Damien’s a man of scissors and swords

RAZOR SHARP: Damien Noonan, the popular Leongatha barber, has been in business since 1992.

LEONGATHA barber Damien Noonan is a man who plays many roles.

During the day he’s the guy you go to for a buzz cut or to try out any one of the more popular hipster styles; the friendly man who gives your kids 20 cents to buy a gum ball from his retro gum ball machine (he knows it’s not cost effective but, hey, the kids love it).

Catch him after dark and you’ll see another man again – the energised bass player from Drunken Ninja (you can check out their brilliant cover of The Boomtown Rats’ ‘I don’t like Mondays’ on YouTube).

On a weekend he’s unrecognisable: dressed in a full suit of armour (including helmet) and wielding an enormous sword in battle play, as an integral member of the Leongatha Medieval Society.

The proprietor of Razor Sharp has been part of Leongatha’s business community for more than 25 years, having first registered the shop’s name in July 1992.

He worked his apprenticeship with another barber in Korumburra, before deciding the sharpest move he could make was to go it alone.

“Leongatha needed a barber shop. I thought a walk-in barber shop would be a good thing. My mum and dad helped me set it up and I’ve been here ever since,” he said.

“I’ve worn out two sets on lino, and god knows how many chairs and couches. It’s been a long haul and there was a period where I’d drive through road works looking at the stop and go man with envy. But I’ve come full circle. I love my job. It’s really good.  

“Coming to work and talking people is great. People open up about all sorts of stuff, but what you hear ends at the door.

“It’s an unwritten law that you don’t go telling people’s tales. It’s surprising what people will tell you. You almost want to stop them sometimes.”

Aside from being the person people make their confessions to, he is also the person who “meets everyone”, from “lawyers to guys straight out of jail”.

“I should have kept notes and written a book: Tales from the Barbers’ Chair. You get a lot of funny stories.  I think it would be really boring if I was doing all the talking. The trick is to get people to entertain me,” he said.

“You can learn a lot from people.”

He said there was an artistry to the work, along with a certain amount of “public relations” nous.

When it comes to Damien’s younger clientele, there is generally very little guess work. The younger generation are savvy about hairstyles.

“Kids these days really know what they want. You’ll get five year old kids who will come in and say they want a disconnected side with a hard part,” he said. 

 “I try and make it a bit of theatre for the kids. I’ll use Spider Man gel and tell them I’m Spider Man – try and entertain them and make them happy. I give them bubble gum and stick-on tattoos.” 

Their attitude might be modern, but they are looking for something that harkens back to the past.

“These days you find your cuts have gone back to your more traditional styles. The cuts are all 1930s or 1940s style cuts,” he said.

“Bald fades are coming back in. It’s basically your World War II short back and sides, with a little more finesse.”

He’s happy to report: “Guys are really looking after their grooming.”






Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=29560

Posted by on Jul 23 2019. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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