A Knight Knows The Weekly: Maintaining Britain's Standards


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Egotistical axe maniac!

Millington's Face
Millington's Face
I was growing it for Margret. It was her Christmas present. She's always had this thing about wanting me to have a beard; many of her German friends have beards, even the men, and I think there's probably some deep-seated cultural need for German women to pair with the bearded. It makes you look like the outdoor type, a mountaineer or something. Even though everyone you know who has a beard actually collects Star Trek miniatures and knows an awful lot about Visual Basic you can't help getting that Chris Bonnington vibe if you accidentally happen across a bearded fellow in a brasserie. Anyway, as we were spending Christmas in Germany, I decided to leave my shaver behind and give Margret her dearest wish. In the hope that it'd shut her up for three weeks.

I don't know what I was expecting. I suspect I had a kind of nebulous idea that I would go from battered Eighties casualty to turn-of-the-century cricketer in something like a day and a half. At the very least, I expected to look - in a very short time - as though my face had been designed using iron filings and a magnetic pen, or that I could flip my head the other way around to become a different, scowling, person. That, my friends, is not how beards work. Okay, so my worst, unspoken, tangled-among-the-sheets-in-the-sweaty-night fear wasn't made hirsute: I didn't grow a beard bearing little logical relation to the colour of the (unbleached portion of the) hair on my head. One sees these men, these damned souls, doesn't one? They've perhaps raised a family, held down a job for many years, had a pithy letter about street lighting published in the local paper - then they decide to grow a beard. Dark brown hair, ginger beard; nature venting its anger at the poisoning of the seas. Accursed creatures neither of one world nor the other.

" Irks the Ron Silver "
I was spared that. But I was not rendered philosophical overnight. First I had a very long "three-day beard" period. I'd hoped that during this phase I might be mistaken for a young Clint Eastwood on a couple of occasions. As it happened, I bore a depressing resemblance to the pre-outed George Michael. This state of a face (clever wording, I acknowledge) went on for the longest time. One day without a razor and it's obvious to everyone that you're making some kind of whiskery stand, but before you meet up with a beard you have to travel for ages down the road of Unshaven. It's like you're being given every possible chance to back out before it's too late. I, however, stuck with it and finally noticed I'd gone all Ron Silver. Perhaps my childhood wish to become the corrupt and murderous junior Senator for Wisconsin was not just a pipe dream after all? This was actually quite a pleasing period and I would have greatly liked to have had more opportunities to sit in restaurants looking sinister, but it was not without its irks.

The Ron Silver is, as you know, the first point at which facial hair can legitimately be called a beard. And having a proper beard for the first time is an odd thing for a chap who's never drunk real ale in his life. After taking a shower, I found I actually needed to dry my face. With a hairdryer. Okay, only briefly, but it came as a shock nonetheless. I need to blow-dry my face. Extraordinary. I was in Germany, remember, and so there was no soap, only shower gel. There is, as you all know, only one way to have a wash with shower gel without it just slipping uselessly off you and away down the plughole: that is to place it in your pubic hair, and from there furiously work up a lather which you can use to wash yourself with from the genitals outwards. Only now I had a beard. I could actually wash my face using shower gel without having to draw foam up from my crotch! It was like encountering an alien civilisation. Of course, the first time I entirely misjudged it. Far too much gel went on, and I ended up nearly suffocating under a rapidly overwhelming, spewing surge of facial lather. As I spluttered for air, my panicking mind drew the scene of the police kneeling over my asphyxiated body in a German bathroom. "When will these fools ever learn, Dieter?" says unconventional Stuttgart Detective Olli von Marienhof, rolling the match he's chewing from one side of his mouth to the other. "If only he'd concentrated on his genitals." How ear-splittingly ironic an epitaph would that be for me?

" His genitals how ear "
Then, at last, it came. I stepped out of the shower on a morning otherwise like any other. I wrapped a towel around my head and wiped the steam from the mirror. And there - Arrrrgh! - staring at me was an Islamic militant. Doubly shocking for me because, as you're probably aware, the terms of my bail specifically forbid my being in the shower with an Islamic militant. And so, this is what I have come to. Fortunately, I only have to wear the beard for two more days, then I'll be back in England (that's if I make it past French customs without being beaten to death for looking suspiciously Algerian). I can't wet shave the thing off, as I can't wet shave. There's something about my face that won't allow a wet shave without my subsequently needing a transfusion and spending the next two days looking like something out of The Evil Dead. I'll have to use my electric razor, even though I know that it really, really hurts if you haven't shaved for even just a day. There's a special setting on it (from memory, I think it's labelled "tear out") and I'll simply have to use that while biting on a stick. It's, like, Extreme Grooming, man. Damn me and my crazy lust for adventure.
Also comprising this cohesive body of work:
Millington's Face | God Rest Ye, Merry Millington | Splendour Of The Deep | Road Movee in a Coach Stylee | I Am Going To Die

Christ! What was that? It was Millington's Book.


Kick the Rescuer


Dead Man's Float
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