Claire Black: ‘North Korean haircuts seem like a good idea’

I WENT to the hairdresser last week. I enjoyed it. Not because I partook of the glass of wine which I was offered. I’m not abstemious, I just have a “no bevvy if your last meal was breakfast” rule that I like to abide by.

It was fun because my hairdresser cuts my hair exactly as I ask her to. Actually, it’s more complicated than that: she cuts my hair the way I would ask her to if I spoke the language hairdressers speak. I don’t. Instead, she interprets my garbled efforts: “If you could make it as small as possible, please” (tr. please use thinning scissors to take the weight out of it thereby preventing any escalation to bouffant at the first sign of rain); “just hack it all off, please” (tr. I haven’t had it cut in months therefore I think two inches off the length would be ideal).

I don’t take any of this – the fun, the translations, the offer of alcoholic beverages at noon – for granted because I remember the wilderness years, those long decades (I’m not exaggerating – I was 30 before I got a decent haircut) of hideous hairdos foisted upon me by stylists enamoured with a round brush and a diffuser.

Terrifying. This is why when discovered last week that in North Korea there are 18 officially sanctioned hairstyles from which good women citizens can choose (there are just ten for men) my first reaction was: “Good idea, we should do that.’

I like the thought of arriving at a salon, perusing a menu and saying, confidently, curtly, clearly: “A number four, please.” Then just sitting back, eyes shut – there’s no need to watch if you know what you’re going to get – while the work is done.


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Given that the North Korean models are what I’d call variations-on-the-theme-of-how-my-mum-looked-circa-1986, I’d suggest an update with my own top five:

1. The Emeli: bleached and bequiffed. A winner. 2. The Harry: for the cursed, I mean, curled among us. Unisex. 3. The Ronnie the Rocket pre-breakdown: an asymmetric style that looks OK in the hairdressers but like something you’ve done yourself with the wee scissors on your Swiss Army knife when in the real world. Or at the Crucible. Often indicative of an impending emotional crisis. 4. The Wayne: for the folically-challenged. Pricey. 5. The Cowell: fuzzy and flat and, crucially, embarrassingly cheap.

I really think this could catch on.

AS A staffie owner, I know first hand that the breed doesn’t enjoy a good reputation. Dogs put on the lead, children led away, nervous adults crossing the road as though my sweet little pooch is the hound of Satan. How brilliant then that the various campaigns which have been launched in recent months to rebrand the breed seem to be working. Edinburgh Dog and Cat home have rehomed 29 staffies since November last year. That’s a huge increase and a triumph for all involved. Nice one.


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NOTHING makes me realise my age more than a new games console being launched. I greet such news with total indifference. And yet once upon a time I owned a PlayStation and a Nintendo 64. The former was for playing Tomb Raider, the latter for playing James Bond: Goldeneye. I played each game to completion and, yes, I had a lot of fun. But now, truth be told, I feel a little cheated of all those hours I spent and probably wish that I’d been reading books instead. Age, you see.

Twitter: @Scottiesays