An in depth study into the Edinburgh mullet

The mullet has became a Pollock-centred epidemic. After my friend had been infected, it led me to do some digging

A few months ago, a friend of mine dropped some terrible news that made me question our friendship. With a straight face and no sense of irony, he announced that he was intending to get a mullet. Immediately, I decided that he deserved a place in hell for being so traitorous as to conform to a style made famous in Edinburgh by the Pollock boy.

How dare he commit to a haircut that visually represents the phrase: “rah where’s my baccy?”. Months later, I still burn with a rage fuelled curiosity as to how he could do this to me. It was this curiosity (and admittedly, too much time spent alone) that led me to investigate the cut, and how it has infected its way from the trust funded Pollock halls to my very own friend.

The mullet supposedly found its name through a song by the Beastie Boys called “Mullet Head” in the 90s. Lyrics as clear as “cut the sides, don’t touch the back” gave a pop cultural reference to a haircut that has its root in ancient history. Long before the streets of Edinburgh were plagued by jacketed posh boys with a mullet, the lands of ancient Greece were being invaded by mulleted warriors – at least, according to the famous Greek poet Homer.

Supposedly, this cut then became popular amongst ancient elites with wealthy Greek and Roman youths sporting the style. This meant that the mullet began as a style of practicality for survival, and then one of high style.

Later, the mullet found a new sense of being amongst the Native American population trying to reject the ideals of Christian settler styles of cropped hair. A style of anti-authoritarianism could now be attributed to the mullet in the efforts of the Native American population, almost like a sense of cultural rebellion.

Later still, in the 1900s we began to form a general idea of the mullet. In 1917, we can see “mullet-head” being used by American sociologists to indicate someone of lower intelligence. Perhaps then, the mullet represents a dull wittedness (dull witted can certainly be attributed to some Pollock boys, but we’ll explore that later).

The mullet had a busy cultural revolution from the 70s onwards. First in the 70s, Bowie defined the mullet as part of his anti-authoritarian image. Then in the 80s, stars like Patrick Swayze began to sport the style and it became a form of American hypermasculinity. In the 90s, the style was finally given a culturally relevant name through the Beastie Boys in a song that lampooned a working class, all American, hard partying style. Finally, in the 2000s the mullet reached its final cultural hot point of being considered a slapstick vision of the American working class.

So with all this considered, why the fuck did all those Pollock boys, and more importantly my friend, get mullets?

Perhaps it could be the sense of anti-authoritarianism it has represented. Could the boys of Pollock be attempting to mark themselves away from the glaring eyes of Edinburgh locals who hate the influx of private school alumni? Is it a way of non conformance to the style standards of a city that hates them? I find this hardly likely for boys whose fathers probably get an instant erection at the name Priti Patel.

Could it instead be for the survival aspect it has represented in the past? Maybe in their lives of boozing and fiscal irresponsibility the mullet provides the Pollock boy a touchstone of instinctive survival. Maybe in the primal habitat that is Pollock, having the practical style of hair warming the neck and a free sense of vision for predators is a good thing? Again, I find it difficult to see how people who are willing to pay around £8000 a year for halls are struggling on a survival aspect.

Maybe the boys of Pollock have an inherent understanding of the social class relations that the style can represent. Is the haircut their own way of standing in class solidarity with those lower than them in the social strata? Seeing as these boys are probably due to inherit most of this country’s land, I have my doubts. And to be honest, it also seems unlikely that the Pollock boy has any understanding of the mullet as a representation of Ancient Greek/Roman social class relations either.

So why then do they do it to themselves? Despite all my research, the mullet stands as something I will simply never understand. The epidemic will live on and infect every privately educated former school boy until some other awful alternative is found. All we can do is simply trudge on through a city haunted by the remnants of shaved sides and hope for the best.

And on that note, I’m off to go shave my friend’s head.

Recommended related articles by this writer:

The bartender’s polemic: The invasion of the Edinburgh fresher

Flares? At Edinburgh? Ground-breaking: The Tab’s guide to Edi’s fashion trends

Flares, pantry parties, and the JMCC: The Tab’s guide to Pollock Halls