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.