Heady Haircut Hour

Okay so do you like the headline heady haircut hour. I mentioned last year reading an excellent book by Mark Forsyth  called the Etymologicon about where words came from or originated. Well he has another book out called The Elements of Eloquence which is all about the clever tricks that little known writers like Shakespeare and Dickens used to make lines in their books memorable as did poets like Keats and Shelley.

The whole concept is called  the Formulas of Rhetoric and were developed by first the Ancient Greeks and then added to by the Romans. They were developed by looking at lines that were memorable and then breaking them down and establishing what made them memorable and guess what ? They all followed a pattern.

It is apparently why we remember certain lines from poems or from books and can sing some lines of a song from memory but not all of them.

The first formula is using Alliteration or using the same first letter in a series of words. Old Shakespeare used to have a field day with them . This from Midsummer Night’s Dream “Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade he bravely broached his boiling bloody breast ” Dickens loved them in Titles, Pickwick Papers or more correctly The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club and Christmas Carol . In that book he used the line “Marley was as dead as a door nail” for the first time . Memorable isn’t it.

But I digress. Today I went to Villa Castelli for an haircut at the shop owned by Franco and Rocco.



That is Franco in the picture. In fact Rocco did the business today but they both work like artists on your hair. I have blogged before about the length of time an haircut takes down here. But today they added in a marvellously moist head massage ( okay I promise I’ll stop) . It consisted of various potions from dandruff control to scalp refreshener being poured on your head and then slowly massaged into the scalp. You feel a bit of prat to be fair especially when they produce a rather strange metal pronged device and start to scratch your head with it but hey it’s progress. That is until Rocco charged me an extra €5 for it and then I went off the whole thing.

These are the guys that I taught the entire English language to in 10 lessons or at least that is what they felt they had done and gave up. We still role play a little in English doing the barber type stuff but otherwise it is back to Italian.

Rocco had two gripes today. The first was he is trying to get tickets for the Rolling Stones concert in Rome on June 22nd.  He wants to take his wife to see them but the “pit area” near the front is now selling for over €1,000 a ticket. Not bad for a group of very old pensioners is it.  Rocco rides a huge Harley Davidson and I tried to explain that the Stones were a Mod group not a Rocker group in the ’60’s



and that he should be listening to Leader of the Pack

but my Italian wasn’t up to it. Rocco was impressed that I had seen the Stones in 1963 at The Adelphi Cinema though.

The other gripe was that his son’s school had decided to major on the teaching of German rather than English. The school feels there are better opportunities for kids in Germany rather than the UK in the future and that they should therefore concentrate on German. I did point out that most of the office type jobs in Germany also required a high degree of spoken English and he agreed but it is true that most Italians especially from the South who went to the UK during this Crisi have now come home having failed to find jobs that paid what they considered a living wage. However part of that was also their poor grasp of English.

Villa Castelli is not really an attractive town but it does boast a small historical area and a nice Town Hall

Villa Castelli 3

as well as an excellent street lined with small local bars and wine cantinas. It was therefore disappointing to read in the local paper that the council had declined  money to spend on what could be a really nice walk area through a ravine in the historical area. I asked Rocco what he thought and he said that the council really needed to invest in tourism. He cited Cisternino nearby which spent money on tourism a few years ago and now was one of the few wealthy towns in the area. Businesses were growing and employing more people at least I think that was the gist of what he was saying. By now Franco was busy cutting a new customer’s hair and he was a local supermarket owner who agreed whole heartedly .

Both barbers felt they were ready to take on the challenge of mass tourism especially now both were ” fluent” in English after my 10 lessons.

No greater praise has any man.



About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
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One Response to Heady Haircut Hour

  1. great blog – found this particularly interesting as studying for a degree in English lit and language so the bit about etymology and also about italian schools preferring to teach german as opposed to english were fab!

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