Slice of Hair #2

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Royal Lock and Key / Trendsetters Barber Shop

9851 63 Avenue Nw

There is nothing particularly new about the news that Country superstars Brooks and Dunn done broke up. In mid-August of this year, after 18 years and 11 albums, Kix and Ronnie decided to hang up their shared crown as Country Music’s biggest duo. While the story of how they met may differ from the ridiculous genesis narrative laid out in their first album’s liner notes, it is generally accepted that Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn were separately hacking away at fledgling solo careers in the late 80′s when Arista Records’ Tim DuBois suggested that they link up. Ever since, theirs has been a fairly deadly combination (judge them by their successes, not by their sullen faces and bad facial hair). The importance of that ‘just right’ combination is something that Al (I think that is his name…) at barber shop slash locksmith joint Royal Lock and Key / Trendsetters Barber can certainly identify with.

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After a day of G-Saling on Argyll Road, I decided to stop in to fix my fade. Trendsetters Barber Shop, the barber side of Royal Lock and Key, is a quaint shop with one hair-chair and a very small wait time. The walls are plastered with pictures of vintage cars, old calendars and lock paraphernalia. Al is very nice and was quick to tell the story about his unique business model. He was very curious about which shops I normally get cut by and seemed to know every barber’s name that I dropped.

I wasn’t in dire need of a cut, so I only had him fix my sides, do my neck, and take a little bit off the top. When I asked him to take care of the hair between my eye-brows he lectured me on the dangers of shaving unwanted hair. When I told him that Ted did it without hesitation, he scoffed.

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I would explain exactly how Al came to be in both the hair slicing and the lock de-icing businesses, or which business came first, or where his priority lies, but those are his stories and they are ones that he is more than willing to tell.

After his first attempt at the cut, I asked that he take another inch off the top and he did so without any hesitation. I paid the fair price, tipped well, and left looking like a Brand New Man.

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Quick note: Right next door to Royal Lock and Key is Royal Stamp and Sign Co. Across the street is Sentinel Self-Storage who use a British royal guard as their logo. They really like to play up that Argyll angle out there.

Slice of Hair

high-top fade barbershop

“…even the dopest rappers get haircuts, like Epic, Public Enemy and Big Daddy Kane”


You may have thought that I was joking. Fair enough, so did I.

This is a new semi-regular feature in which I review Edmonton Barber shops. If you are familiar with Slice of Life, then you know that by “review”, I mean that I will write about Edmonton barber shops and will usually include  (uninteresting) personal anecdotes and (dated) rap references.

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Ted’s Gold Star Hairstyling

11103 95 St

In a recent effort to get to know someone better, I went for a haircut with a new friend. You may be thinking that getting a haircut and chatting to a barber, while your new friend reads magazines in the waiting area, would not lead to a lasting friendship. You may be wrong.

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Ted used to cut hair for a hair dressers in Londonderry mall, but decided to go it alone and open his own business. Ever since then (unsure when exactly), Ted has been doling out fine cuts under his own name on 95th street just north of 111 Ave. Ted’s Gold Star Hairstyling (actual name, not just my interpretation of the sign above) is a simple and relaxing barber shop with great staff, which may consist entirely of Ted.

The waiting area has great leather seats and the magazine selection was fairly typical, but the large pile of Old Nat’l Geographic was a nice touch.

Ted is great. Our conversation was pleasant, his cut was near perfect, and his hands were (almost too?) gentle. When I pointed to the hair between my eyebrows and asked if he “could take care of this”, he did so without missing a beat. The only downside of the cut was that he managed to shave an oddly shaped bald spot into the back of my head, which he blamed on my oddly shaped skull. Fair enough.

The most endearing thing about Ted’s shop is his no-frills payment system. He does not accept plastic, he does not have a cash register and every transaction is delicately penned into a leather bound book. Price is pretty standard.

I am pretty certain that my friend had a good time also.

On an almost unrelated note, I once bought a copy of “Direct from the Backstreets” by Totally Insane at the A-1 Trading Post pawn shop next door to Ted’s. The Oak-town group’s debut release (1992) has an amazing cover and is surprisingly very good. Even though dead-stock copies of this CD could be purchased though popular web distributors as recently as “7/14/2009″, I was still blown away that a copy of this album turned up in Edmonton.

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Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 2:30 pm  Comments (2)  
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