Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Scissors of Navarone

The man with the blades looks like Anthony Quinn in the Guns of Navarone. I'm pretty sure he's killed a man. With his bare hands. He wears a loose denim shirt buttoned to his sternum. Thick chest hair sprouts above. His trousers are secured by a belt of worn tan leather the end of which sways serpentine. He has narrow eyes, tobacco stained hands and big pair of scissors.

There are at least two people in the world a man should be able to trust absolutely. His mother and his barber. Question is, would I trust Anthony Quinn?

Studying in London, but having my home up north, I generally plan my protein purge around trips back where my hair is cut in a small room behind a garage by one of three men -- leather jerkin, pipe-smoking marathon runner or ex-teddy boy. All of whom think my name is Alexander. I am not sure why. They cut my hair considerately, neatly and cheaply. They have my trust.

Quinn orders me to hang my coat up and directs me to a chair. I can handle a certain brusqueness if the service stands for itself. The cut is a little too quick, and the odd hair is plucked rather than cut from my head. Sharper scissors would solve that problem. When he thinks he has finished he whips the mirror from the shelf in front of us and holds it behind my head. Oh, the back of my head. A delightful thing to behold, I shall never tire of it. I request a little more off the top. Quinn asks me how much; 'A centimetre? Half an inch in your English?'. This sceptered isle has been on metric for some time, but I'm a sucker for imperial measurements so I let it slide. I have no idea how much more. I just want it thinning out. Leather jerkin would just get on with it. Pipe-smoking marathon runner would get it right first time. I ask for half an inch in my English.

I emerge an all too short time later with a cut that should do. I trust Quinn to destroy gun emplacements of the Axis, but not to cut my hair. My search continues.

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