I always dread getting my hair cut. Waiting your turn, cursing yourself for not bringing a good book, feeling obliged to engage in the obligatory hair cut conversation. Going anywhere nice this year?

This week’s trip was no exception. Left for lunch early to beat the queue and got beaten by people leaving work early to beat the queue. Waiting. Cheeky Girls on the stereo. Waiting. One of the staff has the audacity to have a lunch break. Further waiting. The guy ahead of me has shorter hair than I do. I begin to hate him. Why should he get to go first? He had the foresight to bring a book too. Now I really hate him. It’s called ‘A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away’ by Christopher Brookmyre. I hope it’s rubbish.1

Perhaps I can make the waiting more productive. Perhaps the magazines over by the shampoo will provide something worth recording and hyperlinking. I grab a copy of City Living magazine.

First to catch my eye is an article on Edward Burne-Jones. Pre-Raphaelite artist, student of Rossetti and born here in Birmingham. I walked past his birth place on the way to the barbers. It’s a restaurant now (a friend of mine did the refurbishment a couple of years ago) but you can see the English Heritage blue plaque above the door. The fact that the building is called Burne-Jones House is also a bit of a give away. One of the easiest ways to see some of his work (I mean see some of his work, not look at it online) is to visit Birmingham Cathedral and look at the stained glass windows.

Keith? says hairdresser number one when she’s finished mopping up the left overs from her previous victim (an OAP who came back in the shop afterwards to tell us that her friend had declared her haircut worthy of ’10 out of 10!’). Keith puts away his book and takes a seat, confessing that things had got so desperate he’d been forced to resort to the tub of ‘backup wax’. I’m glad I let him go first. Mercifully, hairdresser number two, the new girl, is stuck with the perm from hell. It’s obviously a lost cause but her hairdressing Hippocratic oath prevents her from giving in. I shall have to wait till the lunch break is over for hairdresser number three.

Back to the magazine. Damn. I’ve missed a photography exhibition at the Custard Factory. 24 hours in Birmingham with a Lomo camera. I’m fascinated by the results these cameras achieve and the content could have been useful inspiration for the phonecam exhibition that Alfie and I are hoping to put on next year. We’re currently wandering around places and minds trying to agree a theme/justification. You’re more than welcome to give us your input by visiting the notes on the wiki: MoBlogExhibition.

A scruffy looking chap comes in and starts to browse the designer shampoo products. Hairdresser number one stifles a laugh and asks if she can help. He clearly hasn’t washed his hair in weeks, so why should it seem so odd that he wants to buy shampoo? Surely that’s exactly what he needs. Is it for you Sir? Hesitation. Err, ummm. Can it be that difficult? Yeessss. He leaves again with a jolly expensive hair care product in the pocket of his tweed coat.

Ah, pay dirt. An article about Walsall Art Gallery running an exhibition called Fantasy Architecture. A collection of images of work that was never built. Some I recognise, some I don’t. It’s on until the 21st of this month so I still have time to drag The Wife and kids round there. I scan the article, disagree in places, agree in others. I certainly don’t agree with the suggestion that Foster’s bridge to the Tate is a better solution than FAT’s unbuilt proposal for a Diana memorial. Regardless of how you feel about Diana, their design for a rolling meadow of grass seems preferable to the anonymous grey steel work that eventually got built/de-wobbled. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the beautiful drawings of Birds Portchmouth Russum again. I saw them give a really enjoyable lecture some years ago, it was one of my first experiences of the value of wit and humour in creativity. I remember that the fact almost all of their projects were fantasy did raise some concern from someone in the audience about their ability to pay the rent off the back of so much unbuilt work. I also remember they didn’t give a straight answer.

The haircut2 proceeded without further ado.

  1. Ha! According to The Sunday Herald, it is rubbish: “The key to good genre writing is plotting and pace. Brookmyre achieves neither… bulking out the page count are Brookmyre’s attempts at humour… “. Although respect is due to the author for posting both good and bad reviews on his site. Note the way he splits them up as pre and post 9/11 – a section of the story apparently involves terrorists and planes.
  2. number 4 on top, 2 on the sides