Local Talent

Karen welcomed Old Mrs Sindy who was getting her notoriously frizzy and course hair done at Ken’s Unisex Salon, her regular appointment had been moved as there was an unexpected rush on this week.

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As usual the place was a hive of activity, buzzing with the sound of whisperd gossip, clippers and heady waffs of hair lacquer. Old Mrs Sindy watched as a confused young man tried to get the assistants attention.

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Karen just walked right past him several times while he tried in vain to get her to notice him.

“Er excuse me Miss”

IMG_5169“Miss?”

He looked very awkward until the suave salon owner Ken came to his rescue

“Have you got an appointment, love?”

“Yes, I’ve been here for my 3.30 trim” Both the young man and Ken looked at the clock, it was quarter to 4.

Karen whispered loudly, “I swear I didn’t see him.”

“Put your glasses on, you silly moo.” Ken chastised his assistant jokingly, “He’s wearing the same colour blue as the walls!”

IMG_5172As Ken ushered the confused young man to a vacant barbers chair, in walked the very smart and dashing Sir Charles; he rapidly scanned the waiting area and spied Old Mrs Sindy. ‘Perfect’ he thought to himself as he politly nodded across to her, ‘Splendid.’

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“Beautiful morning Madam, your hair looks perfection, if I may say so?”

“Ho ho, I haven’t had it done yet, young man!” she chuckled in delight, it had been many a year since she’d had a complement from the rougher sex!

“Ah, I will be interested to see how young Kenneth can surpass your natural beauty.” Sir Charles was incorrigable in his persuit of new prey.

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Old Mrs Sindy giggled and blushed.

“I haven’t seen you here before?”

“I’m new to town, recently moved on…I mean in,  not far from here but its only temporary until I can get settled properly.” Sir Charles looked wistfully off into middle distance, as if transpoted on a distant memory.

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Old Mrs Sindy studied this dapper military chap, his slightly dull brass buttons and battered cap, there were frays on his cuffs and his boots had seen better days; apart from that he was a fine looking man of indeterminate age.

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At that moment Ken bustled through with a final spray of lacquer on his latest hair masterpiece.

“And that my dear is how I create perfection….” He was in a very jolly mood today, although he generally was a happy fellow, there seemed to be a special skip and bounce in his step.

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“You, my dear are ready for the ball,” He exclaimed loudly,

“Are you entering the contest too, Ken?”

“I may be ” He tittered and winked and gave yet another final spray.

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“It’s all just too exciting!” Sindy entered to collect her friend for some more rehearsal practice.

Sir charles couldn’t help but ask what all the fuss was about and the girls were more than happy to tell him

“A Talent Contest at the Ritzy, there will be celebrity judges and maybe a TV show…” Mindy explained.

“Or record contract..” Sindy butted in, hardly containing her obvious enthusiasm.

“…and huge cash prizes.” Mindy finished.

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This was exactly what Sir Charles needed and his brain whirred into overdrive.

In the meantime he continued his persuit of the comely Old Mrs Sindy, even if he had to shout over the dryers.

By the end of his salon visit he had successfully arranged a date to take her out to the new Tiki themed cocktail bar next to the Wimpy on the High Street.

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As ususal it was adorned with the beautiful people being all elegant and fashionable, Ken  regularly popped in and out for a top up and to chat with his new friend the barman.

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“Oh isn’t it….colourful? I’ve always wanted to come in but not on my own.” Old Mrs Sindy was so glad Sir Charles had asked her.

“What cocktail would you like, my dear?”

“Oooh they all sound….so exotic, I really don’t know, I usually have a port and lemon but what do you recommend?”

“A Piña Colada…that springs to mind, dear lady….for some reason.”

“Oh go on then, you Devil!’ Old Mrs Sindy was ecstatically happy, for a change.

Jolly good.

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Meanwhile Burt was busy in the garden when Barry visited on his way to the match.

“Have you had one of these? Sindy is making me hand them out and I’ve only got three left.”

Burt read the flyer as Barry told him how impossible Sindy has been recently,

“She can’t speak of anything else but at least she’s let me go to the footie while she’s rehearsing.”

“Good for you Barry.”

“Well, are you entering then?”

“Hmmm.” Burt murmered thoughtfully.

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Later that afternoon, Burt’s mind wondered to his long distant dream of show business and the bright lights, he could almost hear the loud roar of applause and something deep inside him stirred into life.

YES he will be entering!

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So the night of the contest had arrived and there was a huge crowd queuing for tickets outside the Ritzy, all the way up the street and almost to the station. The contestants had been practising all afternoon, getting their props and stage routines perfected; everyone wanted to win, it was the biggest thing to happen in this sleepy town since the Tiki bar opened next to the Wimpy.

Darius, the enigmatic owner and proprietor of The Ritzy was to be compare for the night but the rumoured celebrity judges were still a mystery, you would not believe the wild guesses flying around, some were just plain obsurd!

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“Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, please take your seats Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames et Messieurs, Ladies and Gentlemen!’ It was all very cosmopolitan and the audience loved it.

“Without further ado, our first contestant for tonights extravaganza is …..(drum roll)…. The Magnificent Burtini.”

