Here we are then. England has just entered another national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Are we calling this Lockdown 3.0? The Final Lockdown? Lockdown 3: Lock Hard? Any others names you’d like to throw into the ring? Whatever you’d like to call it, we all have out own measures of what that means. The thing that tells us: we are here, in this state, it’s lockdown.

Whether that is getting back into your comfiest ‘loungewear’ (honestly, I do judge you a little if you ever got out of it); baking another banana bread (those bananas aren’t going to use themselves, pals); setting up another Zoom quiz (I’m busy FYI); or finishing painting your hall (yep, still have a second coat to do YAWN) we all have ‘things’ that signal that it’s here. The third lockdown – see above for name suggestions.

My measure of lockdown is my fringe. In normal times – BC (Before Covid) – I would have it trimmed PROFESSIONALLY, BY A HAIRDESSER every 6 or so weeks. It was a high-maintenance part of my appearance, I admit, but my fringe and I have been together now for 22 years, and I am fully committed to the relationship. Also. The last time I gave myself a fringe trim was when I was about to go to Paris to interview Matt Damon and Christian Bale for their movie Le Mans ’66. Lol, how showbiz. Seems like a dream now. Anyway, I felt like the fringe was just a little too long to be meeting A-list celebs in a hotel room, so I decided to do it myself. At 5am. In our downstairs loo. Just before getting the Eurostar. With my nail scissors. And LET ME TELL YOU – Never. Again.

Fringe is not quite even.

So when we went into lockdown in March last year (was it last year? Or was it at THE BEGINNING OF TIME?!) my fringe went into lockdown too. At first I would just squint through the stray strands, there wasn’t much to look at anyway, sure, were we not LOCKED DOWN?! But then I got to the stage where I was close to taking an eye out with a brittle loose hair and I genuinely couldn’t do everyday things like make a cup of tea. So. I had to pin it back. I had a quiff. Often constructed using Aifric’s hair clips. Oh, whilst we’re here – let me tell you, I made a discovery about myself. I learnt that I have an unusually low number of Kirby grips for a woman in her mid-thirties.

My fringe became a thing I did on Instagram – What The Fringe (like What The F*CK… geddit?) – and to be honest, it got more interaction than any of my celeb interviews. It was a firm fave. Let’s face it, people weren’t doing much else than scrolling through their socials (put your hand up if you’ve got RSI in your right hand from all the scrolling… me me me! I like to call it The Lockdown Claw).

So, my fringe is a measure of lockdown for me. And clearly some others too (thanks for accompanying me on the fringe journey, chaps).

Fringe at the end of Lockdown 1.0

Just before we were released from Lockdown 1.0 had a call from my wonderful hairdresser as soon as she was able to re-open. She had been following my fringe story and she was ready to blue-light me in, full sirens, the works. A priority patient. I had an image of it – she and her team would all be PPE’d up to the max, I’d be stretchered in to a white tent, they obviously wouldn’t be able to see me through all the hair, like Cousin Itt from the Addams Family. There’d be some sharp intakes of breath, some anxious glances. Then they’d surround me – and with their hairdresser tool belts they’d get to work. It’d be the fringe version of E.T.

Honest to God, I am not sure I will ever forget that first haircut. It was freedom.

So here we are then. Lockdown 3.0. And What The Fringe is back. And I still have no Kirby grips. You’d have thought I’d have been more prepared this time, but look, it just takes me a while to get my head around things and I have left it too late. My fringe and I will see you in a month… or three.

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