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Category: movember

£1000 worth of hair

I may have mentioned in passing (17 or 18 times) that this year I’ve been involved in the Movember charity cause…  So this year’s goal for me was to try to collect £1000 in donations, and to up the stakes a bit and encourage people into donating (because this is the 8th year in a row I’ve done Movember, so the whole moustache thing’s probably wearing a bit thin) I pledged that if I hit this 4-figure sum I would also get my head shaved.

Well, it worked!

On Tuesday night at Whisky Squad I was hovering around the £750 mark and the haircut was looking like a perilous reality, and when I awoke the next morning to see £841 staring at me on my MoSpace the realisation that baldness was now inevitable hit me.  Around Wednesday lunchtime the number ticked over into 4 figures, and so a quick visit to Murdock in Monmouth Street near the office and I’d scored an appointment with London barbering legend – Alex of Murdock Liberty!  No point in going to anyone but the best…

Accompanied by my colleague Jerome Jooste as photographer we high-tailed it down to Liberty’s and into the expert hands of Alex.  The last time I had any sort of drastic haircut was about 1998 when I went from having a mid-back-length Viking-style barnet into something a bit more sensible, and this moment held a similar sort of nervous frisson.  I mean sure, it’s only a haircut, but for a massively hirsute individual such as myself it’s a rare thing to see one’s own scalp.

Alex commenced with the clippering as Jerome buzzed about taking snaps, and Alex’s assistant offered me a drink – “what have you got?”, I enquired nervously (thinking that surely a place of the calibre of Liberty’s wouldn’t proffer me a cup of International Roast Caterer’s Blend with Coffee Mate).  “Juice? Coffee?  Whisky?”. “Whisky!”, I happily asserted, thinking with amusement that it was probably whisky that got me into this predicament.

That probably doesn’t quite sound right – I did Movember last year and was happy to collect a solid total of £644 for the charities that Movember supports: in this case, The Prostate Cancer Charity.  To provide a bit of “value” to the generous donors, my delightful but long-suffering girlfriend Liz helped my to dye my moustache blonde, to then try to dye it purple (Billy Connolly style).  Only we didn’t quite have our preparation down, and the results were somewhat less than spectacular.  Unless you’re a fan of chemical burns.  However because I was quite active with my canvassing (or, “harrassment”, as some might call it) I thought I might have a fallow moustache year in 2011.

I had obviously failed to communicate this to whisky-fuelled idea-smith Darren “The Whisky Guy” Rook, because during a recording of our whisky video podcast thing, Village of the Drammed, he announced to our viewership that he, Billy Abbott and I would all be participating in Movember again, and not wanting to be a wet blanket I figured I was now in.  I didn’t want to bother everyone for more money, but I figured if I could get 100 people to pitch in with a tenner then £1000 was theoretically possible, although statistically unlikely… so offering up a denuded dome to the cause seemed like a decent lark.

I mused upon this while sipping the Glenfiddich 12 year old that the barber had handed me, and thought to myself that had making the grand seemed possible I might have thrown the remains of my bottle of Movember whisky (cask strength 9 year old Glenfarclas – delicious!) into the bag to toast the moment with.

Alex buzzed away with the clippers, providing various progress mohawk variations for our amusement and I watched the folds of my cranium peep into view.  The risk here was that I’d never had this procedure done, and some people have heads not designed for display purposes.  My brother Tim had his head shaved after being the owner of a fine set of dreadlocks for some time, which he used to tie back to stop them flagellating his face every time he turned to answer a question.  The constant localised pressure on his scalp resulted in some very peculiar folding and once de-forested it resembled one of those foldy dogs (is it a sharpei?)… what if that wasn’t the dreadlocks?!  What if it was a genetic predisposition?  I didn’t remember feeling many scalp-folds on hair-washing outings (well, innings), but it’s one of those things you probably don’t pay close attention to.

The hair piled up on the floor and the sight that greeted me was vaguely reminiscent of my 14 year old self – back when competititve amateur swimming was one of the things that kept me busy and a low-hydro-drag haircut seemed important – only… errm… expanded & detailed. And with a dirty great mo on the front. Thankfully there were none of the weird ridges my brother had to contend with, and as Alex stowed his clippers and reached for the straight razor my gratitude at the lack of foldyness was doubled.

Beginning on a small patch at the top it was amazing to see how much difference there is between a Number 1 shave and a razor shave.

The concentration in the room intensified, as Alex set to on my melon with his straight razor, and my eyes followed Jerome around as he snapped away, getting ready to bark a “get out of the way!” should Alex want to move to where he was standing. Being the consummate professional though Jerome nimbly dodged out of the way as appropriate and the gradual follicular cropping continued apace.

In what seemed a fairly short time the operation was complete, and being the master razor-wielder that he is, Alex had only inflicted one tiny nick on the vast lunar expanse of my noggin. Amusingly, a fellow customer had arrived with a massive mop of hair, demanding an urgent wash & style for a film shoot – he’d brought his own conditioner too… not a consideration I’d be having to make for a good while now. Again, being the consummate professional that he is, Alex didn’t register even a modicum of malevolence although surely he must have been thinking of the joy in dispensing a head shaving to that little oik as well.

