"Notes on Using Shampoo", by Rory Kennett-Lister


Image by Allen (Roadsidepictures). Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 licence.


  1. Shake the bottle well before use.
  2. Wet hair thoroughly.
  3. Pool shampoo in palm, distributing evenly.
  4. Massage into hair and scalp to form a rich lather.
  5. Wait with eyes closed to ensure external use only.
  6. Listen to the exhaust fan clattering like it has a loose nut.
  7. Wonder whether it’s going to break and send the blades spinning into the shower curtain.
  8. Think about the extremely inaccurate map of the world depicted on the shower curtain.
  9. Try to remember what the capital of Belarus is but keep eyes closed to avoid the sting of shampoo.
  10. Recall when your Dad accidently hit you in the eye with his thumb when the two of you were play-fighting, how the white went red.
  11. Reflect on whether that the last time you cried.
  12. Remember it’s not; there was the time your ex broke up with you and at 2am you wept on the swing bridge over the River Torrens, listening to ‘Love Hurts’ by Roy Orbison on repeat.
  13. Wonder whether that’s the most clichéd thing you’ve ever done.
  14. Theorise whether it’s worse than when you watched Free Willy and were so captivated by the image of Jesse riding his BMX with his flannelette shirt billowing, that you put on your own, got on your bike and peddled out the driveway, only to have your mum yell at you to put a helmet on.
  15. Realise that because Jesse’s mum abandoned him, she wouldn’t have been there to tell him that. And if she somehow appeared and told him to wear a helmet, he probably would have told her to get fucked, which though perhaps unfair, is an understandable reaction in the circumstances.
  16. Wonder whether there was a never-released subplot within Free Willy in which Jesse’s mother was actually eaten by Willy early on in the piece. The friendship between boy and whale was the penultimate act in Willy’s psychopathic desire to destroy Jesse’s psyche, preceding the climax in which the whale jumps to freedom, looks into Jesse’s eyes and—though the boy can’t quite believe it—smiles, holding his head above the frigid water until Jesse knows, he just knows what Willy has done.
  17. Realise that Jesse’s mother probably just left for Europe, shacked up with some German drug dealer, lost herself to chemical escape and wound up living shadily in the backstreets of Berlin.
  18. Remember that the capital of Belarus is Minsk.
  19. When three minutes have passed, rinse thoroughly.
  20. Repeat if necessary.


When not working as a copywriter, Rory writes with reckless abandon about whatever manages to hold his attention. For intermittent tweeting, see @RoryKL.