Back To Reality


As I make my way through what I hope is the last of the ‘Christmas food’ – there is only so much smoked salmon, Camembert and onion chutney a person can stomach, and I won’t even mention the ‘T’ word – the return to reality after the festive break is met by me with a warm embrace. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed a lovely Christmas with my family, although my dad did ask if I’d discovered Oliver Cromwell amongst our family tree, when he visited on New Year’s Eve and discovered I had already taken down the decorations (they came down on the 29th!).


From Dolly to David

I also had an amazing time seeing in 2016 with friends, singing karaoke at our local. I think the highlight of the evening was when I went up to sing Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” only to find that the landlord had actually selected Whitesnake’s “Here I go Again”. Unperturbed, and a few gins into the evening, I did my best David Coverdale impression (and I don’t just mean my hair). As Louis Walsh would say, I made it my own!

However, there comes in a point in the ever-extending festivities when I begin to crave some semblance of normality. After all, how can Christmas remain special if it goes on interminably? And if you’re reluctant to return to your reality, then change it. Besides being sad losses to the music world, the recent passing of Lemmy Kilmister, John Bradbury, Guru Josh and Natalie Cole can’t fail to serve as a timely reminder to a generation that life is too short to waste on what could have been. Go out and grab your reality now. You never know, 2016 could be your best year yet.

Hair I Go Again


When my hairdresser asked me to model a Brazilian for him, to say I was shocked is an understatement! As visions of paper knickers and waxing whizzed through my mind, he went on to explain that a Brazilian blow dry was a method of enhancing the keratin bonds in the hair, a long-term solution to frizz, which makes hair smoother and more manageable. As my hair is naturally suited to the Eighties (big, curly with lots of frizz), I took about a nano second to agree to his offer.

The whole process took about three hours, during which small sections of hair are painstakingly covered in the conditioning treatment – no mean feat when your head possesses an abundance of hair-filled follicles – drying, flat-ironing, shampooing and blow-drying. This allowed us plenty of time to discuss the styles of the Eighties, to which my hair is so well-suited. Back in the day, my hair would be blow-dried upside down, with plenty of mousse run through it (to give even more volume to hair that was already as wide as my shoulders), then sprayed into place with half a gallon of VO5 gel spray. If my hair was going to move, it did so as a whole – a sort of curly, hairy helmet! However, whilst my hair was great for styles in the mid to late Eighties, the early part of the decade caused me a lot of distress and hair envy.

First, there was the ‘Lady Di’ haircut, which I would have been hard-pushed to achieve even with today’s serums, styling products and GHDs. Back in 1981, it was an impossibility. That didn’t stop my 10 year old self insisting that was the only style I wanted, giving my poor hairdresser at the time a nervous breakdown, and causing her to lie that I looked “just like Lady Diana”, when my hairdo was more akin to that of Prince Charles’ wavy comb-over. The natural curl in my hair meant that a lot of the hairstyles of the early Eighties were beyond my grasp. The New Romantic one-sided fringe became one big kiss-curl when I attempted it. The only way forward was to go short, and embrace the curls on top. Think of Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore, and you won’t be far from my early 80’s hairstyle.

Although I may have been limited in my options for hairstyle, the choices of hair colour were seemingly endless. My early experiments with hair colour were based around the “Wash In, Wash Out” sachets (mahogany, plum, chestnut) and the pungent-smelling aerosol colour sprays. I remember using the latter on my first “Wear What You Like” day at secondary school, when I showed up with lots of tiny green plaits! I soon progressed to more permanent colour, although there wasn’t much permanent about the way I used to change my mind and my hair colour. One week my hair would be jet black, the next a brassy blonde. How I have any hair left, let alone such thick hair, is a miracle. Which brings me back to today’s challenge to tame my unruly bush (my hairdresser’s phrase, not mine!).

It would appear that for the first time in my life, I have hair that doesn’t make me want to cry tears of frustration. It dried in half the time it would normally take, it’s frizz-free and shiny – in fact, it feels as if I’ve got someone else’s hair on my head! So from now on, unless the David Coverdale circa 1986 comes back into fashion, it’s the Brazilian for me.


Return To My Favourite Waste Of Time


Anyone who remembers the summer of 1986, will be familiar with the lyrics “You’re my-y-y-y-y-y, you’re my favourite waste of time.” Sung by Glasgow-born Owen Paul, a man whose stature belies his powerful voice, the song became the theme tune to my teenage summer. Sometimes underrated, and written off as a one hit wonder, Owen has not sat idle since his stint at the forefront of pop. Following over a decade of behind-the-scenes involvement in the entertainment industry, Owen returned to the music scene in 2002 with the launch of his album, About Time. Appearances with Mike & The Mechanics, Four Good Men and XSM (ex-Simple Minds, alongside his brother Brian McGee) followed, culminating in the re-launch of his solo career in 2013.

Having been fortunate enough to experience one of Owen’s Acoustic 80s nights last summer, to say I was excited to learn he was performing another tonight is an understatement! As well as his own material (including his other ’86 release Pleased To Meet You), Owen mastered 80’s classics such as Propaganda’s “Duel”, George Michael’s “A Different Corner”, and my personal favourite, Whitesnake’s “Is This Love”. If tonight’s performance comes anywhere close to last year’s one, I will be in Eighties’ bliss! Don’t take my word for it, come along and see for yourself:

Hope to see you there!