Let’s face it recent postings have been a bit of a snore-fest with me droning on about my emotions, favourite scraps of culture (who cares really?) or about my antagonism with Government Ministers over their handling of the coronavirus situation. Now I know people care intensely about the situation but my opinion? People couldn’t give a monkey’s and rightly so. But one thing always seems to provoke a nice reaction from my little band of readers; any story where I expose my foibles, shortcomings, or highly embarrassing life experiences. And having compiled 3 volumes of the moments by now (which I’m seriously thinking of publishing) you’d think there’d be nothing left to lay bear. But you’d be wrong…
The thing is, life constantly seems to throw up situations which I look at and think oh lord, I hope nobody notices. And then I can’t resist sharing them because although highly embarrassing or annoying in most cases, the outcomes are usually very uplifting, totally dispiriting or, just occasionally, mildly amusing – even to me. This story is a bit of a mix of the last two. But first of all let me take you back…
We moved out to Italy a few years ago and everything went with us. When I got ill and had to return to the UK for surgery and chemo the house was just shut up and we didn’t even visit for 3 years. Because of a leaking balcony the whole house suffered damp ingress and mould got in to attack every soft surface including our precious lifetime collection of photos stored in loads of cardboard IKEA boxes. Damn those Scandinavians. Every picture smelled of mould and it couldn’t be removed. Indeed almost everything that was soft got thrown out but we packed the photos into some plastic packing crates and brought them back to the UK where Emma allowed us to put them in her garage, bless her and St, whilst we determined what to do with them.
That was 3, 4 or even more years ago. And we never seemed to have the time to do anything about them. But this Covid-19 thing allowed us the opportunity to collect them from Emma’s garage early on and then we decided to digitise the collection, loading them onto our desktop computer and to throw the photographic paper images away. Now as I write this, I seem to remember I might have covered this off in a posting a few weeks ago. So sorry. Anyway the images are all uploaded, if in a haphazard state, and bit by bit we’ve been sorting them out.
Now we’ve had a few smiles and tiny tears sorting out loads of pictures of our girls when they were very young and Carol’s been posting a few of those recently on a FB motherhood challenge. It is so nice to go through old pics after so many years. What fantastic memories eh. But from a personal point of view I’ve noticed something whilst scanning years’ worth of pictures in a very short period which also brought on a few tears. Somehow I went from having a fine head of hair to being completely bald inside a few hundred images. How the fuck did that happen? Some will say that I had thinning hair for years and many will smile fondly at the memory of my hair island. Plenty of folks will testify that I was already looking middle-aged in my mid 20’s. But do I give two fucks? Not in the least, I look at the pictures and, well, just smile and recognise genetic predisposition and fate. I was lucky enough to inherit many of my parents’ best attributes but also my father’s hair gene and my mother’s bowel gene. Hey ho eh!
I lost my sensitivity over the subject a long time ago not least because I shave off every bit of head hair every morning. I’ve been a deliberate baldista for 5 years or more now and happy with it (until I slice into my head). But baldness is still a funny subject don’t you think, especially when there’s a period of balding denial which happens to the best of us. I thought, fuck it, you might like a potted photographic history of the pasta paulie hairstory, including the tricky bits, summarised as hair yesterday, gone today…
Here’s me at 18 months with my distinctive blond curls so reminiscent of my later years. Matching shirt and shorts a bit of a tradmark outfit for me.
Me and the bros in da hood (sadly my beautiful baby bro Mark no longer with us). Me defying photographer’s calls to look to the right and already hair’s gone dark. Look how angelic my younger brothers were compared to me. I was already developing that cynical smile. Note matching tops – my mum liked this look.
Here’s me attempting the big smile, sans bros and with forward sweep. Looks like my mum cut my hair here. Never to be repeated. By the way I remember that shirt and we had matching ones of course.
Leap forward to my sixth form and the hair’s looking luxuriant – not a hint of the thinner times to come…
This followed a couple of years after leaving school; hair still ok and in fact moustache and sideburns added extra hirsuteness
Lots of hard work and married too but little deterioration –
Few years into marriage
Could have been a stressful time, having moved to London and started work at BT but still hanging in there hair-wise from this wedding snap. Caz and I wearing matching cream suits (oh yes). Note the kipper tie.
