Photo by David Dawson

Cutting Dad's Hair

Every now and then when I was round at my father’s studio where he lived, he
would pick up the phone and call his barber, who worked from the Berkeley
Hotel. ‘Paul, I’m getting rather shaggy, can you fit me in?’ After some years I think
Paul paid home visits to tend to my dad’s remarkably good hair. Until eventually
there was no more Paul, and to my surprise my father asked me if I would cut his
hair. I had only cut hair once or twice and looked upon it as an almost magical
process. I got a few tips from the top guy Josh Wood who explained about
keeping it shorter at the sides and leaving it slightly longer on top – and I
stepped into my role. The first cut took an hour and a half but the result was a
success: a kind of Hoxton fin in grey. Dad was very pleased. It was the first time I
had really touched him, apart from him snatching my arm and flinging me
through the traffic when he crossed the road, not at a zebra crossing - ever. I felt
my way with the haircut just as much by looking as by running my fingers
endlessly over his head and through his fine hair to check the length matched. He
would doze on and off. It was so important to me to make sure he looked great as
he became old. David Dawson took these photos.

Photo by David Dawson
Photo by David Dawson