Thursday, April 29, 2004

Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer. We'll keep the red flag flying here.

“I’ve spent all my time going to places like Ninian Park and The New Den just getting harassed about the colour of my hair to the point where you want to fight back so the last thing I need really is 15,000 people all in ginger wigs drawing attention to it…… It does cause offence to me and I’d like to thank the club for not even asking me if I minded!..... From my point of view it is something I can do without”.

So said Dave Kitson of Reading FC, whose contribution to the club's season is being marked by his own fans who intend to wear ginger wigs at their upcoming match against West Brom.

This news item prompted a discussion on Radio Five this afternoon which I caught while on my way home from seeing a client.

Now I think that Dave Kitson is being a little overly sensitive but I can understand his feelings. You see I too am ginger. I wouldn't change my hair colour. It's not me that has a problem with it.

Now don't get me wrong. I wouldn't claim the abuse I get for having red hair is anything like racist abuse and it annoys me rather than upsets me. But it does really get on my nerves.

Like on Sunday when, after the match, I was stuck in traffic on my way out of Newcastle to visit my parents. There were three drunk lads hanging out of the windows of a black cab. I had my windows down too and they saw me and started shouting abuse at me based on the colour of my hair.

Embarrasing? Undoubtedly, I was blocked in traffic and everyone else could see where the abuse was aimed. I wound my windows up and ignored them. What else was I supposed to do?

On TV comedies the red head is always the nerd. On TV dramas they are usually peadophiles, violent loners, weirdos etc.

I have heard it said that the reason Kinnock never became Prime Minister was because he was ginger.

I have never understood why ginger is a term of abuse. Why can no one ever slag off Chris Evans, Paul Scholes or Mick Hucknall without prefixing it with the word "ginger" ?

Listening to the Five Live callers was interesting. One person claimed that you can't talk to redheads about their hair colour because "they always have such firey tempers". A mother also texted in to say they have to spend £40 a month on colouring their daughter's hair because otherwise she gets bullied. That text was followed by a handful of others in a similar vein.

I have met women in night clubs who later, under more natural lighting, have exclaimed: "I didn't know you were ginger!". They don't normally manage to hide the shock in their voice. This has also happened, the morning after, in bed. Which is really nice.

I recall comments at school but nothing you could really class as bullying. Most weeks at football matches there is a ginger player playing for the opposition and he's either a ginger tw*t, c*nt or w*nker.

Then you have the people who want to be your friend, for whatever reason. They say things like "ooh it's not really ginger it's more auburn gold," or something else equally nonsensical. No, I am ginger, or a redhead, and I have no problem with it. Don't try to patronise me by pretending it is anything else.

But, like anything that others might see as some kind of weakness, you do get paranoid about it. I am sure it has cost me girlfriends. I can almost imagine the scene:

She says to mate:

"Oooh he was really nice, we had loads in common and we chatted for hours but I'm not sure."

Mate says:

"Why not? He sounds ok to me".

She says:

"Well, he's ginger".

Mate says;

"Ahhhhh I see your problem."

My Mum (bless her) once told me that when she was pregnant she said to my Dad. "I just hope the baby is healthy...oh and I hope he's not ginger."

Thanks Mum.

So I have some sympathy with Dave Kitson. But, like I said, he should just live with it. I wouldn't change being ginger. Being ginger is part of what I am.

And yes I know that Hucknall, Evans and all are tw*ts. But they are not tw*ts because they are ginger. For my money Jamie Oliver is one of the biggest tossers on the planet but no one ever uses his hair colour as part of their abuse towards him.

Maybe people hate Mick Hucknall because he's ginger and yet he's still a bit of a playboy. It's as if they think: "how dare he, doesn't he know that he's ginger?"

And yes, I am crap in the sun. Yes, while I am on holiday it takes me two days to turn from blue to white, before I even start going red.

Actually my hair is going increasingly gray. Which is quite cool. I am watching the grayness grow with fascination. But, at 33 I do still have a very thick head of hair. Are gingers lower down the social pecking order to baldies?

So, unlike Mr Kitson, I am not going to make a fuss about it and I shall try to avoid being a "ginger whinger" - another term growing in popularity. Obviously neither blondes nor brunettes ever whinge.

But think about it next time you take the piss out of redhead, just remember we've heard it all before.

We look like Duracell Batteries, our pubic hair is like rusty watch springs etc etc etc etc

Feel free to add any new ones in the box below, I can take it.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.