Hairdressing salon names that try to be amusing but aren’t

In amongst all the shocking puns so often deployed in this sector, one that made me laugh for its inventiveness as well as inappropriateness (wrong country) was ‘Estu’hair’ on the banks of the Gironde estuary in southwest France. And they’re FRENCH! Most are, of course, simply dreadful. What IS it about hairdressers that see a need to distinguish their establishments with an unfunny name? Butchers as a rule don’t, neither do fishmongers nor greengrocers.

The Becket List

The Becket List

I mean…‘The 2nd Combing’, ‘Sheer Elegance’, ‘Hair It Is’, ‘Hair’s Looking At You’ and the truly ghastly ‘Sheerlock Combs’.

I sometimes wonder if there’s a retired copywriter out there who cut his teeth on ancient hair product ads and who has struck a rich seam of gold wandering around the Western world, using the name ‘Puns ’r’ Us’, hawking his wares from a portfolio of mindnumbingly bad-pun names that he’s been building up tirelessly since the mid-sixties. Whatever, there should definitely be a section for this category alone at advertising awards ceremonies, with the winner taking home a plausible gilt imitation of a halffilled sick bag.

Loud mobile phone calls 

It’s OK, you’re not speaking into a tin can linked to another by a length of string: you don’t need to raise your voice. And no, we’re not interested in what you have to say in the first place. So please, if you must talk on your mobile phone in our earshot, speak quietly and briefly…or mostly listen. Or both. Thank you.


Once: laudable. More than once: merely tedious. Moustaches don’t suit most people so please don’t inflict your new look, however temporarily, on the rest of us. What looked impressive on a young Oliver Reed in Women in Love half a century ago isn’t such a great look on a chinless under-manager today. Or his wife

Sober for October 

Apart from the obvious hideousness of the concept of being sober for an entire month, isn’t it blindingly obvious that Sober October has only come into being as a PR ploy entirely based on the oh-so-clever rhyme. And as for Dry January, it hasn’t even got a rhyming scheme to commend it. That month is already bloody enough, what with getting over Christmas and New Year, braving the winter, and facing the prospect of a massive credit card bill at the end of it. If do-gooders MUST have their alcohol and not drink it, then I offer up ‘Parched March’ as a compromise through which to exercise their overworked social consciences AND satisfy their need for poetical expression.

But please – count me out.

No phone signal 

How come I can download 100 Mb of a half-finished TV commercial on a boat in the middle of the Adriatic, recut it, and send it back over my phone, yet not get a decent enough signal in the middle of Soho to phone and book a table at the restaurant next door?! It’s enough to make you emigrate. Just like when you buy a place in the sticks anywhere beyond the M25: before exchanging contracts you check if there’s a half-decent signal. EE nope. Vodafone Yup. So you exchange contracts, switch service providers, move in, and within days your know-all neighbours are telling you that the Vodafone signal is invariably sh1t but the EE one is so strong you could use it to heat up your porridge. And it turns out they’re right: what’s all that about?! You sometimes suspect you’d do better with two empty cans and a length of string (thinking about it, that probably WOULD work with the restaurant next door).


Ugh. As attractive as a mankini, and only slightly more practical. Obviously useful to the parents of toddlers, but pretty despicable in all other circumstances. As an adult you CANNOT go around looking like an overgrown Telletubby and retain any self-respect, let alone the respect of others in your vicinity.

Premature promotions 

Listen here, Mr Selfridge, the Christmas season does NOT start with the return of children to school for the Michaelmas term. The start of Advent is quite soon enough to festoon your shop with Christmas paraphernalia. And in the same way, Mr Cadbury, kindly restrict the sale and promotion of creme eggs to the couple of weeks immediately before Easter, not the minute that Epiphany has run its course. Mothering Sunday, likewise, does not need months of revving up, any more than the price of flowers need revving up the day before. Father’s Day, as we all know, is merely a marketing contrivance to compensate for the seasonal downturn in Hallmark’s sales and so should receive no publicity whatsoever. Whereas St George’s Day…? Don’t get me started.

Reloading the dishwasher for no good reason 

It would be hard to think of a more extreme example of the weirdness of human behaviour than the fetish exhibited by someone completely rearranging the dirty contents of the dishwasher when another willing party has already – thoughtfully, and with all due consideration – loaded it. Does it REALLY matter if the cups are where you’d rather have the mugs, or the bowls where you want to put the plates, or that the spoons have been mixed up with the forks? It’s not a question of aesthetics for Chrissake! It’s simply a machine: you place mucky things in it, in a reasonably logical order; put that funny little tablet in its little compartment; close the door; press the button; and retreat to a safe distance. Take it from me: NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE INSIDE. And when divorce looms with near-inevitability, please don’t tell me that this is one of the grounds you’ll be giving as unreasonable behaviour: GET OVER IT!

Toilet flushes 

Bring back Thomas Crapper and his simple, solid, foolproof device for flushing the loo, and let’s abandon all these newfangled devices that work intermittently or half-heartedly, or both. This is not an area where occasional efficacy is an acceptable option, however cool-looking the design: if you need to flush the loo, you don’t want the option of a button that intimates ‘Press here if you’re mildly interested in the possibility of disposing of the contents of the toilet’. And whereas the averagely competent DIYer could replace any parts of a conventional flush that were worn out, it takes a highly qualified technician with a bagful of diplomas to tackle one of the newer formats, which lends a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘toilet training’.


Ugh. A bit like the name implies. Was this self-conscious irony, do you suppose, or is the close relationship with ‘ugly’ just one of those happy coincidences that brightens one’s day?

The Becket List by Henry Becket

Publisher: RedDoor Press

Publication date: Oct 1 2020

Availability: Hardback, eBook, on Amazon and all good book shops

Price: £9.99