ONE liked to listen to John Laws, while the other likes a bit of Cold Chisel.
But there is one thing in common between barbers John Hardcastle and Anthony Staines – they both love a shave and a haircut.
It’s been a real changing of the guard at shop 8d in Bourke St in recent weeks with the closure of John’s business paving the way for the next generation in Anthony’s.
Now enjoying his retirement, John put in 40 years wielding the scissors in the little shopfront and has passed the torch, and the keys to the new barber in town.
Taking up an apprenticeship at age 18 with a friendly Italian named Angelo in his home town of Cowra, Anthony learnt the tricks of the trade from an old hand.
“He was a hard boss but a great barber,” Anthony said.
Sweeping up hair and cleaning windows, the young apprentice watched his boss wield the scissors and use the cut-throat razor to shave his clients, a skill that has gone out of fashion in today’s world.
“Too many bumps and grooves – it’s pretty hard to beat a Mach III these days,” he said.
Anthony said his inner creative side had a hand in him learning the trade. All his brothers were tradesmen and he didn’t think he’d enjoy the same work. A songwriter and musician in his spare time, he said he planned to bring a musical touch to his retro-styled shop.
“I will definitely have the electric guitar up there on the wall soon, and maybe a few old music posters.”
After completing his apprenticeship, the young barber took a break, moving to Tamworth with wife Jacinta and his two sons and working his way up to a management position at Specsavers.
But he couldn’t escape the calling, returning to the trade he calls “his first love” and opening the doors to Headlines at the beginning of August, just a few short weeks after John closed the doors.
Offering traditional techniques with a modern twist, he plans to embrace old-school moves such as the cut-throat razor and scissors-over-comb techniques.
Kids’ styles are his signature, as his own two boys come in for a handy bit of practise, often getting a bit of “product” and a style session in the morning.
There’s been a shift in men’s hairstyling of late, with traditional barber shops getting fewer as men visit hairdressers for their monthly chop.
“A few years ago it was taboo for a man to get his hair cut at a hairdressers. Now it’s quite common. Dads used to consider it a rite of passage to take their kids to the barber shop,” Anthony said.
One thing hasn’t changed and that’s the unspoken rule of barbering: what is said in the chair, stays in the chair.
“It’s an immediate trust between the barber and the client. Some say that barbers and taxi drivers should be running the country with all the things you’re told at work,” he said.
He’s looking forward to a long career, and with most of his customers devotees of his former barbering friend John, the new kid in town is well on his way.
“They are very supportive,” Anthony said.