For a couple of months my wife had been asking me to get my hair cut. I finally gave in and headed into town. Go to Supercuts, said my mum, they're cheap and you don't need an appointment. Six years since I last lived here, the last thing I wanted was to fritter hours away searching for the right barber, so to Supercuts I went.
I lasted in there for no more than ten seconds, fifteen at most. Uncomfortably feminine, cheap and tacky, it felt entirely dubious. There were two hairdressers, both in action. One a humongous mama, the other a depressive maniac. Or so it seemed. The mama terrified me and let's face it, would you really submit yourself to a depressive armed to the teeth with scissors and clippers?
To be fair, her long, miserable face was nothing compared to that of a mosquito I saw the other night. The poor bugger was splatted on the tiles above a urinal. Talk about depression, could there be a more depressing fate than that? The little bloodsucker had been lurking in the Marquis waiting for the perfect inebriated target. He spotted an ideally stinky rogue, followed him into the gents, found himself in a dimly-lit under-ventilated wee-splattered hell-hole and was promptly swatted against the porcelain. A lowly death and one to be depressed about.
Supercuts yeah right, I took to my heels and scurried down the street. A few shops further on a ginger painter was lounging about taking a fag break. "Are there any barbers round here?" I asked. He took a long drag, lost in thought for a few seconds. "Couple down East Street," he said, "nothing special," he added, "should cost you a tenner."
"What a nice chap" I thought, my opinions of the human race lifted a notch. I wandered down East Street and sure enough there they were, practically side by side. The first looked preferable with a blue steel style, slick and classy. In truth it was a bit too slick and classy and in reality not classy at all. A Polish girl stood outside smoking. By "Polish" I mean definitely Eastern European and probably Polish. Tattooed to the hilt, long nails, very alternative, slightly off-putting. I entered anyway, never expecting she would be the one to cut my hair.
Snipping and clipping she chewed gum noisily, producing a nauseating cigarette-Spearmint stench. As always I had to take off my glasses meaning I couldn't see a thing. Why didn't I wear contact lenses? she asked. I used to, I explained, but my eyes decided they had had enough. She was worried about being allergic to contact lenses, she had all sorts of allergies, she could only wear silver or gold jewellery. I didn't know what to say, did she mean as opposed to plastic or copper?
It was a riveting conversation, simply riveting. The above passage was carefully formed to illustrate what a skilled conversationalist I am.
A bloke in a black vest wandered in, a total gimp if you ask me. Not Polish (nor Eastern European), just a plain old English yob. He was trying to sell aftershave. Counterfeit aftershave most likely. The Polish owner sent him packing, the vested gimp caused a bit of a fuss. By "Polish" of course I mean definitely Eastern European and probably Polish. By "fuss" I mean he cursed like a miner and spat like a Chav.
I strolled home infinitely pleased. Pleased with the haircut, pleased it only cost a tenner, pleased I hadn't gone to Supercuts. Passing the Marquis I thought of the poor mosquito. An old man stumbled on a paving slab, turned round and glared at it menacingly. If a trip to the barber is this much fun I'll have to go more often.
A helping hand, ca. 1910s
3 hours ago