Friday, 27 July 2018

Hair soon is now: will the indie aesthetic ever disappear? | Music | The Guardian

Hair soon is now: will the indie aesthetic ever disappear? | Music | The Guardian

Hair soon is now: will the indie aesthetic ever disappear?

Paul Weller may have cut his famed fringe, but the indie bouffant – part mod, part mullet – will never die

As evidenced by the Harrington jacket-clad masses who have been dutifully showing up at every single Liam Gallagher festival date this summer, indie boys – AKA men who own at least two copies of Quadrophenia on DVD for some reason, still smoke Benson & Hedges and are, in fact, in their late 40s – are here to stay. For the past four decades, they have been roaming the suburban high streets of the UK, sporting Fred Perry shirts and busting out the kind of confident swagger that only comes from a solid hour of listening to Oasis's Rock'n'Roll Star on the top deck of the bus.

These men's true crowning glory is, of course, their hair: a feathered, mod-ish thing first conjured up by the Beatles in the 1960s, beginning its life in the "mop-top" guise before being given a choppy, mullet-y makeover by none other than the tartan-clad sex weasel himself, Rod Stewart.

The indie bouffant baton was picked up in the early 80s by Johnny Marr and Paul Weller, and carried on through the 1990s by Liam and Noel and various Sleeper-blokes (I mean, it probably was; I honestly can't be bothered to Google what they looked like), before striding confidently into the millennium on the head of Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys. Naturally, this was before he moved to Los Angeles and discovered a tub of hair gel and Elvis's 68 Comeback Special in the bathroom cupboard of his Hollywood Hills Airbnb rental.

The indie-boy haircut is a haircut that represents many, many things, not least a steadfast refusal to grow the hell up. If the boldly moustached linguist Ferdinand de Saussure were still knocking about, I'm sure he wouldn't have been able to shut up about how the classic cut doesn't just show a dedication to grooming and pride in one's appearance; it's also about the love of a decent pint, a transformative trip to Carnaby Street aged 17 and the ability to play bass guitar to a semi-decent level.

The very fact that Paul Weller has recently changed his legendary 'do after decades of confident, razor-sharp indie-boy hair only goes to emphasise just how important – nay, iconic – the classic look is. Now in possession of some ash-blond curtains, Weller looks less like a rock star and more like H from Steps after a tussle with Men Behaving Badly-era Leslie Ash in a dimly lit corner of Supercuts. How, pray tell, will we know if he is capable of chatting up a nice woman called Deborah while simultaneously picking a decent selection of northern soul bangers on the pub jukebox now? There's only one thing for it – we're sending a strongly worded letter of complaint to the Style Council.

Paul Weller's True Meanings is released on 14 Sep

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