Hair today, gone tomorrow (with any luck)

Footballers and dodgy pop stars loved them to everyone's mirth, but now the Mullet is cool. This is irony gone too far, says CHRIS MAUME

I blame Angie Bowie. When hippy husband David was taking his first preening steps towards androgynous stardom, she dragged him down to the hairdresser's and said, "Right, I want you to hack away on top but leave all that stuff down the back."

And so was born the look that launched a thousand snips. You thought it had sunk without trace. But just lately there have been worrying signs that the Mullet, which rose to become the arch-symbol of Eighties tack, may be back to haunt us.

Some claim even earlier antecedents than Ziggy Stardust and his Mullet- headed Spiders from Mars. When Orlando Pita, the man behind the recent outbreak, glued 12in extensions to the back of model James Heathcoat's skinhead cut for Gucci's autumn ad campaign, he claimed to be inspired by George Washington's hairdo.

"It can be a very white-trash look," he said. "But for me, there's a rebel in that hairstyle, something hard-edged." Yeah right, I think is the phrase. Gucci's spring 2000 menswear show in Milan, created by Eighties obsessive Tom Ford and the Lagerfeld louts at the Chanel couture show in Paris, have joined Pita on the tonsorial cutting edge.

The etymology of the word is both precise and vague. The pop magazine Q first used it in 1995, though why they chose "mullet" rather than, say, turbot, dab or flounder, is lost to legend. Apart from its piscine usage, it has also been applied to a five-pointed star, a type of tweezers and part of a musket barrel (to shoot offenders, presumably).

Most appropriate, though, is its archaic use in American slang for "idiot". Tell that to Michael Bolton, Bono, Limahl, that Thompson Twin or Nik Kershaw.

Or Mulletmeister Chris Waddle, who joined forces so memorably with the similarly-coiffed Glenn Hoddle on "Diamond Nights", or his footballing conspirators Frank Worthington, Jurgen Klinsmann, Toni Schumacher, and the rest.

Perhaps the Mullet's reappearance is part of what appears, horrifyingly, to be a general Eighties revival - which the pundits reckon is mostly down to Ford. (Last year he produced leggings and shoulder pads.)

Those who know about these things believe it's too soon, though, to be carrying concealed clippers. Kate Barlow, editor of Hair and Beauty magazine, says, "I've heard about it - read about it, mainly, but I don't think it's coming back. It's got too many negative connotations. And it's not attractive, is it?"

Paul Burfoot, owner of the Soho salon Fish, has witnessed - indeed been responsible for - isolated outbreaks in the last year. "It's been trying to rear its ugly head for a while now," he says. "But I can't see it going mainstream. It's not the kind of thing I try to push." And who are the bravehearts who dare enter such a hip establishment and ask for a good Mulleting? "Mostly German tourists looking for Carnaby Street," admits Burfoot.

It probably needs a star sighting to really catch on, although Burfoot believes "you'd need a brave celebrity". In fact, Liam Gallagher has been toying with the idea - his latest cut involves short layers on top with feathery strands down the back. Nicky Haslam, decorator to the rich and famous, has, reportedly, had a "Liam".

In a sane world, that would mean its death knell. But Burfoot is also partly responsible for an imminent, albeit ironic, sighting. He's just finished shooting an ad for Partisan hair products entitled "Mullet on Berwick Street", in which he chases an offender down the road with scissors, trying to relieve him of his ill-advised barnet.

There are even two websites devoted to it. Jonah's Homepage, the mouthpiece of FARM, the Federation Against Rough Mullets, records global sightings. Dan's Mullet Haven has sections devoted to music (with special attention paid to Country and Western Mulletheads like Billy Ray Cyrus and Garth Brooks), football and WWF wrestling (in which the likes of Hacksaw Jim Duggan, British Bulldog, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Macho Man Randy Savage have been assiduous standard-bearers).

In Mullet Haven there's also the snippet that the "rat-tail", a variation on the look (currently modelled by Ewan McGregor in The Phantom Menace) was outlawed in Missouri in 1983, with a $100 fine for first-time offenders and six months' jail for recidivists. Might this be a vote-winner for New Labour? Tony "Caesar cut" Blair could almost guarantee victory in the next election with legislation to protect the unwise from themselves - and the rest of us from the unwise.

Dan's Mullet Haven:

Jonah's Homepage:

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
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 General

    Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

    Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

    £70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all