• I saw a hare… where?

    A hare standing in a grass field
    The photo I didn’t get (Photo by Vincent van Zalinge)

    “Here hare here”

    So says the note found by Uncle Monty on the door of his Cumbrian cottage in the classic 1980s film Withnail & I. But the hare – that larger cousin of the common rabbit that few of us are very sure about – is not something you see here, there or anywhere. 

    Until today. 

    Today I walked within a couple of metres of a real live hare, startled it, and then watched it lollop across the field to the far hedge for a few minutes. I couldn’t believe how big it was. I knew they were bigger than rabbits, but I didn’t know they were that big. 

    Strange thing is, I grew up in rural Herefordshire. I’ve recently spent another few years in a Herefordshire wood, and yet my first sighting of a hare was on a scrubby field next to the fast encroaching urban sprawl of southern Malmö – Sweden’s third largest city. 

    Sweden has wildlife

    I know this. The elk, the bears, the reindeer. This is a country with proper outdoors. By regional standards, it’s populous – but it still has a population the size of London in a country the size of Spain. 

    But Hyllie – a suburb that has sprung up next to The Bridge to Copenhagen – doesn’t scream wildlife hotspot. In mid-November, it looks like some bleak noir version of Dubai. Cranes, bricks, dust, mud, piercing security lights, diggers, noise, tower blocks, etc. 

    My apartment is in the midst of all this. Funny thing is, there are rabbits living in the building site outside my bedroom window. They scurry all over the building sites. And now their larger cousin, the hare, keeping to itself a field or two away. 

    Nature surprises you where you least expect it. 

    Since we’re getting back to nature, Ever Wanted To Be A Bear?

  • Long hair spells danger

    Why do we cut boys’ hair? Because girls have long hair and boys have short hair, that’s why. But why do we do it? That human hair grows is natural. It just happens. So why the scissors? Is baldness to blame? 

    As Canned Heat observed in 1968:

    The police in Denver, they don’t want none of them long hairs hangin’ around

    Some things don’t change much 

    I had a haircut today. You may have noticed I often like to wear my hair long. It goes right back to my teens, when I realised that the act of not cutting, but growing male hair was one of the most rebellious inactions available. 

    Grow your hair

    It was free. It was easy (it just happened). It was passive, which was useful if you were a pretty shy, retiring kind of kid. It was a way of yelling loudly at authority without actually yelling loudly at authority. 

    Now, I just like the look. My son is a mini me, so is often mistaken for a girl (My stubble gives me away). But it regularly reminds me how we culturally link hair length to gender by pruning our children accordingly. 


    It wasn’t always so. Look at Samson and his strength. Jesus Christ and all his disciples, wafting their locks. 17th century gentlemen and Indian braves. But somehow, ever since we began delousing soldiers with short back’n’sides, that’s been it for men. 

    Rather like the Western suit and tie, it’s gone global. When I do return to hairdressers, it’s with a hint of trepidation. I await the: I only do one kind of men’s cut, and that’s all coming off, son! 

    But of course, that’s only in my head. Right? Here’s to hirsute variety. After all, remember kids: 

    All hairdressers are in the employment of the government. Hairs are your aerials. They pick up signals from the cosmos and transmit them directly into your brain. This is the reason bald-headed men are uptight.

    Danny in Withnail & I

    While we’re on the subject of what boys should like, Boys Don’t Like Flowers