The Barber

The Barber had curly, white hair on his chest. His shirt was always open to the navel so you could see. The tips of some of the hairs were a yellowish brown as if they had been burned with the tip of a cigarette. He had few teeth and fewer customers. The Barber Shop looked like it had been cut out of the wall and the Barber was a burrowing animal. It was a place built by necessity and desire. The Barber and his shop remained me of the swans that sheltered under the bridge below the railway station. He was an old sailor, I imagined.

I borrowed a Super 8 camera from my uncle. This was before I went to film school. I took it along the river. Filming the buildings not yet quite collapsed, the memorial park where the prostitutes worked and “Bargain Town”.

Black and white film, my “Down by Law’.

When I was opposite his shop the Barber came running out. No filming, he insisted, or violence would be the result. I talked about it later to someone or other. “That old guy deals drugs, he doesn’t cut hair.”

They said.

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