Friday, 10 February 2012

Feeling light-headed

Baldy Bain, went to Spain

The old playground rhyme goes.

In a chocolate aeroplane…

Not the most practical of modes of transport, but let's go with it for now.

When he got back, he broke his back…

I'm surprised he made it at all, what with the confectionary-based aircraft and everything.

And that was the end of Crackerjack.

Sadly, it wasn't. When this little ditty was the standard method of greeting a new haircut in a schoolchum, Crackerjack was still an institution with the firm hand of Michael Aspel on the reins, and five-to-five on a Friday remained something to look forward to. Had it ended there, it would be remembered fondly. Unfortunately, the full horror of the Stu Francis grape-abuse years were still to come, possibly part of the same national decline in standards which led to the Baldy Bain rhyme itself being abandoned in favour of simply chanting "baldy, baldy" and slapping the freshly-trimmed about the scalp until concussion set in.

If you didn't get any of that, it's because you're either too young or too old. So for those who aren't down with the memes of a 1970s primary education, the point is this…

My head's cold.

After a few days procrastination, last night I dug out the super-duper, 18-length, swivel-headed, cut-your-own hair clippers I bought at the weekend, set them to 5mm, handed them to Clare and asked her to get on with it.

The first pass wasn't massively successful. It was an improvement, insofar as it took away the patchy comb-over look I'd been cultivating, but it still looked a bit odd. The problem was that across the patches of scalp where the radiation has gone in and out, only the once-luxuriant, so-brown-it-was-nearly-black hair has leapt screaming from my head; the straggly insurgent greys have decided to hang around to see what's happening next, giving me a weirdly unbalanced look with a pretty stark line between my normal dark thatch and its thinned-down grey neighbour. Trimming this down to a half-centimetre had only really served to throw it into sharp relief.

I looked like a suede badger.

So we set the trimmers down to 1.5mm and had another go. I think this is better.

At this length, the grey isn't really visible, so the overall effect isn't any less medical than before, but at least it looks more alopecia than cancer, so I suppose that's a sort of an improvement. The only way from here is full cue-ball – or, in my case, bowling-ball – but I'm going to stick with the two-tone Dralon look for a bit, even if those tones appear to be black and invisible. It's been a long time since I've been under any delusion about being in any way pretty, so I can stick this for a few days to see what happens. I just have to remember not to wear my white Ben Sherman polo shirt, so I don't look like I've escaped from This Is England.

Thing is, I now have only five more radiation sessions to go, including tonight's. Next Thursday is my last, so it might all start to grow back after that, dark hairs and all. Even if it comes back grey, as long as it's of similar thickness to the rest, it'll be OK. Maybe even a bit exotic.

Meanwhile, there are pros and cons. On the downside, I still look a bit diseased, lying down is an oddly jaggy experience, and the leather sofa on which I like to conk out in the middle of the day is cold on my scalp. But on the upside, I'm sure I can now do some pretty inventive stuff with Fuzzy Felt.

And, now I think about the old rhyme, maybe I should go to Spain. Specifically, the Canaries, where it's nice and warm at this time of year. If I'm going to be gubbed and sleeping half the day for three weeks after the zapping stops, I can do that just as well on a sun lounger. It's a thought. Although I think I'll stick with a standard, low cocoa-solids way of flying there.


  1. Hi Graeme,

    A friend just recommended your blog on Twitter so I had a look. Nice bit of writing.

    All the best with the treatment.