The Passport Office is to introduce a new service that offers holders the opportunity to have their passport photographs instantly given that familiar, embarrassingly out-of-date look.
Passport Office spokesperson Caroline Lambert says "All passport photographs are doomed to age badly and become a source of embarrassment so we feel that it's better to get it over with straightaway and minimalise the pain. The great thing about our new service is that it offers a wide variety of horribly dated hairstyles, make-up and fashion accessories thereby giving the user considerable creative conrol over their inevitable shame.
"Our software analyses a huge fashion database that goes all the way back to the nineteen-sixties and enables the customer to try out any number of styles before settling on the least depressing option. We briefly considered going even further back than the nineteen-sixties but we soon realised that nobody's that old," says the twenty-eight year old.
Even a brief perusal of the database uncovers a veritable banquet of retro coiffure hell - bubble perms, mullets, beehives, affros, jheri curls, caesers, "rachels" and much more besides. All hair is contained in the database together with a wide selection of facial hair disasters from handlebar to goatee to full-on hippy offering an almost endless choice of follically unfashionable hilarity.
Ms Lambert suggests that those of a nervous disposition would be wise to restrict their choices to more recent decades whilst hardier souls may consider pushing the envelope and going for a total seventies horror show complete with neckerchief and hang glider collar. Ms Lambert herself has been seduced by the eighties and has opted for a massive powerperm enhanced with electric blue eyeliner and earrings down to the shoulder whilst her partner, having briefly dabbled with the legendary mullet, soon became fascinated by the concept of asymmetric hair and has since gone for a full Phil Oakey.
Passport holders will, however, be delighted to hear that one essential element of the passport photograph will remain unchanged. Ms Lambert has these reassuring words. "No matter which of our many retro styles you choose to adopt I can absolutely guarantee that your passport photograph will still make you look like a scary dead-eyed psychopath."