Personal Histories: In Search Of A Decent Haircut


Perhaps the best thing about the QUIMS meetings is coming across a golden nuggat that might have slipped through your musical net. When we had the ‘Geography‘ meeting, Jez brought along an LP by ‘Surfin Dave and the Absent Legends’ as his Leeds choice. The LP “In search of a decent haircut” was a winner. I didn’t know it but I did recognised the barbers on the cover “That’s where I get my haircut in Chapel Allerton!”. With sleevenotes by Andy Kershaw the LP was something of an indie cult in the 80’s. I mentioned the LP when I was next in the barbers (£8 for a number 2 with a 4 on top) and the new owner was unaware of it, but he was interested to see it as he was planning to restore the shop window to how it used to be.

A couple of months later, a patient comes in to see me and we get chatting about his posture as a possible cause of his hip arthritis…. “Well I did cut hair for 40 years and you tend to lean on one leg” “Where did you work?” “I had a shop up the road in Chapel Allerton”………“It wasn’t once on an album cover was it?” “Yes it was!” and that’s how I met Norman, a true gent. He brought me in a photo of him infront of his shop in its heyday.


His dad cut hair before him from a shop at the back of Leeds town hall. All the big bands who played there would come and get there hair cut before the show, Count Bassie….etc. “We’d always stay open til 7pm in those days so they could all look smart”. Turns out his brother used to book bands for the Marquee in London in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – everyone from Jimi Hendrix to U2…..”Not as good as those Big Bands though”.

I’m glad to say Surfin Dave is still at it – go and see him if you can……

joy_division barbers

I used to get my haircut here, behind Manchester Cathedral in the 80’s (when I had hair) which is why I love this shot of Joy Division so much.


This entry was posted in Personal Histories. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Personal Histories: In Search Of A Decent Haircut

  1. Jez says:

    I bought this album after seeing Surfin Dave support Billy Bragg in 84/85? Perhaps it influenced me to attend Leeds Uni in 1986? Perhaps it influenced me to get my haircut by Norman at Phil’s Barber Shop in the 90s? I dunno. Still love the music though….


Leave a Reply to Jez Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.