(An animated sequence that leads us to a suburban hairdressing
salon. A customer comes in. The barber is standing in a white coat
washing his hands at a basin.)
Barber: (flinching slightly) Ah ... good morning
sir, good morning. I'll be with you in a minute.
(Customer sits in barber's chair. Barber carries on washing.
He seems to be over-thoroughly washing and rewashing his hands and
lower arms. Barber turns and smiles humorlessly, at customer. At
last he has finished washing. He dries his hands thoroughly, turns
and coma over to the customer. There are very obvious blood stains
on his coat and his lapel is torn off One stain could be the mark of
a bloodstained hand which has slipped down the length of it. He
picks up a sheet and shakes it out. Sound of iron and heavy objects
falling on the floor. He throws it around the customer. As he knots
the sheet at the back he and is about to pull it tight and strangle
the customer. His face sweats, a wild look in his eyes. Then with a
supreme effort he controls himself. Customer smiles reassuringly at
Barber: How... how would you like it, sir?
Customer: Just short back and sides please.
Barber: How do you do that?
Customer: Well it's just... ordinary short back and
Barber: It's not a ... razor cut? (suddenly) Razor,
razor, cut, cut, blood, spurt, artery, murder... (controlling
himself) Oh thank God, thank God. (sigh of relief) It's
just a scissors...
Customer: Yes... (laughs, thinking the barber must be
having a little joke)
Barber: You wouldn't rather just have it combed, would you
Customer: I beg your pardon?
Barber: You wouldn't rather forget all about it?
Customer: No, no, no, I want it cut.
(At the word Cut barber winces.)
Barber: Cut, cut, cut, blood, spurt, artery, murder,
Hitchcock, Psycho... right sir ... well ... (swallows hard)
I'll just get everything ready. In the meanwhile perhaps you could
fill in one of these.
(He hands him a bit of paper; the barber goes to a cupboard
and opens it.)
Customer: All right, fine, yes.
(On the inside of the door there is a large medical chart
headed: 'Main Arteries'. His shaking hand traces the arteries and he
looks occasionally back at the customer.)
Customer: Excuse me, er...
Customer: Where it says: 'next of kin' shall I put
Barber: Yes, yes ... yes.
Customer: Right there we are. (hands form to barber)
Barber: Thank you.
(He gets scissors and comb ready and comes up behind the
customer and spreads his arms out, opening and shutting scissors as
barbers do before cutting.)
(He can't bring himself to start cutting; after one or two
attempts he goes to the cupboard again, gets a whisky bottle out and
takes a hard swig. He comes up behind the customer again.)
Barber: Ha, ha, ha ... there, I've finished.
Barber: I've finished cutting... cutting... cutting your
hair. It's all done,
Customer: You haven't started cutting it!
Barber: I have! I did it very quickly... your honor...
Customer: (getting rather testy) Look here old
fellow, I know when a chap's cut my hair and when he hasn't. So will
you please stop fooling around and get on with it.
(The barber bends down to the floor and drags out a tape
recorder which he places behind the barber's chair, talking as he
Barber: Yes, yes, I will, I'm going to cut your hair, sir.
I'm going to start cutting your hair, sir, start cutting now!
(He switches on tape recorder and then he himself cowers down
against the wall as far from the chair as he can get, trembling.)
Tape Recorder: Nice day, sir,
Customer: Yes, flowers could do with a drop of rain
Tape Recorder: (snip, snip) Did you see the match
last night, sir?
Customer: Yes. Good game. I thought.
Tape Recorder: (snip, snip, snip; sound of electric
razor starting up) I thought Hurst played well sir.
Customer: (straining to hear) I beg your pardon?
Tape Recorder: (razor stops) I thought Hurst played
Customer: Oh yes ... yes ... he was the only one who did
Tape Recorder: Call you put your head down a little, sir.
Customer: Sorry, sorry. (his head is bowed)
Tape Recorder: I prefer to watch Palace nowadays.
(electric razor starts up again) Oh! Sorry! Was that your ear?
Customer: No no ... I didn't feel a thing.
(The customer rises out from his seat, taking the sheet off
himself and looking in the mirror and delving into pocket. He turns
round for the first time and sees the cowering barber)
Customer: Look, what's going on?
Tape Recorder: Yes, it's a nice spot, isn't it.
Customer: Look, I came here for a haircut!
Barber: (pathetically) It looks very nice sir.
Customer: (angrily) It's exactly the same as when I
first came in.
Tape Recorder: Right, that's the lot then.
Barber: All right ... I confess I haven't cut your hair
... I hate cutting hair. I have this terrible un-un-uncontrollable
fear whenever I see hair. When I was a kid I used to hate the sight
of hair being cut. My mother said I was a fool. She said the only
cure for it was to become a barber. So I spent five ghastly years at
the Hairdressers' Training Centre at Totnes. Can you imagine what
it's like cutting the same head for five years? I didn't want to be
a barber anyway. I wanted to be a lumberjack. Leaping from tree to
tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia . . .
(he is gradually straightening up with a visionary gleam in his
eyes) The giant redwood, the larch, the fir, the mighty Scots
pine. (he tears off his barber's jacket, to reveal tartan shirt
and lumberjack trousers underneath; as he speaks the lights dim
behind him and a choir of Mounties is heard, faintly in the
distance) The smell of fresh-cut timber! The crash of mighty
trees! (moves to stand in front of back-drop of Canadian
mountains and forests) With my best girlie by my side ... (a
frail adoring blonde, the heroine of many a mountains film, or
perhaps the rebel maid, rushes to his side and looks adoringly into
his eyes) We'd sing ... sing ... sing.
(The choir is loud by now and music as well.)