I first wrote about Beards in 1999 for ‘7 mag’ . There was something of a beard epidemic in DJs at that time that really needed addressing, although they were more of the horrible pimpiedouchie jazz pencil jobs back then. You know, a sort of Sanchez Van Helmet concoction of self adoration.  I’ve recently seen two smart and influential barefaced bastards give it the large one lately in print trying to be the first to pipe up strong and start a full beard backlash, so here’s my riposte. At this point I’d like to insert the caveat that I’m not the Lord’s authority on earth for beards, nor is mine so massive I am king of all tache. But like most things of someone my age I’ve been doing it ages. There is a modicum of something in that. 

It’s not about Beards it’s about Hipsters really. It is though. One arm tattooed, ‘fixie’ bike , vinyl-only, Grandad-shirty, real ale, jegging bothering, quiffed-up shithouses the lot of them. I’m with you. If we can shoot them all, the beards too, I am totally with you. If I get accidentally slaughtered in the pogrom tell my Mum it was for the cause.  

It’s not that simple though is it? Because the hipsters have made it ‘ok’ there are a lot of peripheral beards popping up. In the permissive atmosphere where fashion mags have said it’s alright, something as simple as NOT SHAVING (lets be frank about it) has enabled a lot of closet beards to come out loud, proud and hairy as arses. I’m saying it’s all about environment. I earned mine from decades of having one when you could get beaten up for it. All this palaver is to me a very VERY recent thing so you can imagine how us lifers feel about all the fuzzy-come-latelys on the block? We hate them more than you do sometimes. It’s not so much the beards as what’s attached to them isn’t it?

?Only a few years ago (and to my mind for all my life) the prevailing attitude and especially from women has been firmly against. I’m not making this up and I’ve wracked my brains trying to find it online but there was an anti-beard advert not so long ago. The gist of it being that the smooth lad was dead sexy and the beardo was on day release. It wasn’t even an ad for razors.  Women used to genuinely say to what they could see of my face things like ; “You’d be alright if you got rid of that” or even “Why have you got a beard?” or sometimes just “Urg” . Can you imagine if the first thing you said to a woman was Urg? It’s beyond out of order to be so critical of someone (often immediately) but it used to be absolutely fine to say I were a minger, and by George they would. And no, it wasn’t just me thanks even if I do look like a cross between Peter Sutcliffe and a haunted Badger. I got my revenge often when they’d say “I like your moustache though” and I’d reply “Yours is alright too”.

But now? NOW it’s not just ok to be hairy, it’s SEXY. I know. Give over! Seriously, women (well, two) have tried to chat me up on Facebook. No really. And it’s nothing to do with me. I’m objectified. They like the beard. For fucking real. Question; where were these beard-loving birds 10 years ago when I was a one-man sterile environment? Mmm? Really. 5 years ago even?? I know what it is to be a woman now I truly do. Hello my eyes are up here.  I’M A PERSON YOU KNOW!

Beard fuckers. Yeah I know! believe it or not they exist. I’m not a pug! I’m a human being not an accessory. A revolting arsey elderly one at that. Fashion is mental isn’t it? Slap it in a mag, stick it on a warbler, lob it at a DJ, ponce it up and down Dalston and suddenly all accepted sense is thrown out and reversed. “Ooh I didn’t like beards, I made our George shave his off when we went to Alicante but I quite fancy that Russell Brand now he’s not a crackhead so I told George I said ‘you grow one quicksicks our George or I’m off after that Brian Blessed’ and he knows I’m not joking he’d best get on with it. Sir Edmund Hilary? Never heard of him.”

Interlude; Yes people such as the decorative competitive tache & beard sorts should be punished harshly. They are just showing off. Plus, Germany always wins.

It is about ‘manliness’ though right? The ones who are the most vocal against are the ones who can’t grow a good one. I will bet money. Show me a hater and I will show you a sourpuss patchy baby-faced groaner who looks like he could only get anything on his face from his job up a chimney. It’s silly though. Feeling threatened by a beard is as mad as fancying someone more because they have one. And I’m looking at the scene Gay lads as well as the ladies here. We’re not all of us trying to make any sort of statement. Sometimes a beard is just a beard and a pipe is just a pipe ici. Lets be clear too. Some men want one bad and always have. The hipster permissiveness that prevails has basically made it ok for ordinary men to stop scraping, it’s like a collective sigh has washed over the land and thousands of bellies that were sucked in have plopped out… but on your face?? Soz.

The real crime is the sheer seriousness of some fluff-wielders. At the other end of the criminal scale is wackiness. Somewhere in the middle is someone who maybe just doesn’t care much for scraping and anointing their face daily. Maybe someone who isn’t all that fussed at looking at themselves, maybe… maybe over time you could grow to love me? But yeah! the sheer earnestness of some of the young groovies with beards is eye watering. That I get. There’s a degree of asceticism in beards too that they lack. A sort of personal austerity. I guess whether that annoys you too depends on how easily annoyed you are.

I think the crux of this is that like all fashion; it just doesn’t matter and do me a favour, next time you are out, play spot the beard. You tend to notice them so count them. Then work out roughly how many men you saw in total. If the beard figure is higher than 10% you can whine all you want ‘cos statistically it’s a genuine epidemic (it doesn’t count if you are in East London, that’d be like counting Oompa Loompas in Wonkaland). There are less about than you think you know. No one spots another beardy faster than another one, so trust me. There are just more about than usual that’s all, it’s hardly Day of the Triffids. I don’t know any other beards socially and frankly I’d feel a bit a twat if I was part of beard corner in the pub. Anyway this generation of beards are scared of me. They can see with a glance I’m dressed all wrong and may possibly have owned a motorbike or two and pushed around a few amps and speakers. But be aware, just because a few twits have taken it up bear in mind that when you take the piss or sneer you are lumping us in with a bunch we aren’t all that fond of either.


I think the true test is how willing are you to shave it off? I do all the time. It’s great.  No one recognises me at all , even close friends and family take a few seconds to come around and some even need prompting. I once did it in a nightclub just to prove to some people accusing me of loving it and preening that it wasn’t so. I went to the St. John’s ambulance outside, borrowed some scissors and did a fairly good job. Went back in to prove a point. Realised they didn’t recognise me before I said anything so took the opportunity to fuck off to some nicer people. A real grower knows it’s only a few months before it’s back. Maybe it’s just me but to me a beard is a thing of abandon. It’s a load of kids laughing and screaming and running joyously down your face. Sort of.  The beard with an accompanying fancy haircut or the waxed, clipped and primped are way too uptight for me. Why not go the whole hog and shave again every day if you are that bothered? Just LET IT GO MAN.

Cos you know it’s just a beard and please… tread softly, for you tread on my face, so wipe your feet on the way in. Not on my chin! Thanks. 

Tim Sheridan

Revolver Beard Art pastiche by Jimmy Turrell