'And finally, not everyone’s being doing topical. In fact, here’s the rather lovely 6 Oxgangs Avenue devoted to the history of the development of the area, this week highlighting how the block of flats came into being. Could have been prompted by Who do you think you are? Or just a timely reminder that not everything worth blogging about is in the here and now.'

Kate Higgins, Scottish Roundup 26/08/2012

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Airfix, Cellophane and a Ben-Mackenzie!

When do you know you've really made it as a businessman? In the days leading up to the start of school in August after the school summer holidays Iain and I, like the Hanlons and dozens of other little boys would be taken up the hill to Ben Mackenzie's to get our hair cut to look smart for our return to school for the start of another school year. Despite some of the images produced over the years by artists I enjoyed the whole experience.

Ben's shop was located at the back of the Oxgangs Broadway shops on the south facing side. It was the furthest away shop from The Stair. Ben was a great advert for his business-he was neat, immaculate and dapper, with brylcreamed grey hair and a little moustache-he was a walking advertisement for his profession.

We usually had to sit in a queue in his shop but there were always decent comics to sit and read. Also older men would 'pull your leg' whilst chatting up the mothers-it was my mother who usually always took us along. When the great moment arrived to have your hair cut, because we were small we had to sit on this little cross bench which was laid across the arm rests of the barber's chair which I thought was pretty cool.

Ben was never this bad, but the barber bears more than a passing resemblance to Ben!

Ben would set to work and the haircut was always finished off with some 'jungle juice' which he plastered one's hair down with-as I had wavy hair I liked this and regretted it never stayed that way for long.

We were never allowed number ones which the Hanlons got. The only way we ever got a number one was when Iain and I gave ourselves haircuts at home one day when my mother was out at work!

Anyway, when you returned to school, the opening remarks or soubriquet from your pals was, 'Aye Peter, ah see you've had a Ben Mackenzie!'

When you're name becomes a trademark, that's when you've really made it in business!

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