Urgent Hair Update



When I was, oh I don’t know, about three (see above) I had a mop of blond hair, was forced into cardigans at the seaside and was the size of a large duck.

When I was 7 years-old my father proudly introduced me to ‘Old Morris’ who would take tonsorial control of me now that I was an adult. ‘Old Morris’ was about ninety and blind as a mole. Every time I went there I got my neck nicked with a cut-throat razor, so that I ended up covered in plasters and dreading haircuts more than trips to the dentist. By way of compensation the barber would give me a red rubber mould of Robin Hood and a bag of plaster. He nicked me so often that I ended up with all of the Merrie Men and half of Sherwood Forest.

When I was a vain and stupid 25 year-old media-muppet earning far too much for typing a few words onto paper (with 3 carbons) I used to pay £50 to have my hair cut and coloured in Carnaby Street by some bouffanted screamer in an open-to-the-navel nylon shirt and chiffon scarf.

Soon there were hairdressers on every street corner; Comb And Get It, Jefferson Hairshop, Hannah and her Scissors, and in King’s Cross, on its scabbiest corner, the Beverly Hills Hair Salon. Decades later (pre-pandemic) I started going to a hipster-barber with stripped pine floors, an ottoman, racks of badger brushes and its own product line. I continued going there until my ‘Hair Facilitator’ asked me how far I wanted to go on my ‘hair journey’.

Now that I am a dull-witted fellow shuffling towards life’s exit I pay £16 for a zero fade with a hedge trimmer by an elderly Greek-Albanian who enthusiastically tells me I have ‘cancer hair’. ‘Oh yes,’ he delightedly confirms, ‘we have many people with the cancer hair.’ The floor is covered in locks of many hues because he wants to give the impression that he is busy. He is not busy.

Looking in the mirror, I make a final reassessment of what’s left on my head. I note that 1. I did not lose my hair during chemo, which was the one thing every nurse guaranteed would happen. 2. My hair went from blond to silver overnight and is the same colour I paid £50 for at age 25.

While I approve of journalist/author Keith Waterhouse saying that he stopped looking in a mirror after 40, one more curious peek at my barnet last week revealed a bizarre development. Black roots, growing fast. I now have part-black hair with silver frosting, like an aged rent boy giving a King’s Cross amusement arcade one more go-around before calling it a night.

My mother said I was born with black hair. It’s like the circle of life just stopped. I think life is trying to tell me something.


24 comments on “Urgent Hair Update”

  1. Michael Sharpe says:

    Ha, ha! You have more guts than I have by doing a “hair selfie”. As I have aged I’ve developed a nasty case of plaque psoriasis and a similar photo of my scalp would probably induce some unpleasant sensations in a viewer’s stomach!

  2. Don says:

    After his operation to remove a brain tumour my Dad’s hair, which was nearly all grey, grew back almost as black as when he was a young man. It was most odd that he looked younger when he died than he did two years previously.

  3. Stu-I-Am says:

    ‘Some of the worst mistakes in my life were haircuts’― Jim Morrison

    ‘There’s many a man hath more hair than wit’ — Shakespeare (‘A Comedy of Errors’)

    Note: I’ll take wit any day. Notice there’s no WitClub for Men.

  4. Gabi Coatsworth says:

    Plaster – thanks for reminding me of it. As a child, plaster of Paris held an almost exotic allure, since it was used to produce small figures in the kitchen, like Robin Hood, as aforementioned, or plaster casts for broken arms and legs. Plaster casts, used as fresh canvasses for friends’ comments and jokes. And it was from Paris, for heaven’s sake – so chic.
    Nowadays, they use it to make casts of my teeth as they gradually disappear – somehow not so alluring…

  5. Stu-I-Am says:

    ‘Handsome is as handsome does,’ I believe the American proverb goes.

  6. Stu-I-Am says:

    Mayhap a children’s book here ? ‘Christopher and the Incredible Changing Hair ?’ Or, a…uh…hair-raising chapter in your autobiography, ‘Follicles I have Known.’ A brief acknowledgement at the end of either will be fine.

  7. Joan says:

    My Aunt got clipped by a bus when she was 3, threw her into the curb and split her head. When her hair grew back in it was red with lovely curls for the rest of her life. I guess head trauma can do strange things!

  8. Trace Turner says:

    I was born with black hair and blue eyes, just like my father. The hair fell out quickly (fortunately not the eyes) and was replaced by very blonde hair which has darkened and greyed through the years. When I was a child, we had a grey poodle that was bitten by a snake. The hair where they shaved and treated the wound came back black but eventually turned grey. Where will your hair journey lead you I wonder. – Hope you are feeling well today.

