Archive | July, 2018

The trouble with with hair…

18 Jul

As I get older my troubles with hair multiply. Not on my head you’ll understand, that area diminishes day by day and the once lustrous mane of conditioned dark beauty becomes a thin, wispy, grey sadness. Elsewhere on my body unwanted sproutings abound. They have to be tracked and tamed with tweezer and blade. So it is that I have a sharp eye for the hirsute, the bald, the well-kempt and the shaggy when I am out and about in society.

What on earth is going on? No longer can I assess a man’s character by the visible filaments growing from head and chin. Standards have been scrambled. Stubble is sexy, bald is beautiful and dishevelled is delightful. The females of the species seem to have kept their dignity and style rather more admirably than the male. As they ‘suffragette’ their way to universal parity, smartness and elegance have been allies in the march of progress.

I hope that the hair-language that I grew up with doesn’t get sidelined along with the sideburns. Will we always be able to split hairs or keep our hair on? Will I continue to not turn a hair when I am in control or come within a hair’s breadth of disaster when I brake too late on the motorway? Hair raising! Perhaps in my attempts to make subtle distinctions, I will no longer split hairs. My temper, like the NRA’s guns may, thankfully, dispense with a hair-trigger. Dispense with the whole gun, I say.

Let me return, via a hairpin bend to my main theme. I judge people by their hair. No apologies. Plenty of evidence to support my theory. You are your hair. Back in the fifties when I first made hair observations, most men and women were neat and tidy up top. Brilliantine and brylcream and the barbers’s razor tamed the male thatch. Well-tamed curls and ubiquitous hairpins were the order of the day for females. The hair ‘salon’ became ubiquitous. Neatness was all, shabby was not chic. Mick Jagger and Joni Mitchell changed all that. We were plunged into an uncertain hair-world where the cut of a man’s jib and mane was no indication of his character.

I have spent years in deep study of the association between the barnet and the person. There is a direct link between hair (or lack of it) and competence/integrity. Baldness I rate highly. Gandhi, Harry Hill, Vince Cable (nearly) to name but a few. Proto-baldies such as  Elton John, Wayne Rooney and Rob Bryden also score well. Mussolini is the exception that proves the rule. Neaties like Obama, Mandela, Macron and Huw Edwards are beyond reproach. The Queen comes into this last category as does Fiona Bruce and Moira Stewart. Federer and Williams; Harry Kane. No place for Mother Theresa May, I fear.

You can see where I might be heading. Dishevelled. Boris. John Bercow – did you see him in the Commons yesterday? Scarecrow hair. Diane Abbot and Jezza Corbyn. Amber Rudd. No wonder she resigned. All dreadful. Let’s include those with an abundance of ‘products’. The gelled quiff, the narcissistic spray. Trump, Jeremy Rhyming Slang, David Dickinson.

Compare Michael Barnier with David Davis. Chic v Shabby. No wonder Brussels has London by the short and curlies. No wonder Pouty Gove has been to the barber to smarten himself up. Theresa is getting grooming to the top of her priority list. Greg Clarke, Jeremy, Sajid Javid, Philip Hammond and Esther McVey indicate that she has shifted her policy from the hedge to the hairdresser.

I have to blog like this for light relief, you’ll understand. While politicians on both sides seem to ignore the national interest in pursuit of low-minded in-fighting and the scoring of Westminster bubble-points, the rest of us watch in anguish. Mother Theresa, please address the nation and not just your party. Try to inform and engage us rather than mollify that jumped up twit-twat Rees-Mogg. His hair, by the way, reminds me of Adolf.

I’m off to have a shave.


Southgate’s slipstream…

13 Jul

On the rare occasion that I find myself cycling in a group, I try that Bradley Wiggins thing. Not the dubious medication-in-a-bag scam; the tuck in behind the leader ploy and cruise in his slipstream trick. With the cheers of defeat echoing through our beleaguered nation might we not consider harnessing  some of Southgate’s energy.?

Jokingly I have suggested Gareth for PM. It’s not really so far-fetched is it? A recent bout of insomnia led me to listen to several TED talks in the wee small hours. If you hit on some really boring ones your sleeplessness will fade quite quickly. On this occasion I found myself engaged by some chap speculating on the random selection of politicians from a cross-section of society, ie no gravy-train, vestedly-interested, career-politician muppets but a spread of the electorate given a chance to guide and challenge the Sir Humphreys of Whitehall to make sensible choices for us all. We couldn’t do much worse than recent evidence suggests, could we?

Gareth seems to have got us all ‘on message’. His honesty, directness, humility and decisiveness have been admirable. No pushover but a natural diplomat. Plenty of steel but compassion and warmth under his waistcoat. As we have pedalled along in his slipstream the Trumpmeister has hoved into greater view.

Firstly he gives NATO what-for with his pay up or shut up inarticulacy, then on to febrile Britain where he tells Mother Theresa that Boris the Spider would do a better job than her. He was reading directly from his Farage script. He may be making plans with Nigel for a takeover of the bullies at Westminster.

