Documentary on One

Two Hundred Shaves a Day

A radio documentary about the life of eighty year old Larry Hingerton - barber and musician.

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4.1/5 (31 ratings)

Documentary maker: Sarah Blake

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Two Hundred Shaves a Day

'Two Hundred Shaves a Day' tells the story of eighty-year-old Larry Hingerton from Westport.

This documentary weaves together the two strands which have shaped his life - barbering and music. 'Two Hundred Shaves a Day' mixes past and present, and offers a glimpse into the life of this remarkably generous, knowledgeable and modest man.

The story begins in 1951 in London. Larry moved there to train as a barber at the Gents Hair Academy. Replying to an advertisement in the Melody Maker by one Johnny Shakespeare, Larry found a trumpet teacher and mentor for his musical talent.

Upon his return to Westport in 1953, Larry set up his own barber shop and started his own band. To this day a similar balance can be found in his life - occupation and hobby offering a perfect balance for this man's talents.

Larry says that "I loved hairdressing and of course the music speaks for itself - I love that as well. I was very lucky to have an occupation and a hobby as well."

We follow Larry down to PJ Duffy's bar in Ballina where he plays at the weekly Tuesday night jazz session.

We meet his fellow band members, all of whom share a similar passion for jazz music. We learn about his musical beginnings singing for the nuns for some bread and jam and the imaginative use of the potato as a musical instrument.

Having grown up in a barbering family, Larry was often asked to help out with the family business. As an eleven-year-old boy he paints a vivid picture of what it was like in his father's barber shop on a bustling Saturday in the 1940's.

His role as chief latherer of two hundred faces for those two hundred shaves is a touching reminder of days long past. We gain a fascinating insight into the world of hairdressing styles and techniques, from the early days of blow-drying for men to cut throat razors and the Tony Curtis style.

And even though he was inducted into the Irish Hairdressing Federation Hall of Leaders three years ago, Larry continues to help out at the local barber shop in Westport.

For a man who has spent his life keeping up with the times, both in music and hairdressing, it is perhaps no surprise to find that Larry is often to be found watching YouTube or checking his email. Age for Larry is neither barrier nor achievement. His is an age that forever stays in style - young at heart.

Compiled by Marguerite Gannon and Donal Sarsfield.

Produced by Sarah Blake.
Sound Supervision by Anton Timoney

First broadcast 6th March 2010.

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.

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