Words: crinal, adj.

BY THE desk is Eve Arnold's photograph of Marilyn Monroe. She is in a striped swimsuit on the bench of a climbing frame, knees supporting a hefty edition of Joyce's Ulysses. She is at the last pages, which makes one wonder whether she had read it all and what she could learn from Molly Bloom's soliloquy.

She would certainly puzzle over Anthony Burgess's tribute to her, at the end of One Man's Chorus (still not published in Britain). He discusses the history of the blonde and says that hers "remains a slangy face, essentially plebeian". As for Bette Davis, she "has no crinal memorability". Crinal is absent from the warring dictionaries: our wash-and-go era has no need of a word, from Latin, for concerning the hair. It could make a brand name.