  9. Joan says:

    My Aunt got clipped by a bus when she was 3, threw her into the curb and split her head. When her hair grew back, in came red with lovely curls that she had for the rest of her life. I guess head trauma can do strange things.

  10. Peter+T says:

    Apart from a disastrous haircut in Houston in 1994, I’ve not been to a professional barber since 1986. I prefer to rely on the LOML In recent years I’ve taken on the role of Pierre de Paris to return the service.

  11. Stu-I-Am says:

    @admin Do not, I repeat, do not — try ‘hair-in-can.’ You might just as well let Banksy have a go.

  12. Stu-I-Am says:

    Other memorable hairdresser names: Cut Above, From Hair to Eternity, Hair Today,Gone Today, Cutting/Remarks, Clip Joint, A Snip In Time, Head and Tail (dog friendly place), Bounding Mane, Tress d’UrbanVille.

  13. Debra Matheney says:

    Stu is on a roll today. He can start a Wit for Men club if he so likes but only if women may join too.

    Our neighbor had dark hair which had turned grey, lost it all after chemo and now it’s growing back dark again. Thankfully, he is in remission.

  14. Stu-I-Am says:

    @Debra Matheney I think I pulled something… Better stop now.

  15. Silly+Sully says:

    Thanks, Chris, here I thought it was just me. When I had my lumpectomy & started on anastrozole, my moustache & ‘soul patch’ started growing in black…not an attractive look for a 74 year old lady! Of course, neither are lop-sided boobs, so I’ll stick with what I got! As for you, silver, black, or bald, you look great!

  16. Peter+T says:

    Brooke – Vijay Hare’s book is appearing correctly on Amazon.Com now. Forgive for stretching the hair subject.

  17. Stu-I-Am says:

    Here’s me back, but serious. As surprising as it may seem, we still don’t really know exactly how hair grows, or why it may regrow differently after chemo. While there’s a general understanding of the hair growth process, exactly what genes and cell mechanisms are involved still remain unknown. If these factors are yet to be determined, although perhaps suggested, for normal hair growth — after chemo there is also no understanding of how it affects the hair growth cycle and why the hair may ‘cycle’ differently, with the resulting changes of color and texture. Whilst a radical change of color is rare (but does happen), white hair can turn dark and vice versa. The good news is that after a time, the hair often reverts to its original color and texture. Good news, that is, if you liked your original color to begin with.

  18. Ian Luck says:

    Hair is weird. Some people have luxuriant heads of hair all their lives, and the rest of us go bald (I’m not vain enough to worry about it) – but the hair, denied your pate, decides it still wants life – so it, really annoyingly, takes up residence in your ears and nostrils, and the latter psrt of one’s life is spent defeating the twin follicular menaces.

  19. Helen+Martin says:

    There was a woman with a beard working at my in-law’s care home. She made no attempt to hide it or remove it as far as I could tell and there were no comments that I ever heard. It takes courage, I imagine, to deal with new people but good luck, Silly + Sully.

  20. Wayne+Mook says:

    My gran had a lovely moustache. My grandfather was hit in the head by burning aviation fuel during the war, his hair was ginger but it grew back pure white and stayed that way. Looking at him you would never now he was burnt, once though I saw him without a top on and you could see a faint line across is chest, one side of the skin looked slightly yellower than the other. He was a fireman in Trafford Park during the war.

    Hope you feel better admin, I wonder if the the German caffeine shampoo would help, or maybe not, you don’t want your hair staying up all night.


  21. Martin+Tolley says:

    My dad told me that God only ever made a small number of perfect heads. The rest he covered with hair.

  22. My hair was originally blonde with. Very slight pinkish tone. Now I spend hours making it pink. Maybe your scalp was listening then got confused and overshot when aiming for colours of your youth? At least it didn’t settle on bright yellow. (Should i say, Yet?)

  23. Laura says:

    My hair also grew back in as it was at my birth (black), but with an added bonus: curls! It was so wonderful. But unfortunately, it was short-lived and The hair soon back to my brown-gray straight-ish unruly mess. This happened to my sister too, at least on her first go ‘round. Unfortunately some years later she had a recurrence which was fought with different drugs. She kept her hair, but it went white.
    Here’s hoping that the black hair is a positive sign for you.

  24. Ian Luck says:

    “Oi! Who cut yer ‘air for yer? The bleedin’ council?”
    “Oi! Do yer want something on yer barnet – like a pair of knickers? ‘Cos whoever cut it for yer cut it like a c**t!
    A couple of cheery comments bandied about by my dad when I returned from the barbers’ in my late teens. How we laughed.

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