Saturday, August 18, 2007


Years ago, when men were men and `hair stylists` were barbers, I used to go and get my hair cut once every few weeks. The barber shop was half way down a quiet street and was run by a Mr. Furminger, who ran his one man business in the converted front room of his house.
Of course, he was known locally as `Sweeney` - perhaps a little unjustly, although he did have a somewhat limited range of `styles` to offer prospective clients. In truth, once you sat in his barber`s chair, you were never asked how you would like it done - you contented yourself with the knowledge that Sweeney would do it his way or not at all. The consequence of this was that the whole male population of the locality sported precisely the same hair style - at least it was consistent.
The other quirk of Sweeney`s emporium was that, of course, there were no such things as `appointments.` You just turned up, took your place in the queue and waited patiently until it was your turn for the inevitable `styling.`
Today - being the start of the weekend - has brought back memories (and I`m talking about 50 years ago) of the question Sweeney asked each and every one of his customers once he had concluded his folically repetitive routine, "Would you like something for the weekend, Sir?"
I must have missed the furtive transactions which must have taken place with some customers following Sweeney`s question, but I remember the day he first asked me. It was truly a rite of passage. My mind raced through the activities I may have had planned and, in a fit of panic brought on by the notion that, having been asked, perhaps I really should buy something, I plumped for a tub of Brylcreem.

Over the coming few months and years, before I was whisked away to do my National Service, I accumulated quite a large supply of Brylcreem. Despite slapping copious quantities of the stuff on my hair, I never seemed able to use it all up. It wasn`t until much later that the true value of Sweeney`s question dawned on me and I have forever been left wondering what on earth Sweeney must have thought I was doing with all that Brylcreem for all those youthful weekends.
It`s only now, of course, that my imagination can come up with any sort of suggestion.

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