Barbers

itinerant_barber

I had my hair cut today. My barnet is now so reduced that I’ve eschewed my hairdresser in favour of a barber whose services are a third of the price. Soon clippers will suffice and I’ll be able to skip the chair once and for all.

It’s a thought that leaves me sad.

I can remember my grandfather taking my cousin and I to get haircuts when we were young boys, five or six or so. He took us to a place called Don and Dario’s, Italian brothers whose trade was decimated when the local Marconi’s factory was closed. I was young. The memories are hazy. I remember looking at the newspapers and periodicals, feeling overawed. I also remember Paul Hardcastle’s 19 playing on the radio one time.

As the years passed, we got too old for our grandfather to take us. I went to a place in the town centre called Cutmore’s. A smoky little room at the top of a flight of stairs off an alleyway.

I went there the last time I went back to England. I think I wanted to see if I could remember. Much was familiar: the dated pictures of men’s hairstyles, the linoleum, worn and discoloured around the chairs from the barbers’ gentle tread, the haphazard formation of combs and scissors on the counter. Dax wax in blue tins, neck brushes, Wahl clippers and tissue boxes. My hair on the floor.

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