My 2015 beard-growing initiative has not been in homage to celebrity beard Francis Wheen, 2013’s Real Organic Santa of the Year, whose birthday we celebrate today, just the standard New Zealand male on holiday can’t be arsed shaving. (Note to readers overseas: New Zealand shuts down from Christmas to the end of January. Nobody works. Nothing gets done. If we are not lolling about on our superyachts we are surfing. Because summer. Which is intensely irritating for those of us who do have to work because freelance = no holiday pay.)
Usually at this time I go a week without shaving but this year I have extended the run. Mainly – no, entirely – to annoy the children, who hate it. As do I. OMG it is itchy. Also, I dislike beards on principle: I want to see a person’s face, not a hairy burqa. OTOH several writer friends have them: Chris Else, Brian Turner, Danyl McLauchlan. Even CK Stead had one years ago. (My nephew Simon who lives in Russia has one. How old do you think that makes me feel, having a nephew with a beard? At least he’s not a hipster.)
Back to my beard: I let it develop wondering how it would develop, hoping for the full Randall Jarrell, my greatest literary hero (pictured above), but I have ended up somewhere between local publishers Fergus Barrowman and Paul Little. Nothing wrong with either of them but neither of them is Randall. And, sadly, it turns out, nor am I.
So the beard will go when the children really can’t stand it any more. Or when high-school starts and I have to meet teachers and present as a normal person, whichever comes first. Until then, here are ZZ Top live in August 2014 with “Rough Boy”: bearded Billy Gibbons on guitar, bearded Dusty Hill on bass and beardless Frank Beard on drums. And beardless guest Jeff Beck: