Wednesday, 16 January 2008

On hairdressers and not using real names

The flu is abating. These are probably famous last words but I am feeling vaguely human again. Helped, in huge part, by braving gale and flood to get to the hairdressers. ‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ said Adrian. ‘You’ll get stranded. Phone up and reschedule.’ No way, mate. The one thing men never understand is that one’s entire mood is affected by the state of one’s hair. If I want to reinvent myself, up my game and so on, I’m never going to do it with hair like brambles (with a solid inch of roots to boot).
No, it was a case of ‘come hell or high water’ (and most definitely the latter). OK, so there was a pretty hairy bit when I had to negotiate through a river that had decided to veer across the road (avoiding the unfortunate car that had been abandoned with water up to its windows) but it was worth it, every heart-stopping second of it.
I love my hairdresser. I found him when we first moved to Somerset – then lost him when we moved out to wildest Exmoor (when there was absolutely NO point in having even vaguely decent hair – a woolly cap was the only way to go). On moving into town I decided it might be a blast to go back. I did wonder if he would still be there – he wasn’t exactly a spring chicken twelve years ago – but, oh yes, nothing changes in the world of…… Hmm, I shall learn my lesson and call him, let’s see - Barry.


Barry is a true phenomenon – and, if you go by looks alone, possibly the man least likely to be a hairdresser. Short, stocky, face crinkled like a walnut, clad in a black suit – he looks like he ought be to a Mafioso or a dodgy car dealer. He is also most definitely Not Gay.
‘Hey, baby…’ he drawled, as I came into the salon, ‘Looking goooood.’
Yes, I know, it sounds unbearably irritating and was one of the reasons I abandoned him on my Exmoor move. But, as one gets older, it becomes amusing rather than predatory and, by heck, he is darn good with hair. His tiny ‘salon’ is fabulous too – polished boards, the most VAST ornate gilded mirror and a stonking great chandelier dripping with crystal – totally oversized, a heck of a lot of style statement crammed into a small package (bit like Barry really).


I don’t think I have ever heard anyone talk about holidays in this place. It has the feel of a club and nine times out of ten, everyone will join in the same conversation – which can range from politics to art to cookery to local salacious gossip (the latter always the best bit). It’s not unknown to be handed a glass of champagne (quite free – no silly overpriced menus here) or for Barry to rush out yelling, ‘I need chocolate’ and come back dispensing Galaxy bars to everyone in sight.
This time I picked his brains on log burners and we had a bit of a gossip about the locals (see, how good am I? Not a name in sight): who had been thrown out for having a love-child; who might be having an affair; who might be selling up and who was spending an obscene amount of money doing up a house they will only use as a second home (grrrrr). Then we got into the juicy rumour that a certain ex-prime minister might be moving down to Exmoor. No, see, his name will not pass my lips – but it doesn’t take Brain of Britain to figure it out.
‘He wouldn’t last a minute,’ opined Barry. ‘They’d tear him apart.’
Maybe. Maybe not. I wouldn’t give much for his chances in Exford (capital of hunting) but elsewhere on the moor, they’re a pretty tolerant bunch. The major problem would be one of security. This isn’t the kind of place you can sink into obscurity. Everyone knows everyone’s business – usually before you know it yourself.
I have to say, the idea of his wife shopping for shabby chic in South Molton has a certain charm, but I can’t see it happening. Still, it’s a jolly thought, one to get us through the dark days of January. That, and my new hair which is shiny and glossy and flicks up fetchingly at the ends. Or as Barry said, with a twinkle and a wink, ‘Foxxxxy.’

PS - the pic is NOT my new hairstyle, nothing to do with Barry (who would doubtless sue if I suggested it was) - but one from many MANY moons ago.....

36 comments:

toady said...

Oooh I can just see 'herself' slumming it in SM market and patronising the locals, in both senses of the word. I don't think she'd be up for many freebies round these parts though.

Preseli Mags said...

Next time I visit Exmoor I think I'll book an appointment with Barry! Choccy and champers at the hairdressers? Berludy hell, it sounds like everything they say (in Petton Cross) about those who live in Dulverton is true!

As for the ex-PM on Exmoor, I'm now enjoying a lovely mental image of himself (maybe wifey too) being pursued across the moor by a pack of baying hounds... har har har!

lampworkbeader said...

Your hairdresser would give me the horrors! I've been known to change butcher's because the poor chap made a cheeky comment. Though I must admit the thought of session of serious gossip sound rather fun.

Pipany said...

Oops, was just about to deliver a lecture on the lack of blogs and the fact that you have a life Jane when I discovered you had another post that I haven't read yet!!! Ok, so for one who spends much of her life here I am obviously rubbish at keeping track of things...
Love the sound of Barry; places and people like that are fab. Free champy sounds like my idea of heaven. Off now to read the one about reinvention - love the sound of that being a true Capricorn!!! xx

Pipany said...

