The beard collector.

This isn't my story, it belongs to Theo. Nevertheless, it is a good story. I think I can tell it, I was the first person he told.

We had a mid morning break during a workshop last week, and Theo went into the college cafe to get a coffee. Waiting in the queue, he was accosted by an elderly man in a long coat who asked to take his photograph. Theo's nice, he said ok. Then he asked why.

"I collect beards. Check out my waistcoat."

The man opened his coat's lapels. His waistcoat was covered in beards.
Men wearing beards. Lots of beards, lots of men.

(This is the point in the story where I interrupted and inquired about the manufacture of said garment. I used to make a lot of my clothes, and had a project when I was 14 where we had to make a waistcoat, of all irrelevant things. Mine was made out of newspaper articles I liked, and had bubble wrap for padding. It broke 3 sewing machine needles.)

Anyway, turns out this man had collaged his favourite beards as I had collaged my newsprint; bound by sticky back plastic.

This is where Theo asked to take a photograph of the the waistcoat. The old man was nice, he said:

"Ok, but that's the moustache panel there, and if you take a photo of that you have to take a photo of this panel too, it's my favourite."

The old man didn't have a beard. According to the small conversation that followed, he was only in the cafe by chance, waiting around for one of the last 159 routemasters to start running, so he could catch it and document the journey.

(This confused me because 159s don't start and have never started from Elephant and Castle. They start from Streatham, but I'm not going to hypothetically argue with someone who openly collects beards.)

The story ends with the old man tapping his watch and leaving, Theo coming back to class.

He showed me the photographs on his phone, and apart from silencing me they kind of reminded me of this, which is all about beards.


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