28 Sept 2022

Arm jabs and cut throats!

Gerry Moran Kilkenny

Guess what I'm getting for my birthday? A jab! A Covid vaccine jab Picture: Nataliya Vaitkevich/Pexels

I’ve a big birthday coming up soon. A very big birthday. And guess what I’m getting for it? A jab! A Covid vaccine jab.
I hope. If I’m lucky. That’s if there’s any left! Would be just my luck to find myself at the end of the queue and just as I reach the surgery door, a very polite nurse smiles, and graciously says: ‘Sorry, Gerry, but you’ve just missed the last one. Maybe next month.’
And did I ever think I’d see the day when one of the most meaningful birthday presents I could ever receive would be – an injection!
Did I ever think I’d see the day when one of the things I hated most in life, namely an injection, would become a most welcome present! Strange times for sure. A once dreaded occurrence now a most welcome event.
And I hear of kids who once hated school, who had to be ‘dragged, kicking and screaming’ into the classroom but who now run in the door with a smile on their face and a spring in their step. Covid has turned the world on its head for sure.

Mentioning heads - one’s hair grows quicker in Lockdown. You know this of course. Why else are you crying out for a barber, a hairdresser, a hair stylist whatever?
What’s that, you say – you’re bald! Oh. Sorry for your troubles but have you taken a close look at your scalp during Lockdown? A really close look, a forensic look. I’ll wager five to one that there are possibly five new hairs sprouting from your scalp.
And if you can’t find them at the front - try the back of your pate, get your partner or whoever to check it out.
Only don’t tell them where you heard about it, okay? I have enough on my pate, sorry plate, without being branded a head-case.
Meanwhile getting back to my head, my head of uncut, unkempt, unruly hair, I popped into Sandra in Sweeney Todd Barbers in John Street not long after the last Lockdown was lifted and told Sandra: ‘take a good bit off’, a dangerous thing to say to a barber. Dangerous because you could come out of that premises partially bald and needing to wear a cap, or hat, for the next few months.
I needn’t have worried. Sandra did a great job, a job I thought would get me through another two lockdowns.
Silly me. My hair had other notions. It grew at the rate of knots, is still growing, and not a let up in Lockdown in sight.
And there’s a thought I had in Lockdown (I have many but not all are fit to print) I thought: of all the businesses around, barbers, or hairdressers, really lend themselves to creativity when it comes to names.
For example we have Cuts & Curls, The Cutting Room, A Cut Above The Rest, Uppercuts, Short Cut, Snips and then there’s my local, Sweeney Todd Barbers. An intriguing name that has featured in books, plays, musicals and movies!
Note the blade that forms the T in Todd on the name over the door. That blade is double edged. Literally. It can shave you but it can also slit your throat just as the fictional character Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, cut the throats of his customers in Victorian times.
Sweeney Todd first appeared in a Penny Dreadful serial in 1846-47. Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler made Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street into a Tony Award winning musical (based on a 1973 play of the same name) in 1979 and Johnny Depp starred as Sweeney Todd in the 2007 film. Indeed I saw an excellent production of it by the Kilkenny Musical Society in The Watergate a while back.
Oh, Sweeney Todd, I almost forgot to mention, disposed of the bodies by handing them over to his partner in crime, a Mrs Lovett, who cooked their flesh with which she made meat pies!
Charming. Now there’s something to mull over as you sit in the chair below in Sweeney Todd the Barbers as Sandra snips diligently (and very, very carefully I hasten to add) away.
Close shave!
“Mummy,” asked a little girl, “do men ever go to heaven?”
“Why, yes, of course, dear,” answered the mother. “Why do you ask?” “Because I have never seen angels with beards or moustaches.”
“Well,” replied the mother, after a moment’s thought, “some men do go to heaven, but they get there by a close shave.”

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