Hit & Run: Red hair? It's so this season

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

As a child I used to get called "Duracell", "copper-coloured top", "ginger-nut" and "Orangina", admits Jordan Adams. "When I was a teenager groups of boys used to hang out of their car windows and yell at me, 'gingaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!'"

There's little chance that Adams, a 35-year-old music teacher from Brighton, would have heard these "gingerphobic" terms bandied about at Roodharigendag (redhead day) in the Dutch city of Breda. The two-day event, which took place last weekend, is a gathering for people with natural red hair. The event, which started in 2005, was the brainchild of Bart Rouwenhorst, a 38-year-old Dutch scientist and a part-time artist who, to start with, wanted to paint 15 red-headed models. However, after placing an ad in a local newspaper, he attracted 150 models, and decided to photograph them all in Breda's town centre. The idea of a group photo featuring redheads snowballed in popularity and last year 2,000 of them from 20 countries were featured for the picture; around 3,000 turned up this year.

"Redheads always stand out and it's difficult to find a place in this world," explains Rouwenhorst. "This is a festival that celebrates difference."

But red hair appears to be fiercely fashionable. BBC2's preposterous Desperate Romantics focused on the Pre-Raphaelite painters and their adoration of redheads, Hollywood's newest sweetheart Amy Adams is red and proud, flame-tressed Lily Cole is arguably our "hottest" model and the third in line to the throne, Prince Harry, is a ginger. The increasing success of Roodharigendag – the festival is experiencing "100 per cent growth each year" – is another sign of a redhead renaissance.

"This festival is unique," adds Rouwenhorst, whose favourite redheads, for the record, are Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age and Meryl Streep. "The people don't come for somebody famous who has red hair, they come for each other."

Rousing stuff and it makes me, a reddish-head myself, want to break into "all we are saying is give redheads a chance". However, a lot of redheads don't feel the same way.

"The very notion of a redhead festival depresses the hell out of me," says 29-year-old Dan Sait. "I don't subscribe to this 'we're special' crap, either. As far as I'm aware I have no special ginger-witch powers, I just happen to have a hair colour that makes white van men want to throw empty cigarette packets at me."

James Spencer, a 37-year-old from Ipswich, concurs, pointing out: "I wish I'd thought of such a pointless way to make money." Rachel Drayson, a 29-year-old teacher from Surrey, is a little more relaxed about the idea, but confesses she "might be unnerved by my sudden non-uniqueness".

Bart, who is blonde, not ginger, points out that there is a little prejudice towards redheads in Holland, but maintains it appears much worse in England. Sait agrees: "As an English bloke with red hair I've certainly had to put up with way more than my fair share of random abuse but there's nothing I can do about it.

"As a kid the abuse was non-stop. Amazingly, at nearly 30 years old, I still, very occasionally, get people bellowing "Ginga!" from cars."

Perhaps it's time to follow Rouwenhorst's lead and set up a British Rood-harigendag. After all, if it can happen in the Netherlands, where only 2 per cent of the country has red hair, maybe it's only a matter of time until the Scotland (13 per cent) and Ireland (with 10 per cent) embrace the idea of a redhead celebration too. Here's to UK redhead day 2010. Ben Walsh

Cyber cat coup on the calendar

Cats coveting cheeseburgers with comically misspelt captions, cats coolly playing the piano and carefree cats in cute poses. The internet is crammed full of photos – and films – of felines. Sure, dogs have their online fans and even ferrets get some cyberspace, but cats are the true kings of the web. However, these ruthless colonisers are facing a coup that could see them ousted from the top of the tree. Popular blog Urlesque has declared tomorrow the 'Day Without Cats' online, and the campaign is gaining ground in the blogosphere. But really, what's the web without moggies? A hollow, hairless mockery. Roll on Thursday. R ebecca Armstrong

Why it's penknives at dawn for the Scouts

Be prepared: it's the famous Scout motto, coined by Robert Baden-Powell when founding the movement in 1907. But how does it apply to media firestorms? That's where half a million scouts find themselves this week with the news that they are not to carry penknives around. The advice comes from the May edition of the Scouts' in-house magazine Scouting, which warns against the impact of a series of "high profile fatal stabbings" in recent years. You see, traditionally Scouts were encouraged to be packing blades (under three inches and they're legal), to teach the importance of trust (in carrying a knife you have to exercise responsibility). Now, apparently, the implements are only to be allowed for "specific tasks" as leaders are worried about them being used for bullying. Presumably "specific tasks" doesn't mean shanking a competitor in the sack race, more sawing off a twig to roast a sausage (to get the coveted Camp Cook badge) or slicing rope (Sailing badge).

Except that the Scout Association is now claiming this press attention is just a storm in a Trangia-stewed tea cup. "We've always said that you need to carry knives only in appropriate circumstances; so if you're using them to cook something that's fine; but if you're appearing on stage in front of 300 people then that's clearly not," says the organisation's chief spokesman Simon Carter. Make up your mind, lads. What would Baden-Powell think of all this dilly-dallying? Rob Sharp

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past