After a long hiatus, I got a haircut yesterday. I went to The Wacky Barber in Clerkenwell. Although it’s neither close to my university or my home, I just figured it was the right spot.


  • I love Clerkenwell
  • They offer a student discount, and
  • It’s called The Wacky Barber, for fuck’s sake.

The font on the signage is decidedly modern, but the decor is honest kitsch – notice the barber pole in the photo. Inside it was piled with quirky signs, a dart board, loud music and a bar fridge. Kind of how I imagine the bachelor pad of a a recent lottery-winner would be. A well-appointed Man Cave.

I was sure that this was an historic establishment. A revamp of the barber shop that has been in this merchant class trading area of central London for hundreds of years, up the street from the butcher market of Smithfield; the place where butchers and haberdashers got their moustaches waxed by some outrageous penny-farthing riding fatman in Victorian times; ‘The Wacky Barber’ name a nod to the honest-to-goodness zaniness of the barber who founded the shop, in days of yore.

I was promptly corrected: the place is 2.5 years old. My romantic fantasy shattered. Then it got worse.

The ‘how would you like it?’ banter I got into with my stylist was awfully strained. She got tripped up on some words – including the word ‘short’. I tried unsuccessfully to smoothly work in some haircutting terms – like ‘texture’ and ‘straight-razor’. Like a true professional, she guided us to the next stage by offering me a drink.

I asked for water; she suggested a cold bottle of Carlsberg from the bar fridge. I broke into a big smile.

Having a beer while getting my haircut in a proper establishment wasn’t something that had occurred to me. The title of ‘place I go to get my hair cut in London’ just became theirs to lose again.

They did not lose it.

  • She spent the remainder of our time talking me through my quest to pick an English football team. We didn’t solve the issue, but it was nice that she cared enough to try and steer me straight.
  • She put two gold stars on my loyalty card.
  • Plus, if you thought I was handsome before… well, you should see me now that I no longer look like I’m wearing a scraggly alleycat as a hat.