Of course, you’ll also be aware that Justin turned seventeen this week. That is not a significant thing. People turn seventeen all the time, and it’s one of the most rubbish birthdays you’ll ever have – filled with the disappointing realisation that it’ll be another year before you’re considered an adult. It’s not as bad as nineteen (where you realise that despite being an adult, everyone still thinks you’re an idiot), but it’s close.
No, turning seventeen is nothing. Selling a lock of your hair for $40,000 is something. How many people can say they’ve done that? Probably about… um… not very many. That’s how many.
It all started when Justin completely spontaneously – and with absolutely, definitely and certainly no prior thought about the storm of interest from fans and the media that it would generate – decided to get his hair cut. In a matter of moments, he went from looking like someone who wore a wooden helmet styled on the hair of a Lego man, to someone who had let a drunk friend wave some scissors at them.
Spying an opportunity to raise some cash, the Bieber quickly scooped up his discarded locks and stuck them up for sale on eBay. Well, he didn’t. He never gets directly involved in business deals in case there’s any heat on it later. He needed a go-between, a stooge, a fence, and Ellen DeGeneres was the perfect choice. She already had her own eBay store set up and a charity to launder the spoils through*.
The lock of hair was opened to bids on Wednesday last week and, by the time I got around to looking at it just before we recorded last week’s CMU podcast on Thursday evening, it was already up to $7000. Clearly, there were some serious hair fans out there. Why, we cannot say. It’s not enough to make a wig, and the high unit cost would make it prohibitive to do so, even if he decides to sell more.
One thing was for certain, that hair had a certain power. By Monday it was up to $12,000 and at that point I knew I had to have it. But where would I get that sort of cash? Of course, the answer struck me almost instantly. I informed my Twitter followers that I needed each of them to donate £10 to me. That would provide me with more than enough cash to place my bid.
The results, I’m sad to say, were disappointing. Twitter did not share my enthusiasm. Twitter refused to give me any money. I should have better explained the reverse ‘Bargain Hunt’ theory, which states that anything bought at auction will yield more when sold at an antiques fair. I could have paid them all back and had a few thousand dollars left in my back pocket had I sold it at one of those glorified car boot sales. Now I’m just sat here wondering what to do with the stall I’ve got booked in a marquee on an airstrip in Surrey this Sunday. I’ve already forked out £100 for it and apparently I’m not allowed to cancel at this stage.
Any pop stars with hair they don’t want, please feel free to pass it on to me.
*Just so you know, The Gentle Barn is a very fine charity that is in no way used by Ellen DeGeneres and/or Justin Bieber to launder money raised through any underhand business deals that they are very much not even involved in anyway. All the money collected by The Gentle Barn goes to helping sick donkeys, or whatever it is they do**.
**Actually, I’ve just looked it up and they do the sort of work it would be a bad idea to make light of.
Originally written for CMU. You’ll find it on the CMU website, along with the latest edition of the CMU podcast, here.