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"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Thursday, 19 November 2015

A half-century of cutting hair in SW9 – Andy, the barber of Landor Road, tells his story

After a couple of weeks of increasingly depressing news about the future of Lambeth's most valuable branch libraries, what a massive relief it is to listen to sanity - the voice of the best mens' hairdresser in all the important SW postcodes.

After 50 years of cutting the hair of just about every bloke in the Clapham
North and Stockwell (west) areas, as well as Ferndale Road, west Brixton
 and much further afield, Andy the barber  of Landor Road is retiring.  Now,
thanks to a great local broadcaster, we can listen to Andy in perpetuity.
Yep, I'm off: this is about one of my favourite subjects. Andy, the legendary Greek Cypriot barber of Landor Road, who is on the verge of retiring, has been interviewed by another legend - the SW8 broadcaster, Daniel Ruiz Tison, famous for his ResonanceFM show amongst much else.

The first part of this free-ranging conversation with Andy and many of his customers, is available now.

It's an audio treat for anyone with any interest whatsoever in this area, or in the social history of London, or in the business of cutting hair, or in being human…

Listening to this just now, it was almost as if I was in the chair, I could almost hear the buzzing of the clippers. I could almost feel that sense of relief I always get as the grizzly overgrown bits of my wayward barnet are expertly harvested. The movements so swift and precise, you hardly realise it's happening.

And Andy holding forth, on whatever topic took his fancy. Not just football and Chelsea's latest disasters. Not just the cost of keeping an old Mercedes on the road. Not just the joys and pains of gardening and keeping an allotment, not just the craziness of local government bureaucracy.

 Last time, it was the good sense the ancient Greeks had to have a dozen gods (one for everything that mattered, and one left over for anything else).

Soon, this brilliant bit of online radio, or podcasting, or whatever you call it - will be all we have left to remind us of the hours we spent at Andy's barbershop on Landor Road.

Because, as is by now known across the nation, Andy is really and truly about to retire, and go back to live in his native Cyprus. This is what he has told me for years, and this time I know it is really happening.

Catch the programme now, and if you live within a day or two's travelling distance of Landor Road (Clapham North or Brixton or Stockwell tube stations, 322 bus) and need a haircut, well, Andy is your man.

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