I used to have a mohawk, for about four years. People love mohawks, especially drunk people who want to touch it. Some of them even had the manners to ask first before doing so.
I liked the look when it was properly spiked, but it was a pain in the arse to style and so I mostly kept it pretty flat and just tied it up at the back when it was long enough. This look was half loved and half hated by my friends, but it was surprisingly low-maintenance. There were never any trips to the barber, and the only tricky bit involved learning how to shave the back of my head using a razor and two mirrors. Once you work out which direction to go in even that is fairly straightforward.
It was a major talking point in Glasgow on any night out, and many a ned told me they wished they could get a haircut like it. I never fathomed that, because it wasn’t exactly difficult – you just shave as normal, but go higher up at the sides. I’ve been asked a lot in the six months since getting rid of it if I will “grow it back.” That’s a phrase that puzzles me, because you don’t grow a mohawk back so much as cut it in…
I spiked my hair for work once, and I was going there on the tube. It was a Saturday afternoon, and the tube is a bad place for mohawks. At 6-foot-2, I can barely stand upright in the low-ceilinged carriages as it is, and my hair variously added anything up to eight inches to my height. At the back, it stood out so far from my head that I had to lean forward in the seat, because the curved wall of the carriage prevented me from sitting properly. I used to get some good banter from passers-by though, my favourite being the guy who turned a corner in Govan, saw me, and shouted “Awfurfucksake, big yin, height restriction!”
On the tube this particular day, there was a father and his young daughter – she was four, if that. That’s another thing, by the way, mohawks amuse small children. You can often hear them asking their parents, as you pass, if they can get their hair like that. Anyway, this wee girl saw me and turned to burrow into her dad’s arms. He was down the carriage from me, but I could hear him telling her “Look at that man’s hair. That’s what they call a mohawk. It’s different, isn’t it? It’s okay to be different.”
It’s okay to be different.
More people should tell their children that. We don’t need to conform, so long as we’re living decent enough lives in accordance with the socially-accepted codes of morality. You don’t have to succumb to peer pressure, and for all the flak you’ll take you’ll get at least as much respect for just doing your own thing and for being comfortable with who you are.
I made a short film recently, it went online yesterday (about ten hours ago). It is about a fictional stand-up comedian, and the script includes many of the cliches that I see all the time and which really grate on me. I wanted to highlight the fact that these jokes have been done, these targets are used by too many professionals and we certainly don’t need the entire new wave of open spots (read: beginners and intermediates) all latching onto the same ones. I wanted to end the film with some kind of message, to try and spur creativity, to illustrate that it’s fine to be influenced by your heroes but that doesn’t mean you have to copy them. I’m not saying I manage, but I try to steer away from the jokes and subjects I perceive to be hack.
The obvious choice, for this final statement, was the line that has stuck with me for all these years: it’s okay to be different.
My short film can be viewed here. If you like it, please share it.