And with that, we were done! And what a weird feeling it is. To start with, because of the balms and whatnot that had been used in the process my skin felt incredibly fragile and cold, and to touch it had the texture of a Vietnamese cold roll. And speaking of cold – when people have helpfully suggested the need for a beanie, they’re not kidding! Not even in the comparative mildness of this year’s London winter. It’s remarkable how sensitive it all is, and I can actually feel the heat radiating out of the fluro-tubes in the office. I haven’t explored in any detail yet, but I believe you can now see the little scar on the back of my head from when I was bitten by a chihuahua at the ripe old age of 2. Errm, I mean, great white pointer shark. Not chihuahua.

So it only remains for me to once again thank everyone who’s offered donations and support for this lunacy. It’s still possible to make a donation if you’d like – I think the page remains open until some time in December. Thanks to everyone who’s donated whatever they could: I know there was a bit of jockeying to be the one who tipped me over the £1k mark, but when you think about it, EVERY donation pushed me over the £1k mark. It’s good to know I’m surrounded by caring people who both care deeply about prostate cancer research, AND who want to facilitate me making myself look a tit.

Big ups also to the rest of the Whisky4Movember team, in particular the instigator of it all – Darren Rook. Without his expert interference, there wouldn’t be an idiot walking around today looking like a former Victorian circus strongman who’d let himself go and gotten an office job. The team’s fundraising total so far stands at £2452, which smashes last year’s achievement for this excellent cause.

Also props to the team at Master of Malt for their support, and for joining our Whisky4Movember Network (along with the other whisky teams we’ve got on board) – bringing our entire group total to £9150 so far, which I think is a staggering effort.

Now, to see about getting this scalp-tattoo of a treasure map that I’ve always wanted…

The full gallery of shots from the afternoon can be found on Flickr for your viewing pleasure.

The mid-month mo update

It’s just past the middle of Movember, and you’ve had to endure my constant pleading for funds for a couple of weeks – so I thought I’d treat you all to a glimpse of how this year’s sub-nasal adornment is going…

After an initial gestatory Chopper phase, I brandished the precision tools this morning and the result is something which I’ve grown fond of addressing as “The Colonel”.

Thanks to your combined generosity so far we’ve managed to crack the £500 barrier, which is EXCELLENT!  As I mentioned previously if I can raise £1000 this year (and at the minute that means I only need another 49 people to donate a tenner each!), I’m going to shave my head.  I was a little surprised that some of the more vindictive of my friends hadn’t dropped large donations to ensure this happened quicker…  maybe they’re losing their touch?

The reason for these donations is to raise money and awareness for mens’ health charities – in this case, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute for Cancer Research – which I feel are very important and the work that they do is fantastic.  It’s not just about me collecting donations from you guys of course: we’ve got a Movember fundraising whisky tasting coming up next week which I’m happy to report is fully booked out, and as well on the whisky front Master of Malt are selling their special Whisky4Movember Glenfarclas bottling of 9yo cask strength whisky for £39.95, with £10 from each bottle going towards Movember.

I’ve assembled a bit of a photo collection below of other friends of mine who are doing Movember this year as well – I just worked out I’ve donated about £260 to other people partaking in this shennanigans, which explains why I can’t afford to eat this month.

If you’ve not made a donation yet, then there’s still 13 days to go – anything you can spare at all would be greatly appreciated!  You can donate at my MoSpace:


Thanks so much, and keep the MOmentum going!



Once fuzzy around the lip, but now mo longer.

Another year, another Movember.

And once again a HUMUNGOUS thankyou to all the generous support you’ve displayed this year – through your kind donations, my Movember fundraising total this year was….


Which is, needless to say, extremely impressive work.

The final moustache, you’ll be keen to know, looked like this:

Which isn’t how I intended it to look – upon crashing through the £500 mark it was my intention to up the game a little by dyeing my tache purple.  And why wouldn’t you, eh?  This would be a 2-stage process – first to bleach my mo (which while not jet black, is still quite dark), and then apply the colourful dye.  Liz advised that using standard hair dye was a bad idea, and so instead I bought cream bleach, designed for facial hair bleaching.  Applying it as directed for 10 minutes, it seemed to have no effect at all.  Later that night I reapplied it for a further 15 and found my mo going gingery.  3 further 15 minute applications the next day saw the shade lift to a fairly convincing golden colour:

Subsequent application of purple dye however appeared to take it mostly back to its original colour, save for a thin blonde line along the lip-line where it seems I didn’t apply the dye properly.

(The black box is there purely so you don't have to look up my nostrils.)

So after visiting 3 different shops to get the stuff in the first place, and about 3 hours of futzing about with bleach/dye, the net effect was that rather than an impressive purple mo, instead I had a largely normal-coloured mo, with blond highlights, and an upper-lippular area that felt like it had had harsh caustic chemicals repeatedly applied to it.

