Sunday, December 22, 2002

Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I’ve got, I’m just Ruffles on the blog

In terms of taste making, I am the second interview to fame. I’m not the first interview, I’ve never seen an unsigned band who went on to headline Glastonbury, nor am I the isometric test, I do miss more often than not – The Frank and Walters really should have done much better. But I can give a serious leg up to evolving fashions. If you get past me, fame is a short hop away. For example, I was into the Happy Mondays long before they charted, I saw Radiohead at Kingston University just after they released Creep for the first time (I thought they were noisy rubbish – I didn’t say that I could consciously spot a talent), I bought the first Oasis single before its official release and have been to an Oasis after party pre the days when the likes of Tony Blair turned up. I’d been ‘into’ Norman Cook long before Rockerfellar Skank went big. Likewise, I was rocking the football casual look years before Liverpool scallies started nicking La Coste; I’ve worn combat trousers since I was knee high to a grasshopper. My mum bought me a pair of Nike trainers when I was 11, which saved me from a beating from the school nutcase (my Nike’s were ‘cool’, and I taught him on how to make the tongues stick up – thinking now, that makes me proud, hopefully its subsequently saved him a few buggerings in the jailhouse ever since).

Luckily my hair has a natural sense of style too, without doing anything to it, during the football casual era, I had the hairstyle, and during ‘baggy’ I was effortlessly able to cultivate the ‘curtains’. And now inexplicably, my hair is growing into a Hoxton fin.

Others are not so lucky and this is becoming an increasing concern. The application of hair gel amongst men is, quite frankly, out of control. Male grooming is not something new but the democratisation of hair care products for men is a recent intervention in socio-economic terms. It’s also an example about how you shouldn’t just dish out power and responsibility to those without the mental capacity to cope with it or use it properly.

This Christmas period has brought it into stark contrast for me. The busy shops, coupled with my 6ft 3inch frame has seen me, on many occasions, gazing down on to the top of great lumps of greasy, sorry, “wet look” hair styles of teenage boys. The fashion it seems is a variation of the Bobby Charlton scrape-over: the Scrape Forward, with the liberal application of wet look hair gel is possible to mould your hair into about 7 matted strands, each of which is teased to run parallel to each other from the front to the back of the head. It is usually finished off with the fringe standing up vertically, like you’ve run into a door.

Firstly, where does the fashion come from? I don’t see So Solid Crew or Limp Bizkit having Scrape Forwards. Secondly hair gel is one of those things where the actual reason for its existence (to create stylish hairstyles) has become utterly detached from its reason to be consumed – teenage boys don’t want good hairstyles, they just want gel in their hair. Now what we have is an entire industry dedicated to selling hair gel to people who simply plop it on their heads and look like turds. It’s a bit like selling cigarettes; it’s not sold to people who want them, just to people who feel they need them. It’s morally corrupting; they should ban hair gel advertising like they have with cigarettes. There are people making millions from others’ misplaced perceptions.

Mind you, don’t tell everyone, the whole economy works like that. If anyone ever found out, we’d all be fucked.


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