Back again - oh dear Jane, how many times have I thought I need to change direction and yet find myself no further forward - perhaps it's the sloe gin? Perhaps the spring will help; it's impossible to feel positive or energetic when it's pouring with rain all the time. Consider the blanket time planning ahead xx

Milla said...

I WANT BARRY! (OK, I want Barry's champagne as much as I want Barry). Glorious Jane. Cannot see Mr B and the fragrant C in Dulverton. But if they do move in, you must tell all. Go on, you know you want to. 2 blogs in a week, this is more like it. And you sound more cheerful.

Frances said...

Hello Jane,

Glad that you forded all streams, and got safely, glamorously, home from Barry's salon. Sounds like a fine place to assist one's reinvention. I absolutely agree that a hair style can really charge up the batteries. It's pampering with a purpose. Fun to watch the sculptor at work bringing into focus a version of ourselves that had been a bit submerged.

Please do keep the blogs coming!!

Zoë said...

Gordon Bennett don't let the Champagne Social set invade Exmoor - can you imagine it Two Jags would become Two Porche Cayennes, the actor's daughter would be doing dodgey property deals all over the place, and the whole Islington set would be camping on the doorstep recanting the madness of their coup and waiting for the second coming. Argh!

The Hairdresser sounds fab, and the hair observation is definately a good measure on current state of mind; as my lithe 18 year old commented this morning on returning from the Gym 'Interesting hair Mum - bad night?' :o(

elizabethm said...

Well I wouldn't swap my lovely hairdresser for anyone but if she deserted me (inconceivable it could be the other way round) I might have to travel the odd hundred miles or two for Barry.
Can't see the expm fitting in either.

Kaycie said...

I covet Barry. I have found no one to do my hair in our new(ish) town. And being American, I would quite like to hear him say I am looking good as he sees me come in the door.

Do you suppose it's too far for me to travel just for my hair?

Elizabethd said...

Could you send Barry to Brittany for a while?

Inthemud said...

How lucky you are to have a good hairdresser, no wonder you didn't want to miss out.

Glad you feeling over the flu now.

Hope you're enjoying life in your new home!

Expatmum said...

I think you should spill the beans about Barry - it would be great for his business, although his head might be turned by all the celebs or ex-politicans that come knocking.
I have been out and about every day, but haven't washed my hair since Monday due to the fact that I was always going to work out. As usual, it's bottom of the priority list so I will pull a hat stylishly over it once more. Good job it's bloody freezing here in Chicago.

ChrisH said...

It's worth though isn't it, all that driving through streams and braving the elements? You now have a sexy new hairstyle and that will make you feel better even if the house is misbehaving.

Foxiness apart, what is that I've just read on your previous blog? Agent not responding to emails? Berludy hell! Still, I did wait 6 months to get a response too... and now the agents waited about that long for me. I hope that the reason you're having to wait is because the agent's negotiating a huge bid. To use your wise words, 'Keep the faith'. (Come on - we need to be drinking OUR champagne when the mass of Purple coo-ers all get published!)

LittleBrownDog said...

Are you sure we're talking South Molton and not South Molton Street? I must have Barry! Spill the beans, Jane - what's this tosh about not using real names any more? There are women here who would kill for a decent haircut (actually, I'll come clean - I was a little less than satisfied with my last one and had a little snippety snip in the bathroom... The result you can imagine - Hell, high water and a couple of counties are nothing to me now...)

Glad to hear you're feeling a little perkier. I was almost on the point of packing up another emergency box of sloe gin.

LBD xx

LittleBrownDog said...

... Actually, come to think of it, I'd drive a couple of counties and ford a few rivers just to hear someone call me Foxxxxy these days...

Queeny said...

Thanks for visiting me. And interesting post here. I don't bother with hairdressers here anymore; they're too expensive.

CAMILLA said...

Darling Jane,

I too have a thing about Hairdressers, have had mine for almost 22 years, was to go and have my hair cut and styled for birthday bash, then had a phone call to say Jo was unwell, what.!!

We get so used to favourite stylist, my hair at present resembles a rather the unkempt look, I fear straighteners will have to be at hand for me tonight.

Ooh, want to know what PM now Jane, I wonder if it could be Major, he did once own a cottage near here on the Norfolk Coast, perhaps you will bump into Norma when you do daily shop.

Great Blog - FOXY LADY.!!

Camilla.xx P.S. Seriously late checking blogs, sorry Jane, have left my comments to your previous one.

Pixie said...

Flood and storm not withstanding I'll be passing near you on Thursday 31st January on my way to Bovey Tracey. Do you want to meet for a cream tea somewhere?
pxx

@themill said...

Well we had to put up with them for bloody years telling us how much they loved their home(?) in the North East... your turn now!

Glam pic, btw.......

Cowgirl said...

Blimey - nearly passed out when I half-heartedly visited your blog but indeed to my delight there were new musings to mull over!

