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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Sand-strewn salons, cool and deep

Hair (especially women's hair) fascinates me:

Clare  - Gorgon Times
 ... a transformation that Clare had covertly inspected many times during the past few days. Multicoloured highlights, running from root to tip, varying subtly from light brown to dark gold, like trapped sedimentary layers in an exposed cliff. A sauce where cream and chili oil had been added and gently stirred, just once. Colours that simulated movement.

Jana - Out Of Arizona
Her ash blonde urchin cut was still wet as she combed it into two arcs bracketing the sides of her face. With the fingers of her left hand as a scissor-like guide she edged round the extremities with real scissors, removing a precise 17 mm. Heat from the hair dryer caused the edges to curl inwards.

Francine - Second Hand
As they put on their blues Chinelo (Nigerian trainee surgeon) said, “I envy you your hair. I’ve read about the comparison - corn-silk - but never seen it. I love the way it floats and flops blondishly. Your cap contains it like a mesh bag. No cap on earth holds in this wiry hedge of mine."

Judith - Blest Redeemer
Her hair dropped down beyond her shoulder blades and would demand half an hour’s combing, coiling and pinning before she was satisfied... Shorter hair would have been less trouble but would have betrayed her mother’s (whisper): “Long hair isn’t always in fashion, but many people like it.” ...The essence of long hair, (Judith) told herself, was length. And if long hair was admired, longer hair might be admired more.
Presently I’m experimenting. The shampooing phase (rare) opening up the sagacious, the Byronic, the mentally disturbed, the self-aggrandising, the Cairn terrier, the anchorite and the cliché physicist phases. Why be stuck as just an old man?



  1. Your photos, especially profiles, make me think of actor Rutger Hauer, later years.

  2. Crow: Famed in Britain - if at all - for appearing in a Guinness commercial, twenty years ago.

    When we lived in the US someone likened me to William F. Buckley Jr, the right-wing newspaper columnist. Now dead.

  3. Fortunately, RR, you have an excellent head of hair at 80. Mine, following my father's family trait, started balding from the front (widow's peak)at about 45. By 60 I was nearly bald at the top. I seemed to remember the advice that when this happens " crop it short, get a deep tan and wear a good suit".
    Not really being a suit person (a couple for occasions only)I have followed the first option implicitly ever since (No.1 cut all over - eighth of an inch)and the second during the summer.
    I bought my own rechargable clippers for added convenience and must have saved a small fortune on haircuts over the years.

  4. Avus: If you re-examine the last para of my post it is actually about exploring different physical forms of RR. Fine if you're content to be bald Avus hiding out in rural Kent for the rest of your natural, for which one solution might be to retire to a yurt woven in your spare time. But why not experiment with the solution baldness forced on both Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra: to wear trilbies indoors and out. And always to be photographed wearing such. You've reached the time in life when spending should be more the default than saving.

    The point is (and it could well occur to you were you to buy one of those trilbies encircled with a flashy tie - see Sinatra on the sleeve of Come Fly With Me) that as my hair grows I glance in the mirror and I see the possibility of a different persona and thus different behaviour - in my case to be more forthright, more eccentric, to be more forgivable.

    I'm well aware that ill-health may have reduced your options and that old age in general discourages change. But change is affirmation; more of the same is mere endurance. With old age the tendency is frequently to look back (especially towards old and wretchedly inadequate cars) because there's little to look forward to. But that's a passive view and excessive nostalgia is a neighbour to pathos.

    When did you last do something you've never done before? Be honest. It needn't be a big thing; have you ever tried a fajito, changed from Wright's Cold Tar to Body Shop's cocoanut flavoured soap, read the Guardian for one day rather than the Bellylaugh, tried Carol Anne Duffy instead of re-reading Betjeman, got out of the train at Snailham rather than Ashford (Don't tell me; you'd need a parachute for that one.), went to bed an hour later or got up two hours later.

    Acceptance and stoicism have their bad sides; remind yourself that the grave is a metaphor for forced acceptance. Walk in the rain, get wet, come home, dry off; reason would dissuade you not to, but would reason take you anywhere new?

  5. Well, yes...
    Trilbies? - I wore them as an experiment in my early twenties and looked an absolute prat. I do have a couple of Akubras, bought in Oz and wear them occasionally (but not both at the same time) at country fairs and the like. But they seem ostentatious over here. Perhaps I should go the whole hog and do a "Tennyson" - vast black hat and voluminous cloak, with a long white beard. Inconvenient.
    Cars? - no longer interest me as they did at one time. Motorcycles - modern plastic rockets not for me. If I could really choose it would be a 1929 Model 9 Sunbeam with a flat tank (how's that for nostalgia?). But riding it (and pushing it around) now would be difficult for me.
    Getting wet in the rain? - a week ago, cycling over Romney Marsh I was caught in an absolute downpour with rain like stair rods. I caped up and cycled on and really enjoyed it - just like in my youth (nostalgia again).
    Your penultimate para - I do take your point, but can honestly say I have not tried anything new (even a recent stroke was second time around!)for some time.
    Thanks for the pep talk, though. It did bring home to me what a died in the wool, miserable old misanthrope I must be.

  6. "died" of course should be "dyed". A Freudian slip, perhaps?
    (My wife thinks you are talking good sense)

  7. Avus: Hyphens too, some people give them up for Lent and then forget. Miserable is probably a tautotology.

    But no, I don't see you as a misanthrope. Rather the victim of ineluctable forces, as I am myself. Age causes the world to contract around us; not only are we reluctant to change, if we dig deep enough we find we fear change. In goading you into becoming Modernist Avus I was conveniently ignoring my own state. Day in day out I do nothing other than write; my defence is that the subjects vary but I'm burking the issue. Retreating into such a personal activity would only be justifiable if I could guarantee progress, that today's stuff was better than yesterday's. I can't. Also I have discovered that fluency is a morning thing, afternoons I break off far too frequently to play Solitaire. And need to.

    What we may be able to do, and what we should, is be able to see ourselves more clearly. After all we usually have plenty of spare time; ideally we should pass that time in contemplation, which is slightly more constructive than day-dreaming.

    Another possibility is to don a hair-shirt for half an hour or so. Typically, do the washing up.

  8. You've got a bit of a Rod Stewart going on there.......