Hair today, gone tomorrow


I was sad to see that Vidal Sassoon, the first real celebrity of the hairdressing world, passed away this week, aged 84.

And in a somewhat clumsy segue, that newsflash brings me onto the topic of my own hair and its need to be ‘styled’ once again.

Now, being something of a creature of habit, I have had the same hairdresser in Sydney for around 10 years.

Every 6 weeks or so, I would drive over the harbour bridge to see Toby. Sure there would have been options closer to home, but I felt that Toby ‘got’ the look I was trying to achieve i.e. a bit shorter.

All he would have to say would be “the usual?”, I’d nod and we’d be away. Too easy.

Over the years, not a lot has changed in our relationship. Toby has evolved from a young, funky dude to an older, more heavily tattooed (but still pretty funky) dude.

At the same time my hair has fortunately remained pretty abundant, albeit now with the merest hint of ‘salt & pepper’ if viewed in a certain light (i.e. daylight).

Nevertheless, getting my hair cut was always one of those easy decisions in a life that is often too full of tricky choices.

But what do I do now? It is close to 6 weeks since my last ‘do’ and my appearance is starting to look a lot shaggier, meaning I will soon have to face up to life after Toby.

Maybe this issue has been nagging away at me subconsciously over the last couple of weeks, but I have become increasingly aware of the local hairdressers in my new home town. And you know what? There are a ridiculous number of them.

It seems that every street contains at least 2 or 3 alternatives, making me wonder if perhaps I have stumbled onto something the authorities are trying to sweep under the carpet. Maybe their sheer profusion is as a reaction to something sinister contained in the (currently rationed) local Sussex water supply that promotes rigorous hair growth.

But whilst the local hairdressers may be plentiful in number, most that I have spotted so far seem to exhibit a certain ‘land that time forgot’ aura.

Female salons typically exude an overpowering smell of chemicals and feature window displays with faded photos of models sporting the latest bubble perms or beehives. Some styles may even be pre-Vidal.

(In one such salon, the picture was so severely faded that the model appeared not to have a nose any more, giving her a slightly other-worldly appearance. I’m really not sure how successful that picture would be in attracting passing trade.)

And as for the men, we are definitely talking barbershops here. From the red-and-white pole outside to the high backed leather chairs to the clientele reading the newspapers while receiving a cut-throat wet shave, it is as if I had been transported to1930’s Chicago.

But as deadline day approaches, I am still no closer to finding a new Toby and therefore starting to get a bit uneasy.

At this rate, it may be that I have to buy myself more time and resort to a ponytail as an interim measure. Well, I did used to work in advertising after all.


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