05.07.2005 19:00 - Ears of Flame
I went to the barbers the other day, as my free haircut at the expense of ZDF is long-gone. Due to German barbers not having the common sense to stay open past 12 on Saturday (or 6 during working days), my choices were limited, and so I had to go to a Unisex(Well, it's nearly 'Unix') salon in Venloer str., that Her Maj recommended. This was at least better than the one a bit further down the road, which seems to specialise in No.1 and No.2 haircuts : the number seemingly being related to the length of the hair left on the scalp in millimetres. I avoid them, because no matter how long I tell them to leave the hair, I invariably come out looking like Yul Brynner after he's had a day or two without shaving his bonce.
So, I went to the Turkish hairdresser over the road from the Turkish music shop. The Turkish music shop has a lot of interesting stuff in there, like a Saz (Turkish three-string guitar) and various other instruments. They also have a couple of guitars - nylon, acoustic and electric. Unfortunately, what they do not have is a set of Ernie Ball Greens, which, if you are a guitarist, you will know is a set of medium-light electric guitar strings. So it looks as though I'll have to go down to Uli's or up into town to pick up strings. But I digress.
So, I went into the hairdressers and waited my turn. I couldn't read anything, as all the magazines were in Turkish (including Hurryet, the Turkish language newspaper, fact fans), so I sat and gazed into space until my turn came.
I eased into the chair and attempted to convey my idea of a good haircut to the barber. He got started, and after a while I drifted off into the half-doze you usually end up in whilst having your hair cut, which meant I was totally unprepared for what happened next.
The barber picked up a small disposable cigarette lighter, placed the nozzle in my ear, and flicked the ignition.
I jumped about six feet. The smell of burning hair filled the air.
I was about to protest in a typically base anglo-saxon way about this unpleasant surprise, but he'd sneaked round the back and stuck the lighter in the other lughole. Fwoosh! Another brief feeling of heat, and the smell of burning hair.
The reason for this is thus : as you get older, gravity gets the better of your follicles, the hair stops growing out of your head, and starts coming out lower down, via the nostrils, and, more to the point, the ears. Our friend Mr. Sweeney had discovered the neat trick of sticking a cigarette lighter into someone's ear and briefly igniting it, reducing those difficult-to-prune wiry hairs to easily-removable carbon.
I paid my tenner and fled, before he got the idea to stick it up my nose.