Hairdressers in Cardiff are not my area of expertise. I have never been one for funky haircuts and hipster styles. I have never intentionally buttoned a shirt right to the top without a tie. I don’t have many checked shirts or any skinny jeans. I have no tattoos and my facial hair is weak. As is my head hair. Its thinness has never been conducive to cool things. The crown of my head has been thinning steadily over more years than I care to remember. I still cringe when I see it vindictively shining in photos.
Several months ago I happened across signs in Cardiff city centre pointing to Jones The Barber, based in the Cardiff Castle Emporium – accessible via a missable doorway just off Womanby Street. Ross Jones then ran a stylish seat in an upstairs area of the place, seemed amiable, smart and easy to chat to. The cut was decent too, and several weeks later I decided to return, and I kept returning. That’s the thing about getting a haircut when you’re not all that bothered about your hair. It’s just a functional necessity. You want everything around it to be smooth and comfortable. And with Jones The Barber, it is.
This isn’t to say Jones can do stylish cuts. He absolutely can. I’ve seen pictures. He even sports an enviably decent and nicely styled crop himself.
My supply of hair is ever dwindling, and has been for some time. Now in my mid-thirties, I am of that age and the decision is fast approaching. I did experiment with a buzz-cut around 12 months ago, but found myself even more self-conscious about a coconut resemblance.
Jones The Barber assured me several months ago that I had a while left yet, before I needed to go full Zidane (my words, I’m not sure he understood). But then, it was obviously in his business interests to tell me that…
Chatting with hairdressers can be awkward. All the small talk you feel obliged to conduct, (which you suspect women are probably better at). All the ‘going anywhere nice on your holidays?’ and ‘how’s the weather doing out there?’ Football I am ok on. Although discovering a slight disagreement on a club, player or manager; that can also get awkward. Even worse if the subject goes in a political direction. You never want to strongly disagree with a stranger who’s hovering over your head with sharp implements.
Getting your hair cut is rife with social complexity. Although this can be eased if both you and your hairdresser come to an early unspoken agreement that you will both be virtually mute throughout. Sometimes this is for the best.
With Jones though, this isn’t an issue.
On approaching Womanby Street this week, a sign informed me that Jones had moved to the balcony in Cardiff’s Castle Arcade.
The new Jones The Barber shop is cosily lit, inviting in the dark winter months and stylishly presented. More individual, personal and contained than his last premises, the shop is brilliantly positioned to attract the crowds of Christmas shoppers, and potentially customers of the highly popular indie coffee shop, Coffee Barker.
Here’s hoping a fellow independent business of Cardiff flourishes in his new home.
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