Ode to Malpas Paul

Dicky Fox: The key to this business is personal relationships.

- Jerry Maguire

Journalist Simon Usborne has produced a paean to veteran Malpas Road barber Paul Neophytou. Writing in the Independent, he says

I have known Paul for 28 years but only learned his second name this week. "My name is Neophytou," he says while dropping a gown over me at Paul's, the South-east London hairdresser's he has run, latterly alone, for 52 years. "You can say it means 'new plant'," he adds, waving his clippers at the flourishing pots in front of the window.

Paul embodies that energy, which must be as old as scissors themselves. For more than half a century, he has watched hairlines recede, fashions change and lines around eyes map the advance of age and changing fortunes. New jobs, bereavement, illness, depression and big decisions: all of life has been here, and so has Paul. "It's a peaceful place, you know," he says. "There's no rush here and you can talk. My old mum always told me: 'Son, do not make enemies, make friends. Always be polite to people.' If you do this, people are nice to you and they talk to you.

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