Thursday, January 22, 2015

In which I grow a beard

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:


robertguyton said...

You've given up too soon! I too have grown a beard (mine didn't itch, I know not why) and have to face the public regularly (Councillor on the Southland Regional Council, photo up-dated in NZ Gardener each month) but I'm not quailing in the face of criticism - I'm going for the "Full-Gandalf".
Here's a link to my blog and a chance for you to laugh and perhaps reverse your decision to make your face like that of a woman's :-)

Denis said...

Dear me

All this banging on about a beard, and no photo of the foliage.

I hope this will be rectified immediately.

Stephen Stratford said...

@Robert: I was bribed by the children to shave. They offered a bag of licorice allsorts, and I refused. They upped the offer to a bag of licorice allsorts and a bag of spearmint leaves. Deal! I wish I had had such negotiating skills when i was running my own business.

@Denis: no photos, by request.