Running scared. They’d have beardies, or erstwhile beardies like me, in a blind panic. All because of Paxo. A picture of him in the papers sprouting some fuzz, virtually overnight.
They’ve conjured a name for it, dubbed pogonophobia, an irrational fear of beards. You might sling it into that dictionary gathering dust under the chest of drawers, should you care.
Jeremy Paxman, a week gone by, must still be larfing ‘is flippin’ ‘ead orf. And his telly pay packet surely has doubled. See him, for instance, on The One Show tonight, a BBC production that needs all the help it can get.
But listen. Your columnist, known then as the hirsute Hibby, was lovingly cultivating a beard (the grow bag worked wonders) long before Paxo had been seen on your screen.
Oh yes, besides proving an infallible bird-puller (talk to them about it), it enabled him to hob-nob with fellow beardies in the course of duty.
I’m dropping a few names here and our archivist has the photographs to confirm it . . . Alan Whicker, Dickie Attenborough, David Frost, the Bee Gees, Cliff Richard, Terry Wogan. Not forgetting the late Robin Cook, pictured with yours truly above.
One and all, we were basking in our beards. The most popular breed of dog then, I like to surmise, was the bearded collie.
Again, if my memory serves me, my first encounter with Paxo was when my told me to remember to include a packet of Paxo, for her suet puddings, with her messages. Perhaps an opportune moment to bring it back, this being the chuck-it-all-about season, witness the egg-splattered Ed Miliband last week. Egg-splattered from now on?