by Nigel Tibbs

on 01 Nov 07

from The Bishopston Society

Vincenzos (Vince) has been cutting hair on the Gloucester Road for 40 years. He is well known to many local people including myself and my (now grown up) three sons. Many have particular memories, such as Dot, who now lives in Redland but works as a volunteer in Amnesty Bookshop. She remembers taking a reluctant teenage son to his original barbers shop on the other side of the road. This sounds like one of those probably countless occasions where Vince’s diplomatic skills were called upon.

Vince was born in Sicily and arrived in England in 1961: “I hated it and moved straight up to Harrogate to work. The family were lovely but it was so bloody cold. I had a friend in Bristol who said the weather was better down here, so I moved. In 1963 it was so cold, it seemed to snow for three or four months. I started cutting hair on the Gloucester Road in 1967. We opened this shop in 1990. My son Franco and friend Pino work with me. My other son Giuseppe cuts hair at another hairdressers on the road, so all the family is here. We dress smartly because people will see us from the street. The basics of hairdressing never change but styles certainly do. In the 1960s we did short back and sides and then the Beatles came in and everyone wanted long hair and sideburns."

"I don’t think the High Street will disappear. If you provide good service people will come. Of course there will always be shops that are not strong enough to support themselves and will close but the high street will survive. It’s down to how we provide a service to customers.”

We decided to go Sicily in early October, coincidentally the same time as Vince and his wife Trina were about to make one of their regular visits to the island. We turned up at his family house near Ribera (where they hope soon to spend more time) just as they were getting ready for their return journey. We were soon all having coffee and cakes on the veranda! Vince and Trina showed us around their garden and we went away with some freshly picked lemons and grapes and a pomegranate. Back in Bristol, we made some cakes with lemon icing.........