Barry sounds fab - any man who understands the need for instant chocolate fix can't be bad, and the bubbles, not bad either.

Bet you are sooooo glad you braved life and limb for it - well worth it and so yummy to have a good old gossip (even no names one)

Good to see you back, and have to agree with Baz, Foxxxxxxy !!!

xxx

Himalayan Blue said...

Men just don't realise the importantance of hairdressers! It took me years down here to find a decent one. I now go to one in Chagford, no champagne though but she cuts hair really well! Glad your flu is going, wish I could say the same about mine!

IrishEyes said...

Aaaah! joy, you are back, and delighted to see the dreaded bug has left, missed you loads. Have to make a date to see my hairdresser this week too. He looks like a plumber, hands the size of a side of roast beef, and he cuts my hair p r e c i s e l y the way I want it. God bless men, they never get it, either they're bald and think we are too, or they think a quick nip into a barber and cut everything off is sufficient, quel horreur! No, hair do is and identity necessity!!!!!

Rob Hopcott said...

Speaking as a bloke (am I allowed to?) who has about the same number of hairs on his head as there are people in wildest Exmoor, can I sympathise with the state of hair ruling emotions?

Somewhat differently (of course, since I'm a man) and because I'm a delicate sensitive artistic creative type (an author), the weather immensely rules my emotions.

If it is dull and grey, I go into steep decline. If it is sunny with puffy white clouds, I leap onto the moors like a young lamb (well a follicly challenged one).

Then, of course, there are the wild nights, when travelling across Exmoor after playing some music at Appledore (I'm a musician too), when gales veer the campervan from side to side of the road as it speeds along at 20 mph, when the sheer savagery of the weather fills me with joy.

Emotional women and sensitive creative writing types suffer when the hair or weather is against them but would we really give up our exciting emotional lives for something less problematic but infinitely more boring?

Queen Vixen said...

Barry sounds fantastic! Cherish such characters, so much better than the youth opp girl with extensions asking you about your hols and then regailing you with the latest club 18-30 goss (as if I didnt feel old enough already). I have at last found a great hairdresser and by gum I am going to hang on to her. She is becoming more and more interested in witchy things and sees ghosts. Bonus!

As for the ex prime minister. Shant say a word!

Imbolg coming up - I shall be coming up with something seasonal on my blog. Got my white maiden dress already sorted, and a rather natty plan for a ritual. Take care xxx

muddyboots said...

floods and hairdressers? crickey, wouldn't swap my hairdresser either, she comes here to the farm, where we all sit round the kitchen. lined up like lambs for the slaughter waiting the hair chop! She always has the latest gossip too which makes it even more fun!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I have a theory about the name Barry which I will reveal one day, I suppose. As for the ex-PM, I'd say he'd be better off in another country.

Anonymous said...

Don't wish for the Ex-PM to move near you. Many years ago the husband of the then PM used to spend some weeks golfing in Cornwall near to my parents holiday home... it was awful with all the security measures and that was long before mad suicide bombers and terrorist attacks ( well I don't mean IRA bombing Harrods or so) Sounds as if Barry would be my style of hairdresser ,better keep his name a secret otherwise you would have to make your appointments 6 months in advance.

ivy said...

Don't wish for the Ex Pm to move near you. Many years ago the husband of the then PM used to spend some weeks golfing in Cornwall near to my parents holiday home... it was awful with all the security measures and that was long before mad suicide bombers and terrorist attacks ( well I don't mean IRA bombing Harrods or so) Sounds as if Barry would be my style of hairdresser ,better keep his name a secret otherwise you would have to make your appointments 6 months in advance.

Grouse said...

My hairdresser has to visit me- just cant justify the time otherwise......she is so placid, following me round whilst I answer the phone and write letters and read planning applications...... how's the weather down there today, chuck?

grit said...

i finished with hairdressers after the fire alarm, the chain smoking junior stylist and the bill for eighty quid. how bad could my hair look? i argued. btw, does barry do house visits?

grit said...

ps i have been blog hopping in search of adventure and wit and have decided that it is much kinder to say thank you by way of comment than creeping away, wordless.

Cait O'Connor said...

God I had missed this one, I thought you had given up blogging (I hope you don't!).
Your hairdresser sounds wonderful. I'm lucky in that I have a friend who does mine at her house. I was not a fan of going to a salon.
Mine needs doing now, I know just what you mean about how a haircut can change how you feel.
Keep blogging.
Caitx

Pondside said...

Did the haircut help? It's been a month since you blogged, so I'm hoping!
I go to a small local salon where the owner (who 'does' me) is a stout little lady with a wicked laugh and true talent with the shears. I call the place "Steel Magnolias" after the salon in the movie of that name.

Milla said...

wandered over here in dismal hope of a new blog. Jane, I'm missing them, I need my Dulverton fix!! Don't sleep, blog!

Cowgirl said...

Hi Doll,

Have tagged you in the 7 things about you game... see my blog for the rules!

xx