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I emerged from the hairdresser looking like Bootsy Collins

I had my hair cut yesterday.

Nobody noticed (1). I suppose I shouldn't really expect them to since my default instruction to the barber (nice lad, Turkish) is "the same, only shorter".

And given my advancing years I suppose I should be happy I still have anything left to cut (my family does have a tendency towards male pattern baldness). Still, a part of me thinks "this time" every time I submit my hair to the scissors. This time I'll be transformed. I'll emerge with an interesting haircut and thus be an interesting person.

This, I think, is a hangover from my twenties. That was back in the 1980s when haircuts seemed to matter more. Maybe because there were no designer labels back then, or none any of us could afford. Instead we'd make our hair the focal point of our look. Well, I say we - But I don't think I ever really succeeded, no matter how much gunk I sprayed, smeared or teased through it. It remained insistently, stubbornly unfabulous. The one time I took a picture to the hairdresser – Edwyn Collins with a suitably Roger McGuinn-style fringe – I emerged looking more like Bootsy Collins.

My sister once had a go at giving me a suitably edgy look in our front room. My mum fled in horror, crying at the sight of the resulting short back and sides plus eye curtain. "I thought I'd brought you up decent," she could be heard saying as she disappeared back into the kitchen.

But you can understand my efforts. Everyone had a spectacular (some might say stupid) barnet back then. It was obligatory. Melody Maker would even name a haircut of the year (2).

But as Tracey Thorn (3) said to me last autumn, haircuts, spectacular or stupid, don't seem to exist any more. Men's hair these days seems to come in one style which is best defined as vaguely sticky-uppy. And all the women share their hair with Davina McCall. Long. Glossy. An advertiser's idea of style.

This is something of a disappointment. The 1980s were miserable in lots of ways, mostly to do with Margaret Thatcher. Her and Tony Hadley. But even if the blessed Margaret destroyed Britain's industrial infrastructure, privatised our national assets, started the deregulation of the financial services which ultimately led to the 2008 crash and probably won the class war, she didn't win everything. Truth is, she lost the culture wars. It was under her watch we began the march – still unfinished but closer than it was 30 years ago – towards racial, sexual and gender equality. And who started that? The guys and girls with the funny haircuts, that's who.

FOOTNOTES

[1] Well, almost nobody. The Herald's arts editor did say, "Top haircut." He's always been a man of taste and discernment.

[2] It was usually won by Edinburgh's Paul Haig. Makes you proud, eh?

[3] Hers was based on Fun Boy Three frontman Terry Hall's do. My wife also went in for a Terry.

Twitter: @teddyjamieson

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