Fathom Jan. 1997



Inside Cover



Mary-Kate Arnold
Jamie Reynolds
Natalie Meisner


Trevor Rockwell
Rachel Melis
Mark Anderson


Jamie Reynolds
Andy Murdoch
Andre Narbonne
Andy Murdoch and
Jennifer Reynolds


James Matthews
Mitchell Weibe


True Confessions
Your Own Submission Here


Andy Murdoch



A Trip to Moe's

     A trip to a barber shop ought to give a person more than just a haircut. It ought to be a trip that puts your feet on the ground and your ears in the hands of a capable friend. For a bourgeois boy like me, a trip to a barber shop is beautiful because it means that, for eight bucks, I can rub shoulders with the common folk without worrying about whether or not I’d get decked. Yes, for the better part of my life my Mother cut my hair, and so the mythology of the barber shop has always lurked in the nostalgia of my subconscious ever since my Grandad smelt like Old Spice. So I decided to live the dream, to break out of my regular mold and set out upon the city to find My Barber.
     Basically, I wanted to find a barber O. Henry would have been proud to go to. A barber who knew the basics and who gave good advice. A cheap barber. A guy who, for under ten bucks, could trim your head and examine it too and maybe, just maybe, give you a new outlook on living in this fair city. After many heart searching glances into the windows of red, white and blue storefronts, I found my man: Moe, the Barber of Morris Street.
     I could immediately tell that for Moe haircutting was a job, not a school of art. Moe’s no artist, he’s an artisan. He sticks to the basics and avoids all the new schools of the Hair Arts. A staunch Old School clipper, Moe is to hair cutting what the Shaolin Monks are to Kung Fu. The Bowl, the Flat Top, the Brush Cut, the Feathered look, the Prison Cut, the Trim and the Shave – Moe is master of them all.
     The first thing I noticed when I walked into Moe’s was the refreshing sparseness of his place. He’s a no gimmicks guy. The Daily News and the Chronicle-Herald lay scattered about, crumpled and well-read. He had a petition on the wall full of sig­natures demanding a community council for the area. On another wall he has framed newspaper clippings representing the accolades this city has bestowed on him and his fellow bar­bers. But best of all, what I couldn’t help but notice was the absence of male models on his walls. None of those guys show­ing off their plastic hair to you, mak­ing you wonder how in the hell a lid could ever come to be like theirs without the aid of a com­puter.
     As I sat down in the only chair in the place, I told Moe I wanted my usual plain haircut and that I wouldn’t be a part of any conceptual gimmickry. He told me quite curtly that none of that went on here, sir. Sir – that killed me – what a gentleman. So I sat down and he started to cut hair. Moe is the only barber I’ve met who can talk as fast as he clips. We didn’t start off with any “Nice day for a haircut” conversations, either. No, it was straight into the politics and the deep moral issues of the day for Moe and I. On Amalgamation: “what a crock of shit.” On Greed: “you’d think people could take [money] with them when they die.” On family: “Don’t think it’s easy having a family and being a barber, cause it isn’t.” I broached the business of the NHL with him, but he didn’t even consider it a topic worthy of discussion.
     Moe makes his shop an expres­sion of himself. Like me, he’s a connoisseur of the anti-service aesthetic: a dying breed in this country. “People come and go in my place. I cut hair, right, and if they don’t like it fuck ‘em. It’s my place. They can find another barber.” Well put. Service in this day and age should be based upon trust and respect and in my opinion, the customer is almost never right. So what if Moe’s mirrors are warped? Only an egomaniac would complain. So what if he uses a dustbuster to clean the loose hair from your head? You could eat off that floor. Only a nut would complain about Moe’s.
     I tipped Moe well and went next door to the Fog City Diner for some lunch. I was staring at my coffee and I couldn’t help but think how hard it must be for a member of that medieval profession to make a living in the modem world. I stared into my coffee and I wanted to think up just one helpful bit of advice for Moe. Then the caffeine hit me. A marketing strategy. For eight bucks a person could get a haircut and a voucher for a free coffee at the Fog City Diner. I call it the “Moe Joe” Deal. So gentle reader, next time you go to Moe’s, bring up this idea to him and tell him Andy sent you.


last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul