I miss the days when the rather fabulous Martin Holmes was my stylist. Now that I am reduced to infrequent haircuts at random locations, whenever I visit a barber, my luscious glory exists in a state akin to quantum uncertainty. It could go from flowing uncontrollably to the patchy static buzz of bughouse patient in a few short minutes.
Having reached the length where my collar had long since disappeared, I decided today that the mane needed taming. The nearest place for a cut at the moment I reached this verdict was Clipper of the Yard. Nestled next to New Scotland Yard in Dacre Street, it is firmly established as the unofficial hairdresser to the Metropolitan Police HQ. It probably deserves to have a Met warrant, its window emblazoned with the same design used on the constantly rotating sign of its neighbour.
Wander in with boots, dark trousers and a blue shirt and the other patrons tend to assume you are a copper. Banter about transfers and the latest stuff-up by the CPS or SCD8 can come in your direction. You cannot really expect less of a place when its obligatory celebrity endorsement photo on the wall is of Leonard ‘Nipper of the Yard’ Read.
Clipper of the Yard has an undeniable feel of the early eighties; all black, white and chrome with leather sofas. The sexist nudge-nudge wink-wink chat between coppers when the stylists are preoccupied is avatism perfectly in keeping with the décor. At any given moment you expect Gene Hunt in his Ashes To Ashes incarnation to open the door, sit beside you and start telling you how he only comes in hear to have his: “Bonce banged by the Polish bird’s boobs.”
My few minutes in the chair are functional. I do not feel like chatting. There is no energy in me for small talk. Directions are given and inches of hair come away. First my collar, then my ears reappear. Tonsorial archaeology. I walk away, the proud owner of a police haircut.