You have read "Blonde for Ex-Goths" by Miss Oliver, and now you need evidence, hard evidence that that melancholy schoolgirl (have you ever read Edward Gorey's "The Deranged Cousins"? Look at that first photo again) has indeed become a blonde. This is an account of a recent trip to Belgrade, Serbia, where Miss Oliver and Miss Brown spent one fun-filled day.
It started in the beauty salon, as such days often do. Miss Oliver (below) asked for a Veronica Lake without the blinding one-eyed effect, and I asked for a Marilyn Monroe-just-before-she-died. Well, not JUST before-- in the year or so before. (It's my unshakable view that MM was at her most luminous in the early 1960s, when she was well past 30. Look at those Bert Stern pics if you don't believe me! But more on Miss Monroe in a later post.) The Serb hairdressers were absolutely unfazed by our criteria. I guess they know their classic flicks. Instead of using curlers, they filled our hair with hairbrushes. WARNING: do NOT try this at home. I did. I rolled one measly brush in as an experiment, and it all ended it tears. It had to be snipped out, and I have the short bits on my crown to prove it.
We emerged happy, and here are the pics to prove it-- otherwise who could ever believe that bouncing blond curls could make that morbid teenage pair happy, albeit some years later? We rambled down Belgrade's main shopping concourse, taking note of the fine mix of local-brand shops and the old familiars. We visited the Nivea Shop (http://nivea.com/home), where we bought the cream in the traditional tin (supposedly superior, as is the German-made stuff vs. the Mexican. And then there's the rumour that Nivea has the same basic formula as Creme de la Mer). Apparently the product didn't take off until this design was launched in 1925. Back on my hobby horse-- Marilyn Monroe cited Nivea as her favourite face cream.
Miss Oliver took me to The Question Mark, Belgrade's oldest restaurant. It's across from a splendid Serbian Orthodox church, and is frequented by actors and priests resplendent in their Eastern rite beards. We started our meal with a shot of apricot rakia, slivovitz to you. Cheers! Givoli! And my memory gets a little hazy after that.