London was hot. Definitely not the weather to be kitted out in a suit and tie. Time for a cooling haircut. The concierge at the hotel suggested trying a hairdresser ( when did barbers stop being barbers and become haidressers?) just round the corner. Arrived to find half a dozen 'trendy' types sprawled listlessly around on sofas, supping frappuccinos. Despite the air of inactivity, the young lady at the reception desk with four diamond piercings on her lower lip ( goodness that must have hurt) said they were fully booked and rather unhelpfully suggested coming back in two hours. Returning to the hotel ,apparently thwarted, when I saw a sign - 'Amir's Hair '. Opening the door into a salon with two empty chairs there was Amir himself. He would be delighted to cut my hair and yes he could do it straight away.
Once in the chair a four month old copy of Time magazine was thrust into my hands. " You like magazine ?" Amir said brightly before disappearing only to reappear two minutes later brandishing a pair of electric clippers . " I do clipper ?" he suggested equally brightly. 'Why not ' I replied. About two thirds of the way through an article about alpaca farming in California the full import of the "I do clipper?" came hammering home as I caught sight of a familiar but somehow strangely alien face in the mirror - my own. Amir had either had his training in the Turkish penal system or the Russian gulag. Wherever it was he was certainly efficient. Where four minutes before there had been hair there was now a shaven look that owed its inspiration to Kojak.
'The font' greeted me at the airport with a rather unhelpful " did you ask them to cut it like that ?" Wilf just looked at me as if to say ' Blimey, what happened to you? '.
Tomorrow - why it is not a good idea to give an after dinner speech immediately after you have been to the dentist to have a filling.