Random Thoughts From The Pit

Alopecia Rocks

Hairstyles 2.jpg

Here is something you know:

Different genres of music have different hairstyles associated with them...

  • Rock - Long Hair
  • Glam Rock - Perm
  • Ska - Shaved
  • Reggae – Dreadlocks

Here is something you may not know:

  • Alopecia sucks ass

I know that alopecia sucks ass as I have had the pleasure of its company for 25 years. As a, soon to be, 40 year old I have had alopecia areata since the hairdresser told me I had a small round bald patch at the back of my head. I was but a 15 year old teenager. Admittedly I was a 15 year horny teenager who masturbated far too much. I was also extremely gullible and half believed the old saying that if you overdid the personal pleasuring you would grow hair on your hands and could go blind. As it happens I did have to get glasses a few years later although I’m pretty sure that had nothing to do with my personal activities. Unbelievably my record was six in one day. Six! I really couldn’t do that these days and to be honest I would rather have a sit down with a nice cup of coffee instead. As for the hair well instead of growing hair on my hands I started to lose it everywhere else.

When the hairdresser told me about the patch I really didn’t think much of it; that changed over the following years though as at one point or another I have had patches on my arms, legs, chest, beard area, head and most recently eyelashes and eyebrows. Trust me when I say it really does suck ass. Has it affected me much? Almost certainly yes as it can seriously dent the confidence when people look at you and their eyes flick up to your eyebrows that are half there. In fact at one point I had exactly half of one eyebrow missing….not a good look when the hair that you do have is very dark (imagine Noel Gallagher with half a right eyebrow). I try to ignore, as much as I can, the look on people’s faces but sometimes it’s hard. The worst occasion was when queuing up at an in-store album signing session for one of my favourite artists. When it was my turn the lovely singer looked up ready to sign my album but the horrified look on her face told me she thought I was a freak. Either that or she had finally recognised me as her stalker.

So what does this have to do with music you may say? Well having gone to many gigs over the years you can’t help but notice the various types of people that go to different types of gigs. For example here is what I have seen at gigs by the following artists (warning there may be clichés below):

  • Manic Street Preachers: 99% were straight, thirty something men, with mod haircuts
  • Paul Weller: As above except they were fifty something men
  • Marina and the Diamonds: 90% were heavily made up young women wearing stilettoes
  • Sisters Of Mercy: 80% were shoe gazing middle aged blokes, with long fringes all wearing black
  • Iron Maiden: 100% were denim clad rockers with beer guts and hair styles containing both long hair and baldness and often mullets of one type or another (and that was just the women)
  • INXS: 50% were women / 50% were men, half of whom had Michael Hutchence's floppy haircut
  • Rolling Stones: 50% were wine drinking corporate bankers with receding hairlines. 50% were their wifes

As for me, well I have been to many different types of gigs and I would like to say I have gone through many style changes. Alas, because of the alopecia, I haven’t been able to, however I have tried different looks with the clothes. Admittedly the style changes haven’t amounted to much. Indeed in the main the changes have mainly being me wearing varying types of Doc Martins, jeans, denim jackets (which my now wife bans me from ever buying again) and band t-shirts. One thing I have never been able to do though is change the hair style. I so badly wanted a rock and roll haircut. When I was really young I managed a bowl, almost Beatle-esque, haircut…but in hindsight that was because my mother cut my hair with a bowl and so wasn’t very rock n roll. When I discovered rock music, in particular Appetite for Destruction, I desperatley wanted to grow my hair long. Unfortunately it was around that time that the Alopecia kicked in with a vengeance.

The longest I managed to get the hair was at 19 but it had got to that length were it just looked untidy. If I had pushed on at that stage I may have got to the point where the long hair covered up any bald patches, however I chickened out and cut it to a ‘normal’ length. It wasn’t until seeing Oasis in 1995 at the age of 21 that the hair loss got so bad that I was beginning to look like a Friar Tuck type character. I was oblivious at the time but my friend Mike, who was with me at the Maine Road gig, told me after that people behind me were taking the piss. That was enough for me. The hair was coming off.

Mike brought his hair clippers round a few days later and shaved all my hair off. He started off with a smart number 4 blade, then number 3, then 2, then 1…then 0. Unfortunately even at 0 my hair was so dark that you could quite clearly see the patches. It was he who suggested the razor blade. Not to cut my wrists you understand but instead to shave the last remnants of hair off my head. In truth even at that stage my head looked like a world map. That was 1995 and since then, except for the odd year when all the hair came back, I have shaved the head every day. As a result there have been no attempts at long hair, dodgy perms, or punk like spikes. In another life I would have been like Bowie and had a different look every week. Instead I get to look like a cross between Woody Harrelson and Matt Lucas.

The thing is if it wasn’t for having alopecia I would never have shaved my head. If I had never shaved my head I would never have moved from the metropolis that is Hull to Ireland (long story). If I had never moved to Ireland I would never have met my wife…so actually, you know what, forget what I said, alopecia doesn’t suck…it rocks.


by Dado Rock
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