Article for Ponsonby News June 2015 Issue
Matt (Stitch) and Brendan (Bundy the Barber) at Boar & Blade photographer: Stacey Simpkin
"Trust the Barber" a sign says on the back wall. Mounted above it is a fierce looking boar’s head, all beady eyes, whiskers, and tusks like blades. I am in Boar & Blade, the newly opened gentleman’s barbershop in the heart of Ponsonby Central. Brendan, alias ‘Bundy the Barber’ is just finishing off a fade; he flicks off the cape with finesse, and the customer departs, looking well pleased.
‘It’s important to us that people leave the shop looking sharp, groomed and feeling great.’ Brendan says ‘You can spot a guy in the street who has been in here, it’s a distinct look and style.’
He’s talking tight traditional haircuts; fades, low tapers, tight fades, a hard part. Its a language unfamiliar to me, perhaps because its a style trend that comes out of another century. ‘When I opened Boar & Blade in Wellington, there was no one doing what I do.” Brendan explains. ‘There was a resurgence of old school barbering overseas but it had yet to take off here.’
By this he means the full grooming service; along with your haircut you can have your beard trimmed, styled and oiled, moustache and eyebrows tamed, anything from the neck up! I take that to mean even ear and nose hair. Affirmative. And there’s the specialty of the house, a hot towel shave with a cutthroat razor. There’s one gleaming from the top pocket of his crisp white tunic. Being of the un-be-whiskered gender, I am somewhat relieved I won’t be offered one.
Throughout his 15 years in the trade Brendan had a distinct vision for his own barbershop. You can see it in the detail of this stylish little space; three classic barber chairs (1950’s reproductions hand made in Japan), bespoke wooden mirror frames, the sculpted scissors, antique shaving pots, and of course the family heirloom, the name-inspiring boar’s head. Brendan’s grandfather Kiwi Blake was an All Black, Captain of the Maori All Blacks and a pig hunter. He shot that Boar in 1940 at age 17.
Brendan and his partner moved to Auckland earlier this year, and leapt at the opportunity to open up Boar & Blade in Ponsonby Central. Mat aka ‘Stitch”, joined him as second barber soon after. ‘Its perfect! To live and work round here, and be part of a neighbourhood. You’ll soon start to notice our look on Ponsonby Rd.’ he laughs.
A bearded chap is hovering at the doorway. Mat welcomes him in and I sense its time to leave. It is after all very much a male enclave, a grooming salon for the modern gentleman. Cigar anyone?
By Fiona Garlick