I came across this rough in my recent clear out of stuff and in many ways think it’s better than the finished drawing that I eventually used for the book. The book in question was called, is called, Some Missing Persons and is a lament for all those types who have now gone.
For this particular drawing I called to memory my own early experiences of visiting barber’s shops in Wigan. For those of you outside the UK, then the place might not be familiar but it is for me. I’ve not been back there for years but in the time when I did live there, there existed barber’s shops like this. Generally very smoky dens with the smell of damp and ‘certain lotions’ that the barber kept for wiping over faces and heads. It did not seem to matter which. In those days there were also miners working in the area, and on a damp day they might go and get a short back and sides. On a less than damp day they might go fishing in one of the local ‘flashes’. Lakes made from tip waste. Lakes they’d made themselves really. It was a lovely community, I hope it still is.
Barbers were also the purveyors of birth control and it was only a few years later that I understood why when one callow youth came into the barber, whispered in his ear, and the barber said: ” Sorry son we don’t sell them in ones”, exactly why the callow youth fled red faced.
Moving on some number of years I managed to find an outpost of old “barbery” in Stroud of all places. There used to be a chap there called Tim who had a similar shop to the ones that I recalled in Wigan. On the wall he had photographs of some of the stars of the ‘sixties’ like the Beatles and Elvis. Biroed onto the photos were the legends, “Great haircut Tim, signed Elvis” and “Cool Cut Tim xxx John Paul George and Ringo”. They all had an uncanny similarity of writing style.