The fearless Alexi Duggins is at your mercy. So this week he offered up his bonce in the name of art…
The concept: ‘Total Eclipse of the Head is a performance for one in a caravan, in which we cut or style your hair, inspired by music.’
There are so many bad things a hairdresser can say. ‘Oops!’ for one. ‘Now, how do I start this chainsaw?’ Or, ‘Look! A mouse nest!’
And the words uttered by my twowoman team of tonsorialists (or is that tonsurrealists?) as they prepare to hack my mop are right up there. ‘We’re not hairdressers,’ they say. ‘We’re artists.’ And that isn’t meant in an ‘I didn’t spend five years at hairdressing academy to be referred to as a barber!’ sense. These ladies’ day jobs involve creating multimedia art installations. They’ve had literally no training in cutting hair.
‘Do you trust us?’ asks Nicki.
‘Here,’ she says, ‘look at this.’ They pull out a series of musical playlists with accompanying haircuts to pick from. Among them is an ’80s selection surrounded by photos of puffy, foliage-strewn styles that look like someone planted a rhododendron on Justin Lee Collins. I opt for a ’90s-themed, Fresh Prince/MC Hammer list called ‘Fresh Tops’, and decide that a badass number with shaven stripes is the ‘do for me.
Or maybe not. ‘Here’s a previous one we did,’ says Ella,waving a photo of what looks like a bad case of mange in a grid pattern on someone’s scalp.
Wait! I’ve changed my mind!
‘What if we just shave the sides?’
‘Look, it’s not going to be a horrible surprise. We want you to look good!’
‘So now do you trust us?’
Ah, I… I guess so.
‘Great. Sign this legal waiver.’
Christ, what have I agreed to?
I’m given earphones, the playlist comes on, and for 20 minutes I have no idea what’s happening. When I emerge, I look like one of Jedward after a mishap with a glitter cannon. Children gawp. It takes two days of showers to get rid of all the sparkly stuff. But once I wash out the gel, it’s actually a pretty good cut. See? Like I said, I trusted them right from the start. Sort of.
Visit the ‘Total Eclipse of the Head’ art haircut caravan at Watch This Space, Southbank, SE1 9PX. Sat Aug 31, 1-7pm. Free.