Ever since I first visited a barber with the expectation that the barber would cut my hair wedgelike to resemble icon of 80’s style, Simon le Bon, and, later, mulletlike à la Limahl, I have believed in the power and skill of a hairdressers ability to transform us.
Over the years, following many failed attempts to mimic my heroes – ostensibly because I have curly hair and all of the hairstyles of my youth required hair as straight as a Fox umbrella stick – I grew to love the mere visit to the barbers, not least because of the promise that it held, but because I found the whole process to be therapeutic.
You see, I have long since believed that barbers are the male spa, the final bastion of gentility afforded us chaps; a place where we can take shelter from the world, discuss our personal tastes over a cup of tea or coffee, and let time pass us by whilst in the hands of an artisan, an expert in their field.
Bangshanky, barbers of choice for Bristol’s local tailor, is but a stones throw from Brown in Town HQ at the Hotel du Vin, and one need only saunter up the historical Christmas Steps to Colston St. to have my ears lowered. Even the journey to their premises is a catharsis as it takes in one of my favourite passageways in the world, a hidden gem filled with boutiques like Weber & Trings liquor store and until just recently Antlers Gallery whose fine artworks adorn the walls of Bangshanky’s shiny new interior – it is like stepping back in time!
And, whilst the days before appointments, of just sitting and waiting one’s turn for a haircut may be long gone, there is, for me, nothing quite like being afforded 10 minutes to yourself to read the array of gentlemen’s quarterlies, and other more avant garde reading material in reception, and possibly get inspiration for one’s haircut.
Now, before you all go waving a picture of David Beckham’s latest coiffure at your barber, when it may not be possible to work miracles, I strongly suggest that you consider the reasons why you have chosen your particular barber and then consider relinquishing your own artistic control and entrusting them to do the job for which you are paying them i.e. cutting your hair.
And, while we are on the subject, the same goes for your tailor who likes nothing more than to be afforded the opportunity to make you look as good as is humanly possible – yes, tailors are only human, and, moreover, only as good as the last suit they made – and it pays dividends to listen to the suggestions of your tailor when it comes to dressing you, whether in your wedding suit, you business suit, your tails, your tuxedo or your sports coat, jacket or blazer.
From experience, and I know I speak for Neil my barber, there is no more rewarding a relationship between service provider and customer than one based on trust. That you trust us to do our best by you.
And it gives me great pleasure not only to introduce you to the services of Bangshanky, but also to inform you that they will be scribing a guest column in the very near future. Something I have desired for some time.
I leave you with the words of one of my customers who heads up the Somerset and Avon Fire Service, whose wedding suit I made, and, as is part of my consultation process, asked him questions pertaining to suit design, cut, details etc. to which he responded “My betrothed has given me instructions that my wedding suit must be grey, the rest is up to you David, for if I attended a fire at your house, I would not expect you to tell me how to put it out – not if you wanted it extinguished anyway.”