Barely five days after my first haircut in nearly four months, I’m already thinking about booking the next one. I’m not exactly panicking about the need to keep my hair as short as possible on a week-to-week basis but I am worried, hopefully unnecessarily, about everything being forced to close again. You see, the coronavirus ‘R’ (reproduction) rate is up again to roughly roughly one in many parts of the country and potentially above one in the south west. Only the Midlands is definitely below one, except for the east Midlands bit where Leicester stands.
It’s entirely possible that the statistic for the south west is a bit of an outlier. Our rates are much lower than the rest of the country anyway, so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into it. But maybe we should?
Matters aren’t helped by the decision of Dominic Cummings to end the daily news conference at 10 Downing Street. They could get very boring from time to time and on occasions it was hard to avoid the feeling that Cummings had deliberately made them that way. And of course, Cummings wanted to get the message out there that the COVID-19 crisis was over and it was now safe to get pissed in the pub and to max out on the credit card on inessential shopping items. So, all that pesky news about the R and the rising death toll just got in the way.
It was usually better when the news conferences included a scientist who knew what the figures actually meant and not a politician who knew what the figures actually meant but said they meant something else. That too was a nuisance for Cummings so now we have to scour the internet to find out something vaguely resembling the truth. Today it was my job.
What I discovered wasn’t disastrous. Yes, the rate of infection is coming down and so are the number of deaths but what if this bloody R figure keeps going up? Will Cummings send Johnson to speak to the nation, once more, and say that we “must stay at home”. More panic buying of bog paper, no pasta and barber shops closing again.
I’m not sure I can go through the Worzel Gummidge look all over again. Whilst I didn’t particularly care about looking a bit of a twat – no change there, then – my unruly Barnet did start to get on my Wick by the end. The sheer feeling of relief when the clippers started their work was the nearest thing to heaven I know. The sound of a Deltic diesel locomotive starting up, the smell of frying onions, the taste of mature cheese on toast. Nothing compares 2 U, Mr Barber Man.
When next lockdown comes, I’ll be well ready. I’ll begging for a skin fade all over, except for on top where I want the shortest scissor cut ever. That might last a month or so before I start getting fidgety. If it gets me down too much next time, law-breaking may become a necessity. But then, I might start killing people and a haircut probably isn’t worth it. At least the haircut, when it finally arrives, will be a lifetime high point.