The crowed were so excited they clapped with all their might as the curtain opened to a darkened stage, the spotlights lit up and there, standing on his podium was a veritable beast of a man.

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Oh how the ladies swooned at the sight of his rippling muscles, the oiled thighs and sheer animal magnetism (I’m sure one even fainted!)

With loud grunts of pure energy Burt ( for it was none other than our old friend just using his stage name) managed to lift the enormously heavy barbell weights high into the air.

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Of course the whole auditorium cheered encouragingly at his amazing feats of strength, Burt was almost tossing it into the air with apparent ease, posing as each wave of applause reached a crescendo – what a man!

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At this point I shall break off and compose myself for the thrilling second half of this tall tale on a small scale.

You may wipe your brow too.

….to be continued shortly.

 

 

 

©Juliette Dodd 2020

The Hairdressers

Alphonso had been a ladies hairdresser for a long time now; his early career as a male model for the London Fashion Houses had come to an abrupt end when he hit the grand old age of 30.

He had won prestigious Hair awards, had film star clients and been featured in all the hair magazines in his heyday; now he was getting tired and suffered with varicose veins, he longed to retire to Morocco with his long time companion Raymond.

The busy High Street Salon was gradually less so, with a drop in regular weekly appointments hitting the profits and his retirement fund in a worrying way. Alphonso didn’t like to admit that his business was getting a bit dated – just like his signature hair style.

So dated, he totally missed the swinging sixties altogether!

He adored the glamour of the fifties and occasionally exulted himself with a full swirl for those extra special occasions, with lashings of hair lacquer.

Ladies would come in asking for the Pixie Cut, the asymmetrical Bob or a Jean Shrimpton – but they all left with a Doris Day and copious amounts of hairspray.

Eventually Alphonso had to bite the bullet and placed an advert in his window reading:

‘Apprentice Wanted – must be prompt, polite and willing to learn – Apply within’

This notice immediately caught the keen eye of an eager young man, he started work the following Monday.

His name was Ken.

Ken was a fast learner, the ladies loved his gentle ways and he idolised Alphonso, following his every word, like a father figure.

Things couldn’t have gone better and all was harmonious in the Salon.

It didn’t take long before Ken’s appointment book was getting so full they had to turn customers away, his regulars were spreading the word.

Ken was a natural, he snipped and shaped, couffered and curled; as well as being very handsome and charismatic, of course he was instantly popular.

Ken just loved hearing all about the ladies holidays in Morecambe, St. Ives and Clackmannonshire; he even learnt a few dark secrets and juicy stories; the goings on at No. 69 were regularly discussed, amid shocked gasps and stifled giggles.

Alphonso had heard them all before, he only dreamed of the azure sea and sun tanning.

“You are an artist, young Ken.” Alphonso took all the credit for his young protégé.

“Thanks Alf.” it slipped out without him thinking as he was thrown a dark disapproving scowl.

“Sorry, Alphonso.”

“I have a proposition for you but we’ll speak later.” as he was mid way through some highlights and needed exact timing.

Ken waited excitedly, he had a proposition too.

Old Mrs Sindy had always had ‘problem’ hair and today was no exception. Alphonso was a genius and could always tame her barnet, although nothing lasted long in the dank English weather and it eventually frizzed up again. She was his best customer.

Ken was a wizz with the curlers and almost legendary at creating magnificent permanent waves to rival even Alphonso’s mastery (and that was saying something!)

“Pass us that magazine, theres a love.” called Old Mrs Sindy.

“Oh thats not a magazine, its my new book.” Ken replied as he shoved a handful of Woman’s Weeklys onto her lap. He’d been studying the crisp pages for weeks now and itching to have a go himself .

The morning rush had died down at the Salon when Ken summoned up the courage to show Alphonso.

“Why don’t we cut mens hair as well as ladies, Alphonso?”

“Huh?”

“I’ve been reading this book and think it would bring in loads more customers, we could sell hair cream and beard oil as well as a whole range of shampoo …and offer male perms and sideburn trimming…” Ken was so excited he ranted on and on until at last he stopped as Alphonso let out a sad sigh.

“I’m too old for all that.” Alphonso had a far away expression on his perfectly moisturised face.

Ken was crestfallen and turned to retreat into the back room.

“Wait Ken, now hear my proposition,” as he held out the shop keys,

“You take them, I’m giving you my business, I haven’t got an heir but if I had one I’d like it to be you.”

“What do you say?”

Ken for once, was speechless.

“Oh yes, yes please, oh me, oh my, oh goodness…ooooh!”

“Lets shake on it then, I’ll have my solicitor write up the transfer, my Empire is now yours, to do with as you please.”

With a huge sigh of relief Alphonso had already planned his departure to sunny lands, of sipping sundowners on warm beaches; leaving behind the mounting bills and leaky roof, not to mention the lease was ending soon…but that won’t be his problem for long.

Two months later, a refit, a rename and a relaunch of the High Streets very first unisex hair salon.

It was so modern, so trendy and odds on to become a roaring success.

Ken was the happiest man alive.

©Juliette Dodd 2020