on a slightly dipping shelf above the mirror whil
e a grey leather couch sits in front of the window. Embroidered with “Lucky’s Hair Design”, the couch is clean but well used. Cracks in the seating have begun to appear with the underneath padding protruding through the most sat-on areas – it’s symbolic of the barber shop itself; well-used but comfortable, modest but popular. As the morning transitions into the afternoon, the barbershop gets busier. Now there are five barbers, all cutting hair with a queue of clients waiting patiently on the grey leather couch. And as the day progresses, so does the atmosphere. Conversations are loud and jovial, Afrobeat music plays over a single powerful speaker and the front door is left wide open, inviting people in for a haircut, chat and oftentimes both. Amos Fatogun has come with his family. He says that it’s the first time he’s visited Lucky’s shop but his wife, Bola, has brought their two sons here for the past two years. “The white barbers just don’t cut the hair the same way,” he says after his cut. “It’s like being back in Africa here.” Fatogun and his family are originally from Nigeria but now live in Lucan. Although it’s a long way to come just for a trim, Fatogun says it’s been worth it. “Will you stay around the city for the rest of the afternoon?” I ask. “No,” he says, the family car needs fixing so they’re heading straight back home. While waiting for his turn, another customer, Aon-Badmos Smith, who came with his son Ghaffar, can be overheard discussing the inflated rental prices in the city. He claims that Dublin is now the second most expensive city in Europe to rent in, but another patron disagrees and retorts. Conversations like Smith’s are regularly layered on top of each other while the shop is in full flow. The buzz of the razors and beat of the music provide the perfect backdrop for animated chatter and it is often difficult to distinguish who is engaged in what topic. Barbers and clients appear to drop in and out of different discussions at will – sometimes chatting politics, sometimes sport and sometimes anything else. One of the barbers, Idrisse Mahirwe, is the quietest of Lucky’s employees and indeed, clients. Between customers he often sinks back into his chair and gazes at the mirror, almost sombre-like. Although he’s not the chattiest, Mahirwe is one of Gaspard’s most experienced barbers, having known him nearly ten years. ➝ 48 The white barbers just don’t cut the hair the same way. It’s like being back in Africa here.