CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

And finally… we can get back to cutting hair

Sir Trevor McDonald is one of the first customers back in the chair at Ossie's

09 July, 2020 — By Dan Carrier

Erol and Ossie Mehmet welcome broadcasting legend Sir Trevor McDonald back into the barber’s shop

BARBERS and hairdressers had queues of customers this week after being allowed to reopen for the first time in three months – but warned there was a lot of catching up to do after being forced to close for so long.

Ossie Mehmet, who runs Ossie’s in Parkway, Camden Town with his son Erol, said they still had to pay rent despite no money coming in from haircuts. With people desperate to get their shaggy locks from lockdown cut, the father and son worked through 100 customers on Sunday.

And yesterday (Wednesday), one of their most recognisable customers was back in the chair. News anchor and documentary maker Sir Trevor McDonald has been a customer for more than 40 years. Mr Mehmet first cut the journalist’s hair when he was only 19 and working in Holloway.

He said: “It was very, very busy at the weekend – we are so very pleased, and so are our customers. It was manic. So far, so good. “We have customers we are mates with and when they came in, you wanted to give them a cuddle but you couldn’t, but it was lovely to be back.”

Over the years, the salon has also cut the hair of Suggs and members of Madness, former Arsenal stars Jack Wilshere and Robin Van Persie and the playwright Alan Bennett.

New advice issued by the Salon Standards Agency and the Hairdressers Federation mean they cannot provide one of their trademark hot towel shaves, however, and they use disposable PPE for every customer, including single use cutting capes for each trim.

Sir Trevor grabs a paper during his visit for a haircut

Mr Mehmet said: “We aren’t allowed to shave beards. We’ll only be allowed to do goatees – we have been told not to be in front of the face as the mouth is the danger area.” The family say they became stuck financially about a month ago and have had no help from their landlord, despite attempts to restructure rent payments.

Mr Mehmet said: “We received a grant from Camden and they have also waived business rates, but our landlord has been no help. He added: “We are in a hole. If we’d been able to come back a month ago, we’d be OK, but we couldn’t cut hair privately, so we had no way to make any money at all.”

Mr Mehmet celebrated 45 years as a hairdresser last year although says it is closer to 50 as he first learned to cut hair aged 12 growing up in northern Cyprus.

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