Tuesday, 18 June 2013


One of the main features of having hair like mine is that I don’t really have much choice in haircuts. At best I have two options that I can select from.

a) - Short
b) - Afro 

Unfortunately my job precludes the latter so I’m pretty well down to one. The big benefit of having a haircut that is described to the prospective contractor as a single digit number is that pretty well anyone can do it and therefore, rather than having to select my barber based on skill and ability to execute complex coiffuring techniques, I can choose based on entertainment value alone.

I used to go to a top establishment just around the corner from where my office was located. The guy who ran the joint had a number of enormous racy artworks on the wall that would’ve got Christian Grey’s approval and piano in the shop that was given to him by an elderly neighbour for reasons that were never made clear. He would regularly stop midway through running the clippers over my head to have a shot on the bongos at the back of the shop. This is not a euphemism. Conversations ran from drunken archery exploits to lurid fights with landlords.

After I’d left to get A Real Job, it just wasn’t feasible to get to his shop anymore and I had a spell at a normal hairdressers with normal people and normal conversations. Then I found a new home.

I knew it was right for me from the very first haircut. The guy doing my hair spoke almost no English as far as I could tell. I held up three fingers, he nodded, smiled and went for the clippers. A good start. The TV in the corner of the shop was playing Bhangra and as he clippered away at my head he decided to join in enthusiastically with the singing and the dancing and teh shoulder-waggling, all whilst mostly avoiding my ears. Lovely.

So last weekend I took The Boy Wonder to get a haircut. I explained to the chap that I would like his hair to be reasonably short at the back and sides, but still with a bit of length on the top, just a bit of tidying up and some left on the fringe please. He smiled and with a look that said “Certainly sir, number 3 it is”, reached for the clippers and set to work.

I sat in the waiting chair, and free from the fear of losing an ear to the clippers for the first time, actually took a good look around the shop. The TV was playing a music video that was like a cross between a Kanye West video and a Bollywood movie – unfortunately the lyrics were entirely lost on me but the gist of the song appeared to revolve around a lovely lady who needed to decide which man was right for her – the wealthy business man, the shy geek, or the bad boy. In the end the surprise winner was a chappy with a six pack, a jacket with no armpits and a penchant for wearing every primary colour at the same time (I assume he was he pop star responsible for the video). It was ace.

Next to the TV was a large LED sign with the legend “Now Servig” (sic).

After a few minutes the bewildered but freshly shorn Boy Wonder was offered a lollypop. He still had a fringe of sorts, which I took to be a small victory, so we paid and headed for the door. As we were leaving I overheard the next occupant of the chair explaining that that he was a huge fan of Formula One racing and was going to watch next weekend. He went on to ask if the barber could clip “Button” into the back of his hair to show his support for Jenson. As we reached the door I looked back over my shoulder to see our man flashing his best “Number 3 Sir” smile and reaching for the clippers.

So If you see an angry looking chap in the crowds with “Go Jimson Bitten” writ large in the back of his hair, you’ll know why.