As a dedicated follower of fashion, to coin a phrase, actually more of an observer of people and events, it is difficult to miss the growing trend amongst menfolk in the City and around the County and beyond toward full beards and moustaches. Not too long ago the beard seemed to be the province of some who simply couldn’t find a razor. There are notable exceptions abound with many men folk wearing fine beards throughout their lives, my sincere respects to them all. Tonsorially challenged youngsters have always been around, as have proud wearers of fine facial hair. Queens Regulations for those in the military services allows for ‘tidy beards and facial hair by consent of the CO’, ragged displays of hair that was out of control was a definite no-no, except in extreme circumstances.
Presently we have a wealth of fine beards worn by celebrities, one wonders how many beards have been grown due the striking example shown by David Beckham, and HRH Prince Harry the soldiers Prince, both of whom regularly wear a fine bushy growth. Our own inestimable Professor David Bellamy would be unrecognisable without his beard, perish the thought. Film stars such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt and musician Gary Barlow often sport very tasteful facial hair. On the sports field cricketer Moeen Ali, footballer Joe Ledley of Crystal Palace and Wales, and our own Durham CC first team has no fewer than thirteen players who sport beards not least those of Durham and England legends Paul Collingwood, Graham Onions.
This growing trend could just be a fashion that, like long hair, will pass from favour in the fullness of time. One does worry a little about the ability to identify people who have grown beards and they have been grown in the past for just that reason. Having had the task of checking identification of people using passports as proof of ID, one has been known to look at the picture of a fresh faced young man who sits before you now sporting full facial hair, it takes a great deal of perseverance to be certain that they are one and the same.
At least when the North Easterlies attack Durham during the forthcoming winter those wearers of beards will have an extra layer of insulation to protect them, but one is not too sure about the prospect of a beard frozen with snow and ice…, heaven preserve us.
Santa seems to cope, so chuck out the razor chaps!