Friday, January 26, 2007

On beards

If you are a regular user of Facebook, you know that I am currently growing a beard. You also know that Carley, my girlfriend, disapproves of this, and has started a campaign, titled: "When bad beards happen to good boyfriends." If you are a personal friend of Carley and I, you will know that this is not the first time we have come head-to-head on the subject of facial hair.

I love beards. I have been fascinated by them since I was a child, when some my favourite activities included using my mother's mascara to experiment with goatees, soul patches, and scruff; applying the same mascara to my sisters to play games such as "The Who" and "The Beatles,"; and drawing pencil pictures of male faces, representative of my imaginary band, Sunny Rain (later Tidal Wave), and adding and subtracting hair to represent different phases of our career. I once drew a picture of Tidal Wave performing live with a three-piece horn section and percussionist, which became the cover photo of our highly regarded live album, Tidal Wave in Concert. Every band member sported some kind of facial hair. Song titles, writing and musician credits appeared on the back of the cover.

My love of beards is obviously connected to my love of rock and roll, and in particular, my fascination with The Beatles. As Andre Mayer points out in this clever article for CBC Arts Online, facial hair has come to represent artistic credibility in rock music, a trend that likely began when The Beatles appeared on the cover Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, their most conceptualized artistic statement, wearing funny little moustaches. And that was only the beginning: "The more deeply entrenched the Beatles became in the studio, the longer their beards got," Mayer writes. "Looking at the Beatles’ catalogue, we automatically slot their output into one of two eras: the clean-shaven period of lighthearted jangle-pop and the disheveled period that produced dark masterpieces like Abbey Road and The White Album."

My personal story of beard growth is a tale of struggle. I have yet to reach a point where my moustache connects with my beard, a common problem for men my age. This is particularly problematic for me, due to my Mediterranean features - I look like a Latino gangster. And yet, I will press on, hoping to one day look like Paul McCartney during the Let It Be era. A man can dream, can't he?


Blogger snoop said...

loved this post. hate the beard

10:58 AM  
Blogger M-C said...

I envy you your beard.

11:33 AM  

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