But, back to the celebrating of the achievements of others.

First and foremostly, it’d be remiss of me not to pay some sort of tribute to the highly applaudable efforts of my Mo Bros, iterated to the right: hats off to Chisel, Duracell Dave, Jon, Stewbacca, Ryan, Tommy S, Simon and Wes – both on raising stacks-o-money for the respective charities in those countries, and also for cultivating such distinguished and excellent face-furniture.

I’m a little unsure whether to also acknowledge the efforts of those who grew moustaches but didn’t post photos of them online anywhere I could find them.  Sure, it’s still a noble effort, but what’s the point if I can’t harvest these pictures for sharing, eh?

And as with the update earlier in the month – a huge “WELL DONE!” to my comrades in the Whisky4Movember team, assembled by Captain Darren Rook, for their(/our?) altogether impressive fundraising total of £1,749.00.  As of today that puts our team 692nd in the entire United Kingdom, which is probably quite admirable.

Darren gathered £120 for the mo, as well as raising money via the sales of the Whisky4Movember bottlings from Master of Malt, his work at the Whisky Relay, and generally being a year-round champion of facial hair.

Whisky Squad co-organiser Andy crossed the line with a highly respectable total of £265 for the quite impressive tache pictured above.

The Puzzler Dan Brown also collected a healthy total of £265 with his angular stylings.

And Mr Billy Abbott in no way underachieved, collecting a robust figure of £200 as well – noteworthy because at the beginning of Movember it was the first time he’d been clean-shaven in a decade.

So anyway, that’s another Movember over and done with – you’ll be excited to hear that because of hot water issues, now at Dec 2nd I’m still sporting my mo, and the semi-permanent purple dye is starting to wash out, leaving me with an inconsistent mottled partially ginger lip slug.  So should the goal all along have been to make me look ludicrous, then mission well and truly accomplished.

Otherwise thanks again, and finally here’s a little time-lapse video Billy set up using his progress shots.  Looks like a man growing facial hair.  THIS is what the internet is for, people.

Day 15: Still mo sign of land…

Whether or not you think Movember’s going well I suppose depends on what metric you’re applying to the thing.

In terms of moustache growing by yours truly, it’s putting along a bit slower than I’d like, to be honest.

The growing of facial hair used to be a specialist skill of mine, and many’s been the disappointed comment by friends and co-workers along the lines of, “2 weeks?  And is that… it?!”.  In years gone by I’d be sporting a Lord Kitchener-style handlebar by now, and bemoaning the fact that I’m already out of moustache wax.

On the other hand, the fundraising side of things is going very nicely!  The Whisky4Movember team passed the £1000 mark this morning – and there’s many excellent moustaches developing among them.  And in addition to the sterling work of Dan, Andy and Billy, I’ve collected some great progress shots from Simon, Duracel Dave, Chis, Jason, and Stewbacca – all arranged below for your viewing comfort.

It’s interesting to see this year that the straight top-lip pushbroom seems to be the style du jour: in 2008 it was all about the Chopper.

I’m extremely excited to announce that so far I’ve collected £341 for The Prostate Cancer Charity, however we’re only half of the way through the month, and I know that some people are keen to wait and see some facial hair-based statement of intent before committing their hard earned.  And quite rightly so!

So, if you’d like to take the opportunity now to help our efforts out with a donation, or if you’ve already donated and have decided that the best thing to do is to give twice, then please feel free to do so, here: http://movember.jasonbstanding.com

So far in the UK Movember has raised £3,348,400 for mens’ health, and far more than that in terms of awareness.  Whatever happens from here on, it’s still a win.

Oh, this nonsense again? How did you MO?!

The First Of November.  You all know what that means by now, I’m sure.

According to the Rules of Movember, any traces of facial hair (other than the eyebrows) were removed from my grinning visage on Hallowe’en, and today the moustache growing starts afresh.   And the question, as always, is… What Type Of Moustache Should I Aim For This Year?

Once again, I’m participating in the fundraiser known as Movember: the idea being that the participant grows a moustache over the course of the 30 days in order to raise awareness and funds for mens’ health issues.  I’m assuming that most of you probably know the story by now, as it’s something I’ve done on and off over the past few years.

It is a valuable cause though – this year funds go to The Prostate Cancer Charity.

If you’d like to make a small donation to encourage me along, then I welcome you to do so on my “Mo Space”: http://movember.jasonbstanding.com – of course, if you’d prefer to make an outlandish and massive donation, that’s perfectly acceptable as well.

My learned whisky-enthusiast colleague Billy is doing Movember for the first time, and in fact this is the first time in 10 years he says that he’s gone beardless, but more importantly he’s put a bit of effort into an explanatory blog post, and it’d be remiss of me and going against the fundamentals of why the web was created NOT to link to it.  So, here it is: Billy’s Movember Blog Post.

So, the present facial hair situation is:

Get those donations rolling in, and watch me for the changes…!

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