I'm facing up to the bald truth

NOW, my dear, dear readers, I have this week a most distressing tale to tell.

James Marston

NOW, my dear, dear readers, I have this week a most distressing tale to tell.

It is a story of humiliation and terror, a tale of woe and upset, a discourse of displeasure.

A topic of conversation within our small but close-knit newsroom has reared its rather depressing head in recent days.

Far from being a topic I wish to discuss it is one of the most sensitive subjects known to man - and usually it is man alone whom finds it so.

My award-winning colleague Jon, who enjoys having fun in sports cars, commented over a lunchtime prawn sandwich and bottle of refreshing orange juice, health you see, that my hair was dramatically thinning.

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He said: “Goodness James, your bald patch is almost joined up with the front.”

Naturally, aware at this most disturbing state of affairs, I recoiled in horror.

Though clearly aghast some other colleagues decided to, as they say in certain parts of Suffolk, chike in.

Mike, a most senior person in the newsroom who enjoys golf and has a full head of hair despite significant years, added his couple of pence.

“I think you should start wearing a toupee, a piece, a syrup.”

The discussion widened.

A third fellow journalist Ed, who has hair but keeps it very short, also had something ribald to say.

“It's not so much thinned James, as packed up and left.”

Our editor, hearing our discourse and noting my increasing discomfort at being reminded of something that is so plainly obvious to me, joined in and told it as it is.

“Well James, you're going bald aren't you? And that's all there is to it.”

I almost took all this in good grace and admitted that each time I wake up in the morning I seem to be turning into the Yul Brynner of the Felixstowe peninsula et cetera, et cetera.

Indeed I have sometimes seen myself on the occasional garage CCTV screen when paying for petrol and not believed what I have seen.

But talking of the peninsula, I found myself at a Felixstowe barbers the other day getting something for the weekend- a trim.

After the rapid consultation - my hair is now brief five-minute job - I handed over a crisp Harry expecting a couple of quid in return.

Jim, for that is the name of the barber, handed me back �5.50 to my surprise.

It wasn't until I was leaving and noticed Jim's 'bill of fare” with various prices I realised why.

I have replicated the price list to illustrate my point.

Gentlemen haircut �8.

Mature gents �4.50.

As you can imagine, it was, dear readers, a defining moment - there's no turning back now.

Of course there is little one can do about a disappearing Barnet save surgery and I'd rather not be the Bruce Forsyth or Frankie Howerd of Suffolk's premier seaside resort so I shall embrace it and look upon this turn of events as part of the rich tapestry that life continues to throw at me and other chaps in my position.

And I can tell you one thing, I'm certainly not bitter or envious of full-headed colleagues and friends whatever they say.

Not at all.

Not one bit.

Not much.

I HAPPENED to be visiting the ancient university town of Cambridge with an old friend recently and the topic of conversation turned to literature.

I mentioned I am currently reading- though trudging through may be a more accurate description - Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy's last novel.

My friend agreed he liked Hardy but had never got on with Sons and Daughters.

A strange comment I thought, having no idea why he might have felt unable to make friends with a totally inoffensive and rather dull daytime Australian soap opera.

Of course eventually we worked out he meant something by DH Lawrence, then I understood.

AS regular readers will know my musical tastes tend to be on the traditional almost staid side, preferring songs from the shows, lounge music, Tina Turner, Elke Brooks and occasional early 20th century choral pieces - well I once sang some Vaughan Williams in a south London church.

Anyway, the other evening I left my small Felixstowe salon with sea views (distant) and headed to the seafront to listen to a spot of music over a couple of white wines - chenin - and a bag of nuts - cashew.

The music, which drew quite a crowd in the small town, was quite unlike anything I had ever heard and performed by a group of young men who call themselves Mohawk.

Indeed, they played a most unusual timbre.

It was, I learned from the drummer Andy, something called cyber/space rock.

Now to the untrained ear it was quite noisy and clearly an acquired taste.

Of course, conversation was rendered nigh-on impossible, though I am worryingly aware that comment makes me sound like my parents, and limited to the brief interludes the set allowed.

Nevertheless I must admit I enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm the band clearly has.

But have you heard of such a genre.

Is cyber rock something that as passed me by or am I just getting old?

WERE you incensed by all these school closures?

Isn't it outrageous that snow can cause so much disruption?

Running out of grit, giving up at the slightest trouble, avoiding work - it is embarrassing.

And there is, it seems to me, a strong element of laziness on the part of teachers - certainly in some areas where there wasn't even heavy snow.

Norwegians educate their children, even in Siberia they have schools where people turn up to and our private schools certainly don't shut when it snows.

We must be the laughing stock of Northern Europe.

You're thoughts will be appreciated - send a letter do.