KEITH NEWBERY Hair today, gone tomorrow – but a toupee is never a good look...

T he cure for hair loss has been ‘five years away’ for as long as I can remember. In fact, I’ve gone seriously bald waiting for it.

During that time I’ve resisted imprecations to rub my pate with goose fat, dowse it in a seaweed solution, stand on my head to improve the blood flow or attempt to rejuvenate the follicles by investing in stuff with names like scalpgro or nuhair4u.

I’ve ignored theories that a wilting barnet is due to tight hats, lack of carnal activity, excessive shampooing or sleeping with the bed on a north-south axis.

I used to scoff at suggestions that only great thinkers or great lovers went bald – but oddly enough, the idea has become more attractive with each passing year and each tumbling tress.

But baldness has never been a condition which has caused me undue concern, because in the great scheme of things I’d rather lose my hair than any other part of my body.

However, I sympathise with those poor wretches who scrutinise their combs every morning with a growing sense of despair, or hold a mirror to the back of their heads to monitor the spreading area of devastation.

Sadly, some then reach that classic crossroads in life – toupee or not toupee?

Surely those who succumb and go down the wig route realise they are condemning themselves to a lifetime of expense and quiet ridicule?

Nothing emphasises a man’s baldness quite as effectively as a wig.

They all look shudderingly obvious (even the latest ones), though it is doubtful whether anyone ever took self-deception as far as Frankie Howerd.

During the filming of Up Pompeii, make-up staff were told not to mention his ridiculous hair-piece, and were instructed instead to place another one on top.

As a result, he did not look any more handsome – but was considerably taller.

The latest stars to exhibit excessive sensitivity to failing follicles are international cricketers, several of whom have invested in expensive transplants.

Graham Gooch was the pioneer, and has since been followed by the likes of Shane Warne, Jacques Kallis and Doug Bollinger.

Interestingly, the last three are bowlers and the unforgiving television cameras focusing down from atop the pavilion must have intensified their torment with each passing test series.

** What really counts on the shop floor?

Tesco has, by its own standards, suffered something of a trading setback with a fall in like-for-like sales over recent months.

Regular customers will know this is the inevitable consequence of extraordinary complacency at board level and a general air of indifference on the shop floor.

In response, the company has decided to help reinvigorate its fortunes by using less garish signs, warmer colours and better lighting in its stores.

Do they really believe people have stopped spending because of in-your-face labels, clinical decor and shoddy illumination?

They should begin by getting their prices right, telling staff to cheer up and ditching the patronising ‘every little helps’ advertising campaign voiced by millionaires like Dawn French and Jane Horrocks.