Introduction

 

‘Hair’: this might seem a bit trivial for someone who frequently dreams - from an armchair - of the collapse of capitalism. But I got into that mode of thinking  through the notion that the revolution might take off from the ‘everyday’. And while that school of thinking - let us say those to the left of the anarcoms -  didn’t see hair and its care as part of the quotidian, we might see that as  a lacuna on their part.

Certainly hair has some connection with beauty, and beauty has long appealed to me as some kind of lever - or spring - whose release might bring about a revolution ; one that is more than a change of leadership.

’Beauty’, said Stendhal, is ‘but the promise of happiness’. Adorno rewrote that as ‘art is the promise of happiness’ ( though with the rider that it is draped in black (as it still is)). And beauty certainly belongs to the quotidian. If the quotidian is the source of some critical / inspirational moment , then surely a good hair day has some significance. Think of capitalism as a permanent bad hair day. (As well as a system of insidious permanent repression, and the most vicious economic instrument). A good hair day is a source of happiness, those days need multiplying. After all, the hair industry is as big as the arms industry; the latter must be the first to be abolished. And after that we can properly communize the hair salons, link them to the gastronomic places forecast by Fourier, etc. etc..And live ....... .... .....


We leave speculation for something else:


Beyond the control and reinvention of our own image, hair also carries  a whiff of myth and spiritual energy, of life and loss. A mark of faith in many religions - think Rasta locks, monks’ tonsures, the ringlets of Hassidic Jews, a Sikh’s turban, hidden female hair in Islam and Orthodox Judaism...


From a defence against the  sun and cold, hair has evolved into an outward sign of beauty, youth, health, power, maturity - and more. From pre-civilisation nomadic tribes to contemporary conventions, this strange , keratinous substance - part of us yet already dead, fashioned from the same materials as a bird’s talons and likely to grow beyond our death - became a symbol of seduction, a sign of status, belonging and even mythical power.

Klanten


As to the nature of this blog, I found - unreasonably I think - that the literature of what we might  call the cultural aspect of hair is a bit thin.

I feel I should acknowledge two books: Wendy Cooper - ‘Hair: sex, society, symbolism’, and Galia Ofek: ‘Representations of hair in Victorian literature and culture’. I used them a lot.

I also found it tested my librarian skills - just where do the classification

boundaries fall. Many objects could be shelved at sundry points...Problems, problems, problems.

I feel too that  there should be more contemporary art, but that is a lacuna on my part.

It won’t contribute to the collapse of capitalism, but there is some interesting art here, some of it beautiful, and in these black, black days I keep maintaining  that this  has some value.

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