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Located on New Cross Road between the train stations, you will find a charming little barbershop named Unique Hair Technique by Patrick & Son. The clean exterior made up of a white front with red detailing contrasts the busy interior decorated with souvenirs that customers bring back from their holidays to gift their favourite barber. Inside, there are racks filled with holiday memento keychains, but the highlight of souvenirs is the salon’s left-hand wall. The entire wall is plastered in bank notes from all over the world, including 5 Jamaican Dollars (£0.03), 1000 Drachma (£2.62) from pre-Euro Greece, and 10 Zambian Kwacha (£0.61). Pat, the owner tells us that there are currencies, old and new, from at least 30 different countries.

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“There are always people who come in and ask ‘Can I take it? Can I take the wall?’”
Pat
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Patrick, or Pat as he is lovingly called by all of his customers is originally from Trinidad, where he followed his Uncle’s footsteps and under his guidance learned the craft of barbering. When he came to England in 1963, he began attending a hairdressing school in order to get his qualifications. Soon enough he was moving around London on the hunt for the perfect place to start his business, and New Cross offered him just that.

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But it wasn’t just the neighbourhood that offered Pat a location, as it turns out it was Pat who would  go on to offer the neighbourhood a warm and relaxing space in which a palpable sense of community was fostered. While our team was interviewing Pat, several of his customers requested to be on record to share their personal stories about how Pat and his salon have impacted their lives, the area, and the feeling of community. And as much as Pat being a great man and a true anchor of the community are moving testimonies to his character, the most indisputable clue to his communal significance is the fact that his customers more often than not have family members of different generations who across decades have all continuously trusted Pat with their heads.

COLAGE
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Credits

Film + Photographs Aris Akritidis
Interview Katharina Lina
Special Thanks Pat at Unique Hair Technique, 330 New Cross Rd, London SE146PP

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