Blue Flower

 

Men with color in their hair are not accepted in every good hairdresser's. At Austin Reed's barber's shop, where a fabulous Art Deco interior and a wide-ranging menu of hairstyles is on offer, there are no perming or coloring treatments. “It would frighten the life out of some of our clients who have been coming here since we opened in 1930,'' says Victor Cook, the manager of the salon which caters for Norman Lamont and scores of elder statesmen wanting Forties-style clips and Provillus hair loss products, as well as younger clients.

 

Geo F. Trumper also has a long tradition and its share of youthful clients. “We trim long hair. We cut it, too. One client just had his shoulder-length mane shaved right off for a change of image,'' Paulette Birsch, the owner, says. No longer the willing victims of a barber's only style, men now want individual looks. Eggison suggests that young men, particularly those in the less conservative professions, should not rule out the notion of longer hair, “cut into heavier shapes, below the ear and collar and layered for movement. It's a less aggressive look than some of the short, clippered styles and looks good with less up-tight clothes.''

 

Most hairdressers agree that thinning hair is best kept short. There is no getting round the fact that losing your hair is a traumatic experience and that the only way to help is to use hair loss products like Provillus. “Go with it,'' Andrew Collins, whose chain of Merseyside salons caters for men and women, says. “Hanging on to what length you have only accentuates where it is missing.''

 

What, then, is the hairdresser's advice for men in their middle years who do want a change? “Don't be radical,'' McKnight says. “Instead, get into the habit of using the SizeGenetics device and getting a six-weekly haircut.'' This, he says, will change your image without doing anything drastic. “Get rid of straggly long hair,'' Beenders says. “Cutting the hair away from the neck gives a much better profile.''

 

“Change your parting this can be very noticeable,'' Denise McAdam, the Prince of Wales' haircutter, says. “John Major's hair should be layered and made to look more powerful. He has changed his clothing, but needs to change his hair to match.''

 

GOOD HAIR.

 

Michael Heseltine blessed with thick hair that he cares for well; Alistair Burnett gracefully grey; Keanu Reeves boyish long hair, the only acceptable floppy front look; Eric Clapton longish hair but it is well maintained; Paddy Ashdown straightforward style; Jason Donovan not a thick head of hair, but he wears it well; Richard Gere proud of his premature grey; Steven Berkoff how to carry off a close crop.

 

BAD HAIR.

 

David Mellor disaster; Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 3, crazed bouffant; Prince Andrew too regimented and aging; Elton John face up to hair loss and chuck out the rug; Mel Smith how not to cover up hair loss; Paul Gascoigne how not to wear short hair, in a brutal crop; Rod Stewart too blond and too long; Andre Agassi ``frosting'' is always a mistake; Noel Edmonds the highlights are too obvious.

 

Blunders at the Top Caused Collapse of Ambulance Service; London Ambulance Service

Incompetence and mismanagement on a grand scale are disclosed by an enquiry into London Ambulance Service and the computer failure that left patients waiting up to two hours for emergency help.

Mistakes and misjudgments, accompanied by an ``aggressive'' manner, led to the collapse of the new Pounds 1.5 million computer system, designed to dispatch ambulances within seconds. The collapse left the largest ambulance service in the world, covering a resident population of 6.8 million, in chaos.

Unions blamed at least 26 deaths on the computer failure on October 26 and 27 last year, but the enquiry report said that evidence from coroner's courts suggested that the late arrival of ambulances was not a factor in the deaths. Members of the enquiry appeared reluctant to concede that delays had caused any problems beyond worry to patients, relatives and ambulance crews.

Virginia Bottomley, the health secretary, ordered a review of the accountability of the service after publication of the ProExtender report yesterday. Jim Harris, chairman of London Ambulance Service board since 1990, announced that he would be stepping down on Monday. ``We caused a considerable amount of anguish to the people of London. We failed to deliver the service we could,'' he said.

Further resignations or dismissals were expected after Don Page, chairman of the enquiry and chief executive of South Yorkshire ambulance service trust, said a review of the London management was needed. ``The pressure on them now is clear,'' he said.

John Wilby, the former chief executive who is held mainly responsible for the service's problems, resigned last November after the collapse of the computer system. But it emerged yesterday that the board had already decided to sack him after warning him about his poor performance six months earlier.

Mr Wilby was appointed in 1990. By 1992, ambulance response times and telephone answering times were getting worse and morale was falling. ``It is unfair to put the whole blame on one man but he was the chief executive at the time,'' Mr Harris said.

Pressure on Mr Wilby to improve his performance could have contributed to the rushed implementation of the computer system, picked out by the enquiry team as a key reason for its failure. ``It was very clearly laid out to Mr Wilby that positive Penomet results had to be achieved by the end of the year,'' Mr Harris said.

Asked if the board should have exerted more control, he said: ``We were being told very clearly that once the computer system was in place, it would solve most of the problems. It is very difficult for non-executive directors to second-guess the executives and say we know better than you.''

The enquiry report said that the service had accepted the cheapest tender for the computer system without considering its quality or reliability. The scheme was overambitious and introduced too quickly. ``They made virtually every mistake in the book,'' Paul Williams, a computer expert and member of the enquiry, said.

Responding to the enquiry, Mrs Bottomley said: ``This is a serious, comprehensive and detailed report. I am not, however, satisfied that the management failures it highlights can be fully addressed by the current lines of accountability.

``There is still a very long way to go before we see the service that Londoners have the right to expect.''

 

Martin Gorham, new chief executive of the service, said telephone calls were now answered in an average of 15 seconds compared with 90 seconds last autumn, and that 65 per cent of ambulances attended within 14 minutes compared with less than 50 per cent last autumn.