When I was a boy, I used to collect stamps. Or, more accurately, I didn’t collect stamps, but so many of my elderly friends and relatives assumed that I must collect stamps and accordingly bought me them, that I amassed a stamp collection. I used to keep them in a metal Huntley and Palmers biscuit tin. I still do.
One of my favourite sets of stamps was a series of the Kings and Queens of England from William I to Elizabeth II, which was issued by the United Arab Emirates in 1971. It was from this run of stamps that I learned to recite the names of the Kings and Queens of England in chronological order, a party trick, which I am still pleased to perform to this day. And the reason why you get invited to so few parties (Ed).
Aside from the names and dates of the Kings and Queens, one thing that always struck me about the portraits on the stamps was the variety of their haircuts.
During lockdown, and without access to a barber, my own hair had begun to resemble Charles I although, admittedly, a rather greying Charles I.
Unchecked, it would soon be a Charles II.
With hairdressers opening again on 12 April, I made an appointment to have my flowing locks tamed, and began to scan my stamps of Kings and Queens for a style, which might suit me.
A George IV rather appealed, with its wild, Byronic abandon––actually a very flattering image of George IV, IMHO––but I did not think my own hair would achieve sufficient wave, without recourse to some kind of artificial perm, or a massive amount of gel.
I rather admired the rugged manliness of a Henry I or a Stephen, but I am sufficiently self-aware to recognise that the facial hair was a step beyond my abilities.
Realistically, a George VI was more in my repertoire, but it seemed a little dull.
In the end, it was just a relief to have my hair neat and trimmed again. In truth, I would have been happy with any style, just as long as it wasn’t a Henry V.
© Simon Turner-Tree
In the absence of other admirers, Simon Turner-Tree is unabashed in the admiration of himself.