Steve’s Hair

Recently at one of my favourite shops, where I go shopping for new ideas, I bought this;

A 1 pint mason jar containing a crumpled, once-sellotaped shut, now torn open envelope that has been sent 214 miles through the post from a Mr. & Mrs. Bernstein in Wheeling, West Virginia, to Carolyn Harper in Washington D.C.. Inside is a dense clump of thick, curly, dark brown head-hair.  On the back of the envelope someone has written in biro blue capitals “Steve’s Hair”.

A man I admired very much died recently. He was a collector of things. Not specific types or sets of things, but things that caught his eye, things that belong with him, next to the other things. Collecting like this for years. Now he is gone and with it the rules of his collection. I keep imagining all those objects, single again and alone in the world.

Who/where is Steve? Which Steve? I know two. The hair looks like a man’s hair rather than a child’s, which is odd. What did Steve do to have his hair remembered? The envelope has been sealed up, then someone has opened it again to look at it. Kept hair seems like one of those things that you might just have to know that you have it. Is there be a nostalgic compulsion to look at old hair? I love the combination of all the certainties; the four named people, the addresses, the titled object vs. all the unknowns; who? what? why? etc. And all the stories that this collision of the known and the unknown writes.


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