The kids arrive and I land a great job at Cellnet thanks to my old mate Brian
Having three daughters might be a a challenge follickly but hey the hair’s doing ok, just …
I think this was definitely a challenging time for me; I’d lost my friend, mentor and buffer against the wrath of the Finance Director. I still had to put up with the tiger’s tail of a Marketing Director and Dangerous Dan MD and a fuckwit boss succeeding Brian. Oh hello the hair’s starting to recede as the problems start to stack up
I actually matched witticisms with the great Bob M but having matching hairlines wasn’t such a thrill…
I get control
After a period I eventually manage to get promoted to my ideal position as Head of Marketing but I inherit even more challenging Marketing Directors. Pressure. That bit of hair at the front starts to become isolated. Very decent of me to turn up unshaven to a function.
One hectic lifestyle, 3 daughters and madcap Directors took their toll as the hair island stared to develop and found expression at the launch of our sponsorship deal with Middlesbrough FC.
However I think it was during Comic Relief Night that I came to the realisation that I had to do something about my receding problem …
And so I went to the barbers and had a very close cut for the first time. That’s my beautiful daughter Becksy consoling me.
A 3 cut very rapidly became a 1 which became a shaven cut by myself. No hair, no shame…
From blond barnet to total skinhead in 65 years and 15 pics. You have to admit there’s no preciousness here
completely baldie paulie
I put my hair loss down to a mixture of genes and stress – particularly at work, rather than at home. Although maybe it was a consequence of the weight of hair carried from 16 through to my early 20’s! It has been at its longest during COVID than it has for 15 years. The initial streaks of grey I am sure appeared overnight in my late 20’s/early 30’s, soon followed by a 3-pronged attack involving a recession from front to back trying to join up with a bulging Monk’s ring and a general thinning of the bit in between. After eventually coming to terms with this feature of life, which the ageing problem eventually eased, it was all brought back again when a visit to my Dad when in his 90’s had him make comment on the fact that he had more hair than me – funny but also unintentionally hurtful and mentally damaging! But I eventually recovered. I am now awaiting the arrival of hair clippers from Amazon so that Lynne can do her worst, which reminds me that I must get her to watch the utube videos on the subject. Take care. Love to all. Your alopecia friend Phil
Ha brilliant mate. it was once suggested that I could have passed for my dad’s twin, except he looked slightly younger. Ouch. So I know how you feel. Take care hair buddy. Love to L
Hey Paul, at least you were never tempted to do a comb over, a la Bobby Charlton and Chris’s Dad. I can’t get my hair cut so I have matched it up with facial hair and grown a beard. Your story has brought back so many memories so here is one from me.
My Dad used to cut my hair when I was a kid which led to the only real row I ever had with him when I was about 13 or 14. His dad was serving in the Royal Navy during the First World War and the ship’s company needed a barber and on hearing that grandad’s brother was a barber it was assumed that old Albert could cut hair. On demob grandad still had the “tackle” as we called it so he used to cut my dad’s hair and dad, young Albert, cut his. Naturally when I came along the local barbers were never going to profit from my arrival and dad took to cutting my curly locks every few weeks. “Get chair out and fetch tackle from t’sideboard” was the dreaded refrain. Out would come the chequered blue cloth with the hand clippers and the blunt scissors and the inevitable short back and sides would follow.
This was fine until the testosterone started to flow and the lure of a late 50’s fashionable crew cut at “Limpy Joes” (war wound he would say) barbers was so inviting that I went along with my pals for my first professional hair cut.
“Wait till your dad gets home” were the first words out of my mother’s mouth when I got home. Two hours later and dad arrives and I could have scripted it beforehand. “What the bloody hell do you call that, paying good money when I can do it for nowt, put me tea in th’oven, he’s goin’ to get a proper haircut now”. That was the nearest we ever got to blows, he would have won, but he must have realised that the time was right to let me do my own thing and dad let it go. Good old “young” Albert, long gone, never forgotten.
Love to C,
Ha! Great story; proper Lancashire dialect, lovely memories of young and old Alberts and the gloriously named Limpy Joe. I bet you suit the facial hair mate – distinguished looking I’d guess – send us a pic! I know I’ve mentioned this before but there’s a real irony about losing my hair; I’ve actually only lost sections of it and I still have quite a lot left which gets shaven off every morning. Consequently I spend far longer on grooming now I have ‘none’ than I ever did when I had it. Isn’t life cruel sometimes ha!
Stay safe and love to Cx