Alan Bennett, 6 January 2022
27 February. The hair is getting to be a problem. As children, my brother and I had our hair cut at Mr Shaw’s, the barber on Armley Moor Top in Leeds. It was a wearisome business, after school when the shop was always full. Mr Shaw, who was bald, never condescended to talk to us children, who in any case were rapt in Everybody’s and Picture Post and even the occasional Lilliput. When we lived in Headingley it was Mr Oddy on Shire Oak Street, another bald and taciturn fellow but with classier magazines, in particular Britannia and Eve, notable for illustrations of bare-breasted ladies driving chariots, in the genteel porn that was the speciality of Fortunino Matania. My dad had his hair cut on the same parade as his butcher’s shop in Meanwood, though never to the satisfaction of my mother, who claimed he came home ‘looking like a scraped cock’. She meant a plucked fowl, but had no thought of being misunderstood. Today’s barber is my partner, Rupert Thomas, who, while professing to admire my abundant locks, manages to make me look like a blond Hitler. He was also wondering if he could save the offcuts in case they might find a market on eBay.