More than just a place to get a quick tidy up or hair cut, Archie’s has always been a refuge of supportive, old-school manliness in a rapidly modernising world.
With his own elegantly styled salt-and-pepper short-back-and sides, gently nebulous European accent blended with Australian twang, and maroon stereotype barber’s jacket, Archie himself has been operating out of the same side-street nook for at least the last four decades. From there he provides a sympathetic ear, an avuncular presence and a wit as sharp as his straight edge razor.
Never married (he describes himself in enigmatic, self-effacing style as “a confirmed bachelor, as they used to call us”) he is nevertheless quietly respected in the community as a relationship counsellor, a dating coach, parenting advisor, even an investment consultant and much more, even if his “regulars” would be hard pressed to recall what Archie had contributed to the discussion.
I sit in his comfortable, client-worn chair to talk to him today, and he – habitually – hovers behind me, talking over my shoulder to me in the mirror “Most people”, he confides, “know the right thing to do. They just need someone who won’t tell them not to do it.”
He adds, with a wry smile and a sparkle in his eyes “Just don’t talk about… man-buns. There are limits of course, dear boy.”