It was never just about the hair.
Maybe it had a quite lot to do with hair though.
When his grouchy boss grunted at him one fine day ‘And get your hair cut!’
Richard Neville didn’t think twice – he was off.
‘I’ve just resigned’ he said later. ‘What am I going to do now?’
The answer is – a hell of a lot.
Richard Neville incarnated the spirit of Sixties London.
Which was odd because he came from Australia.
You could make a case that Australians were if not prime movers then enforcers or galvanisers of the Sixties cultural revolution (think of Germaine Greer for example – whose The Female Eunuch summed up a lot of Sixties thinking – not to mention Clive James).
But Neville was always my hero as a kid.
He (together with Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis) put together the famous ‘Schoolkids’ edition of Oz magazine – which was banned for obscenity (Rupert Bear – but well-hung).
Neville and his co-defendants were put on trial – found guilty – shoved in jail – then released on appeal and they were defended and championed by John Mortimer (Rumpole) and the young Geoffrey Robertson.
They were trailblazers – pioneers – subversives – liberators and they did it with an abiding sense of humour.