ME IN A NUTSHELL
- G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
HAIR … A CUT ABOVE …
I remember the musical in the 1960s … Hair … I always remember that my old man liked the soundtrack because of the risqué elements to it. “Masturbation can be fun”, etc, was one of the lyrics I seem to remember. He thought that was so cool. And of course the nudity in the stage show. Yeah, it was rude for the time. But at the same time, hair, in one form or another, has been an integral part of my life.
I remember the old man making me return to the barber to “get that bloody haircut finished” after I’d had it cut. Shit, he was a hard task master. How embarrassing is that? A 15-year-old going back to the barber on a Saturday morning to get a second haircut? “Sorry, my dad said I had to have more cut off.”
And don’t get me started about the time a girl, a cute blond hairdresser upon whom I had some sort of designs (OK, I wanted to shag her), straightened my hair via a perm. I remember walking home that afternoon, hair cascading over and beyond my ears. It was long for the times. My grumpy arse old man made sure I was at the barber’s at the earliest after school on the Monday. I went from scorched almonds to boiled lollies really quickly.
Once it started to grow again, I worked out that if I pulled one of my mum’s old stockings over my head (I never let the ladders put me off) for the time that I slept, it would be longer and straighter in the morning. Try keepin’ that a secret from the olds. But that’s what I did … for a few years as well.
Dunno if I should brag about this … OK, bugger it, I’m bragging … Rupert Murdoch once said to me (I was a copy boy at Truth, which was owned at the time by the good Mr Murdoch … and there are quite a few stories from there for another time, perhaps later on this blog when the ideas become a bit slow) “Boy, get a haircut”, and stop wearing cowboy boots to the office. Me and Rupert, on the same page.
Mind you, I didn’t bow to either of his wishes. Wore the hair long/longish/ridiculously long/whatever for a long, long time. If I somehow work out how to scan pictures (wait, I believe you need a scanner for that. Scratch that idea), maybe I can post a couple of days-gone-by hairstyles. There have been some big afro styles, others that lack in style, and some that, OK, they are beyond description.
I tried the blonde thing a couple of times in the ’80s. Reckon I was married at the time. In fact, once in the mid-80s I did the whole makeover as a PR stunt for the Sunday Observer … massage, manicure, spa (with a lovely PR girl called Karen Cromarty, as I recall), sauna, haircut, facial, whatever, at a place on Elizabeth Street in the city. It was called Joseph of Italy and I turned up there wearing jeans and a blue singlet (I have the photos to prove it … a photographer mate snapped me at every stage of the procedure) and finished up at my work local … the Station Hotel in Prahran, wearing a three-piece suit and looking a million dollars. OK, maybe $7.48. But at least I felt good.
I’ve maintained the ’60s hair thing ever since. When I travelled around Oz in 2009, I went all up two and a half years without seeing a hairdresser’s scissors. Jesus, people in Albert Park started to call me Willie Nelson after I made it back home. Bastards.
Mind you, it was hairbands/bandanas that were de rigeur in my life, right up until I had some sort of epiphany in the late part of last year.
I started having haircuts about every 4-6 weeks.
I have used the same hairdresser since 1975. Chris (he used to own CJ’s in Prahran, a suburb in which I worked for 20 years) has been the only person to cut my hair in all that time. He even cut the hair of both my kids. I always laughed when he would greet me (or introduce me to the other customers in the salon) with something along the lines of “This is Michael, a typical, dirty rotten heterosexual.” Chris is a good man.
But last week I sort of deserted him.
I was in the office (of the second job I do at The Weekly Review in Port Melbourne) and I started to chat to James who writes a hairdressing/look after yourself/style piece each week.
He’s chipped me a couple of time about the expanse that is/has been my hair. And there is always lots of grey. OK, I found a dark one the other day … that’s the truth. Out of the blue, I asked him what I should do about putting a bit of colour back into the mane. He was quick on the uptake and suggested that I come to his salon and get some half highlights done.
“Done,” I said, “I’ll be there.”
And I was at the appointed time on a Friday afternoon.
The salon, Rakis on Collins, is at 178 Collins Street (city) on the second floor (It has been going for 27 years). It’s a building where I reckon the lift is almost older than me. No matter, though, we can both (me and the lift) still get it up there. (Not sure that was a necessary comment, but since I stopped smoking, I can easily make the second floor. It’s a stairs thing. Hope you believe that.)
My appointment was with Sheridan, a gorgeous late-20s woman who really knew her thing.
All the while, staff were buzzing about offering me tea or coffee, refilling my water glass, bringing me magazines, chatting (they all knew my name) and making me feel comfortable. I’ve had worse service in some high-priced restaurants. All power to James’s staff.
I had foils to eliminate some of the grey I’d collected over the years. It was the first time in ages that I’d succumbed to the vanity thing … and it won’t be the last. Sheridan was a knockout, especially the way she went about the hair business. Little wonder James recommended her.
As an experience, I enjoyed my time in the salon and I’m more than happy with the result, although James and I are still debating the merits of the product he insisted putting in my hair after Sheridan had done her thing.
“James,” I said, “I just don’t do that greasy shit in my hair. If it means frizz, so be it.”
He’s not giving up, suggesting that he is moving on and so should I.
Me, moving on?
Next thing you know, I’ll be making another appointment.
And just for the record, thus far, I have stuck in a couple of shots from my hirsute past … the afro (note the sleeves cut out of the T-shirt) of the ’70s, the denim-inspired afro of the ’80s (with the then mandatory packet of Drum in the pocket) and again in the ’90s (yep, a denim vest and I still have it although it doesn’t get outside the wardrobe too much) at a Thanksgiving dinner at Palos Verdes, overlooking Catalina Island. Oh, and the one at the top is the new “less-grey” version of the shorter locks … although that’s not gonna last. Reckon I might be on a barber’s strike.