Sir Gareth is far from a bully but there are so many of them in the international playground. Having had some experience of how boys and girls can bully – some insidious and  covert, others brash, gross and brutal – there are many parallels to be drawn from playground to parliaments. Many of our World leaders or eminent (sic) politicians are bullies with agendas which serve themselves and not those whom they purport to represent. The Trumpet Major, some say, would have done so much better than Mother Theresa because he would have bullied the EU into groveling submission. He’s sorted Kim Jong Un, he’s telling the Chinese how to conduct trade and he’s jumped into bed with Macron. What a player!

But bullies get found out. Sometimes teachers don’t realise what is going on right away. The kids in the playground can be seduced into siding with bullies for self-protection. In the end everyone sees – and remembers- the awful truth of the unpleasantness. Sometimes bullies continue into adult life and we can all recognize them in the workplace. Yes, sometimes they are successful in certain terms. But life’s too short to kowtow for too long. I’m amazed that Piers Morgan is still ruffling feathers on primetime TV, not because what he says is idiotic (he occasionally talks sense) but the way he says it brooks no opposition. My way or the highway. The Alan Sugar code of living.

When the behavior that we take note of is predicated on the notion that the world is a better place with guys and gals like them telling us all how it is; kicking ass; sticking it to opponents; single digiting those who disagree, then we are back in the playground where the bully reigns supreme and the rest of the kids keep out of their way and let them wreak havoc.

I’m in Southgate’s slipstream at the moment. We’re kicking a ball about in the park. Jumpers for goalposts. Gareth  captaining my team and we’re playing properly, no need for a ref because we trust eachother. There’s a nasty bloke called Donald who wants to play but he always spoils the game with cynical fouls and bullying of the smaller kids. Ah, I see Gareth has gone across to sort him out. If only…

Some people are on the pitch…

11 Jul

Tonight’s agony is softened by the knowledge that the journey is indeed, mercifully, over. I confess to switching over to Nadal v Del Potro for light relief – and that was as tense and brilliant a tennis match as anyone could wish to see. But I didn’t care as much – and that is why it was easier to view.

My enjoyment of the World Cup has been immeasurably enhanced by my stoic refusal to listen to the pre and post match punditry. What a revelation! When you just get the soccer- warts and all – you can almost enjoy the tedium of the sideways and backward passing which dominates the modern game, for the thrill of those occasional thrusts which result in a ‘set piece’, a penalty or the odd ‘open play goal’. As soon as Shearer et al get on the mic we are all doomed to be swamped in such verbal excrement that we pray for yet another interview with our next Prime Minister, Gareth ‘the God’ Southgate.

I confess to a few glasses of Viognier while our boys were succumbing. Croatia v France is a worthy final. Our boys falling at the semi-final hurdle has enabled me, somewhat hastily, to book Paul Simon at Hyde Park on Sunday. I’ll have Luca Modric on my iPhone and The Boy in the Bubble up close and personal. James Taylor will be crooning too. Heaven.

Wimbledon has been wonderful, they tell me, and I must now catch up. Someone said Roger lost today. It’s a wind-up surely?

Jules Rimet still gleaming..

11 Jul

With France in the final, the founder of FIFA and the World Cup, Jules Rimet, really is still gleaming. It’s Coming Home is, however being sung up and down our green and pleasant land. C’mon England! Tonight we meet Croatia’s Modric, et al to complete the final four showdown of the Euro teams who have been the best in Russia:England, Croatia, France and Belgium.

They have also been the least histrionic, the most manhandled, the most honest…give or take a Pogba prean or a Mandzukic moan. The nearly-forgotten group matches of VAR malfunction and South American brutality have given way to a greater integrity and excitement. It’s sad that the world’s best two players – Messi and Ronaldo – didn’t have one last hurrah but we have been mercifully relieved of the gurning Maradona and the rolling and writhing of Neymar. The cheats have been found out.

The comparison with Boris going the way of all flesh hasn’t escaped me. An expert in throwing his toys out and expecting acquiescence from his Brexit acolytes, he may find that rather too many are relieved that he has exited pursued by Davis. I noticed that two ‘Vice-chairs’ of the Conservative party Maria Caulfield and Ben Bradley have also gone. For two nobodies to resign while England is in the fever grip of World Cup hysteria hardly represents the fine-timing of media-savvy strategists.

No. Cometh the hour cometh the Southgate. How wonderful to have a man leading our national sports team of  whom we can be proud. He is sooo English! The humility, the intelligence and, of course, the waistcoat.

Will Mother Theresa and the ‘glam’ Kolinda of Croatia sit either side of Gianni Infantino, the smiling and rather less corrupt-than-Blatter FIFA President? Or will it be Prince Will our FA president? The dignitaries elbowing their way into vast Russian soccer stadia to grab self-promoting selfies has been an intriguing sideshow. Putin’s Russia has come out of it rather well.

Win or lose tonight, football has come home. It has been a tonic to see crowds gather for fun and passion and togetherness. Good riddance Boris. Gareth for Foreign Secretary. Jules Rimet still gleaming.

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