Chris The Barber, The Circle, Altona
It’s a beautifully sunny early spring day.
I breeze in to say hello to Chris The Barber.
I’ve been here for a haircut before, though he doesn’t remember me.
He’s one of the old-school barbers I revere and – sort of – collect.
They’re a dying breed.
I have it in the back of my mind to start a blog one day that will “collect” them. That’s something I may or may not get around to.
I have used the services of such man all over of Melbourne in all my time in the city.
They’re often of Greek or Italian extraction, although this year I’ve had a couple of “zero all over” cuts from an African gent in Flemington.
They recall for me barbers of my New Zealand childhood, it being very memorable that those establishments usually had lying arorund scruffy back copies of racy, slightly risqué mags such as Man.
Chris is the very epitome of his kind – kind, full of good humour and whatever the Greek word is for blarney.
He’s been in the game for 50 years.
He has posters of Bulldog teams of yore plastered on his walls.
I’ve never got the hang of shaving/cutting my own hair, most commonly these days scoring a $9 haircut in Vietnamese Footscray about once a month.
But somehow my grey locks have become what is for me quite shaggy, and as Chris has bugger all customers and I have plenty of time, I opt for something rare in my life these days – a head shave for $20.
What a treat!
I shaved my mush the previous day, but if I so desired I could have that done, too, for a superb extra $2.
After quickly clipping my fuzzy dome, Chris shaves it just once after lathering me up and unsheathing a fresh open blade.
But he’s slow, methodical and very, very good.
The result is as close to a baby’s bottom as any part of me is ever likely to be ever again.
And if it lasts an extra couple of weeks over and above my usual “zero all over” job, it’ll be worth every cent of my $20.
Anyway, that’s what I tell myself as I depart with a smile.