Tragically, the deeply meaningful work of writing Christmas cards has to be put aside so that I can respond to a request to write something amusing for my favourite local newspaper, to fill a gap in the business pages on a day when one can be fairly sure that no-one will be looking at the business pages anyway.
Why do people always want you to be funny when you are feeling thoroughly miserable? It works the other way around, too. Send me to a funeral and I immediately start thinking of jokes, and tend to start giggling uncontrollably. I have to disguise it as grief-induced hysteria.
Then in the afternoon I have to drive to Newcastle to have my hair cut by the Best Hairdresser in the North East, if not the World. [Pause to place mental bet with self on how long it will be before he reads this and asks me to mention his name and phone number.] I used to get my hair cut in Alnwick for £6, which was clearly dead posh because the going rate for a men’s haircut in Alnwick is a fiver. Then I started going to a place with a Royal Warrant near my club in London, which cost six times as much. It wasn’t six times as good, but it was appreciably better and you got to share the place with a marginally more notorious type of customer. I had that Sir John Major in the next chair once. I mentioned it over lunch afterwards and my companion said “That would doubtless explain why your hair looks exactly like John Major’s”, which put me off a bit.
At this point my aunt told me that I should go to the Best Hairdresser in the North East, who had been attending to her own perm every week since Harold Wilson was Prime Minister. So I gave him a try, and liked it. That’s me sorted until he retires or dies, then. Unless someone opens one of those legendary topless hairdressers in the area, and I don’t mean one that specializes in shaving the top of your head.
I do regret never trying one hairdresser: Denny’s Barber Shop in Liverpool, which I used to pass regularly on the taxi journey from Lime Street Station to visit a client. His slogan, proudly painted across the front of the shop, was “It’ll be all right when it’s washed”. It always struck me as the absolute epitome of Scouse self-deprecation.
Though, of course, as I always observe about myself, having a taste and a talent for self-deprecation does not guarantee that you are not actually crap at your job.
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