End of Movember - 'taches to ashes

Movember is over, and women the world over are breathing a sigh of relief. Liam O'Brien salutes the charity phenomenon on everybody's lips

It was once the preserve of bohemian intellectuals, Village People impersonators, knowing East London hipsters and the just plain idle, but last month saw the moustache explode across the top lips of 250,00 Britons raising money for men's cancer charities.

Movember, as it's known, encourages men – or "Mo Bros" – to abandon their razors for the 30 days of November and to document their facial growths on social networking sites. Perhaps to the chagrin of bosses across the country, the movement really took off this year. The UK's Mo Bros have already raised £14.7m as part of a £63m global total, easily surpassing last year's impressive take.

In a sign of the movement's ubiquity, David Cameron thanked Welsh MP Nick Smith for his splendid moustache during Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions.

"For those who are capable of doing so, it is a very good way of raising the profile of prostate cancer," he added. He also complimented Lib Dem Roger Williams on the "magnificent specimen lurking under his nose". Movember organiser Ric Boullemier said: "It's been in the UK now for five years, and this year it has 'popped'. Men's charities do tend to get overlooked; women have their pink ribbon, so we're trying to make the moustache the male counterpart. It's probably the laziest charity in the world."

But yesterday the fun came to an end and grateful wives and partners across the country rejoiced as men slapped on the shaving foam and scraped the fuzz from their faces.

Movember began in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003, but was thrust into public consciousness last year when the Australian cricket team – and England's own Kevin Pietersen – sported moustaches during the 2010 Ashes series. Since then, celebrities have been eager to get on board. World 5000m gold medallist Mo Farah grew a beauty this year, quipping: "Don't forget, every time you shave, a moustache dies."

Stephen Fry, Daniel Craig and Ricky Gervais have all taken pictures of their efforts to the approval of fans worldwide, but some debutants found their 'taches sourly mocked. Alas, 17-year-old Justin Bieber's fruitless growth was hardly a rival for the Groucho Marxes of this world. "In some ways it's those guys who we should thank, the ones who put in the most effort but take the most flak," said Mr Boullemier. "He's one for our Lame-Mo category for people who can't grow their moustache in 30 days."

But the campaigner said there was a moustache to suit every man. "I've gone for a Rufus Hound one, a bit of a trucker," he adds. "People doing it for the first time tend to go all-out with handlebars. Gary Lineker's was particularly good this year."

But dissent rumbled against Movember's relentless drive to colonise the upper lips of men across the world. "The golden truth at the heart of Movember," wrote Canadian journalist Scott Gilmore last month, "and other campaigns like it, is that it is more important to be seen doing something, than it is to actually do something."

The man who has raised the most so far has only managed to curate something thin and wispy. Canadian Neil Rossy amassed £50k, beating British Airways chairman Martin Broughton's £41k. The donations, still being taken, will go to the Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute for Cancer Research.

A poster by Durham Constabulary
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine