The A40 in London was jammed solid, as usual.
It was a long way to travel from home and took a big chunk of my day,
but the best place to buy wigs for my cabaret show had always
been directly from the wholesalers. I ran through in my mind what I
needed as I finally pulled into the car park. A replacement Cher, a
spare Kate Bush and something suitable for a new impersonation,
Sophie Ellis-Bextor, as well as anything else I fancied the look of.
As I stepped from my car, an open-topped blue Mercedes parked
nose-to-nose with me. Out stepped two over groomed middle-aged
women. They appeared to have just arrived from the fictional town
That is, until one of them spoke.
‘My drawers have gone right up my crack,’ moaned the redhead with
a grapple around her lower regions. Hmm, more Deptford than
Stepford, I thought. Gathering up my reference photos from the
passenger seat, I followed them inside.
By the time I’d pushed through the swing doors to the industrial
shelved display area, they had already taken the place over. Through
a gap between two wig-adorned mannequin heads, I peered at them
in the next aisle where, in louder than necessary voices,
they read a list from a diamante Filo-fax.
‘And we need a couple of striking numbers you can gander from a
distance, for the window,’ said the blonde. I assumed they had
some kind of shop. As I turned a corner, I spied a head with a very
short ginger wig. I stood looking at it for a moment, pondering whether
it would be good for an early Annie Lennox caricature.
Suddenly, the redhead stepped blatantly in front of me, took Annie’s
head from the shelf and walked off with it, shouting, ‘What about this
one, Lynne?’ Her need was clearly considered far more important
than mine. I coughed – as much from her overpowering perfume as
to draw attention to her bad manners. ‘What?’ she snapped back
at me. I nodded to a large green sign that requested mannequins
remain on the shelf and to ask for assistance if you want a closer look.
‘I’ve got a business to run,’ she scolded. ‘So have I,’ I replied.
Her heel squeaked on the Lino as she spun to face me. ‘Listen, mate.
Our Edgware emporium, with solarium, sauna and an extensive
array of treatments and product for hair and beauty,
supports people who’s hair’s fell out after chemo.
We provide an important service to the community.
Do you want to deny a sick person of that?’ It sounded scripted and
rehearsed to me. Clearly, I wasn’t the first person to have ever
questioned their behaviour. ‘And you’re providing someone on
chemotherapy with a cropped ginger comedy wig?’ I asked.
At this moment, a sales assistant arrived. ‘Is there a problem?’ he
asked nervously. ‘No problem,’ I replied, ‘But I’d like to buy that wig.’
I pointed to Annie, still clasped in the woman’s hand.
He too pointed to the green sign. With a loud tut, she returned it to
its rightful position on the shelf. ‘What do you want it for, anyway?’
she said, looking me up and down as though I’d just stepped off a
farmyard tractor. ‘Annie Lennox,’ I said. ‘I’m a female impersonator.’
She looked me up and down again, then back up at the wig.
Instantly, her demeanour changed. ‘You have it then, with my blessing,’
she smiled. I had already decided that was a foregone conclusion.
‘And here’s our card,’ she said, producing something gold and glittery
from the back of her Filo-fax. I carefully plucked it from amongst her
extraordinarily manicured talons. ‘We cater for drag queen wigs, too.’
Not wishing to prolong our pained exchange by pointing out the
obvious, I quickly fulfilled my own wholesale list, put some silver in a
Marie Curie pot on the sales counter, and left them to it.
You can find out more about our resident drag columnist Jeff Kristian at his official website where you will find more information about Jeff, and the projects he is currently working on.
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