You know those nonsense hair salons which dress the place up to look like a high-end brothel and then ply you with booze to cloud your judgement so that you’re more than happy –and wasted- whilst shelling out £95 for a haircut which makes you look like Pat Sharpe? They’re utter balls. If you’re sick of having to curb your disco-spending to afford to tame your mane, I’ve got just the solution you’re looking for. The General’s Barbershop in Hackney will pimp the hell out of your head fuzz without taking you for an absolute mug. They’ve exchanged all the farcical smoke-and-mirrors (well, not the mirrors – they’re a fairly important part of any hair-styling establishment) for talented scissor-wielders and more effortlessly cool style than you can shake a comb at.
Get yourself and any head hair you’re sporting down to Netil Market (next to London Fields) where you’ll find Lee, also known as The General. He’s the beard-maintaining, hair-styling, snappy-dressing dude who operates this baller little business out of a shipping container. Add two retro barber’s chairs, some wicked music and a few pairs of antlers and you’ve got yourself the coolest haunt within which to get your hair cut, your beard bossed or all of the above, if you’re feeling particularly unkempt.
Tom went along to have his facial foliage pruned beyond existence and I, too, was welcomed through the see-through plastic-strip heat-curtains to see it all unfold. The lower half of Tom’s face was treated like a hairy king until it resembled a perfectly-shaped, well-conditioned man beard. Even if you walk in there with pathetic pre-pubescent chin-topiary tendencies, I guarantee you’ll emerge with your sprouting sprigs of stubble looking the best they ever have. The General also took to Tom’s face with some bad ass beard lotion, meaning I spent the rest of the day shamelessly burying my nose into his neck (in public places) because it smelt like Christmas.
I went out with a guy once who used to pay £50 for a haircut because they gave him a free beer. What an idiot. Luckily for you lot, The General brews his own beverages – which I had hoped he might call ‘Beerd beer’… but in actual fact is called ‘The General’s Brew’. Christ, he’s cool. Maybe that’s why he gives out beers. Not as a ‘shoddy-salon’ disguise but because The General is the kind of guy you want to sit down and have a pint with.
As if I couldn’t fall any harder for this place, wishing for the first time in my life (and probably the last) that I too had a beard I could have preened, things went from good to freakin’ crazy-town. After all this time of man-pampering – or ‘manpering’ if you will – the price was surprisingly affordable. We’re talking a good thirty minutes of beard combing, trimming, shaving, sculpting, oiling and conditioning, with a hot towel over the eyes and a side-serving of chat. All for a tenner. It’s ridiculous.
All I can hope is that anyone reading this will do the decent thing and pass on this knowledge. Don’t keep it to yourself; share this powerful information with those who need it most: the beard owners of London. They’re in need of an alternative solution to drunkenly cutting their own beard with kitchen scissors during late, lonely nights and you have that answer now. So do something good today; share this with your neighbour, your friend, your brother or with that weird Aunty who was once known as Rod. Make their day, because if karma treats you properly, as a result of sharing this you might never have a rip-off high-end-brothel haircut again. Unless that’s what you’re after.
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