformed dwarf-model Sam Fox to present a live music show. They had about as much chemistry as an art lesson. She kept whooping. And he clearly didn’t know where he was. Or who she was. And they also appeared to be reading from auto-cues for a different show entirely. So when Stock, Aitken and Waterman strolled off with Best Producer and Best Single for Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, I decided to switch off this car crash and go to the pub, or a rave, or take horse pills. Or something.

So 30 years on, I thought it was about time I tuned in and see if things had improved and throw in my two penneth worth. Which, considering I’m currently listening to German Prog Rock, is probably going to be cynical at best. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive music fan and like allsorts from Andy Williams to the Arctic Monkeys. But most of today’s offerings do leave me a bit chilly round the ears.

So James Corden hosts. Shouty and not terribly funny. Or good at presenting. There seems to be a growing trend that just because you have a hit comedy, you can turn your hand to pretty much everything! I mean, is Michael Aspel really that uncool now? Isn’t Noel Edmonds available? Still, anything rather than Davina McCall!

I know nothing of Arcade Fire. Other than a chap behind me on the escalator telling a friend that they were an “8-piece bunch of twats from Canada and their music makes you want to slit your wrists”. Hmmmm. It’s a fair point. On their own advice, I googled them. Sadly, they appear to have all the worst kind of words associated with them – namely ‘husband & wife team’, ‘accordian’ and ‘hurdy gurdy’. A sort of Fleetwood Mac meets a Bosnian folk group. In all fairness, I think they were as shocked to hear they’d won as the rest of us were. But on the plus side, if it keeps 11th century Middle Eastern fiddles at the forefront of the music scene, then surely, it can only be a good thing. I won’t be rushing out and buying any of their LPs. Especially as the first one was called ‘Funeral’!

I’m guessing Tinie Tempah isn’t his real name. Actually I know it’s not. it’s Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu Jr. Which doesn’t sound terribly ‘grime’, does it. Mind you, neither does the line ‘Bin Southampton but I never bin to Scunthorpe’. Still he managed to win ‘Best British Breakthrough Act’ and ‘Best British Single’. With that sort of fame beckoning, he’ll be welcome at the Bamboogy Retro Bar in Scunthorpe in no time! I don’t mind this stuff. It’s quite clever and catchy. In fact, my daughter was playing it in her room yesterday while I was in their scraping her socks off the wall. So I sang along. And now she’s not talking to me. Again.

‘Best Album’ went ‘Sigh No More’ by Mumford & Sons. They sound more like a removal company to me. In fact, they are a London folk rock band, rather than the west country bumpkins I thought they were. This was the first time I’d heard them. And to be honest, I thought it was all rather dull. Plus there really is no excuse for young people to dress like The Wurzels. As The Sun describes them, Banjos, beards and blokes in chunky jumpers. Meet the Folkers!

I’m glad Take That won Best British Group. Because I hadn’t heard of most of the others on the list. The XX – Nope. Technically, the Gorillaz don’t really exist and can’t recall hey’ve had lots of songs in the hit parade recently, Mumford & Sons – those blokes in waistcoats again and Biffy Clyro who I’d also never heard of. Apparently they’re a Scottish rock group and one time Mercury Prize nominee – the kiss of death for anyone that wins it! Anyway, well done TT – although sadly they couldn’t muster up a decent acceptance speech. Robbie says “Shabba” and Mark Owen thanks Robbie for coming back (for good). Ends

There were others of course. But I really did lose interest. Shouty fat bloke and whooping crowds. A room full of egos and tables full of Dom Perignon. Jarvis Cocker didn’t run on the stage and show his bum and no-one tipped a bucket of ice over a politician. And for that reason, I shall probably not bother watching it again. The current music scene is starting to baffle me therefore I shall gracefully retire from it.

So it’s back to German prog rock for me. And Dreaming of Tangerines.