Flanked by animal busts, vintage pornography and assorted bric-a-brac, one need only hear the name of Blood and Bandages to deduce that this ain’t your average barber shop. The miniscule, 97 sq. ft. space on College Street has a machismo and swagger that vastly exceeds its spatial confines. Two chairs and two pairs of scissors will max out the manscaping quota at any given moment, however Roger Janes and his team prove that when you don’t have to concentrate on much, you can concentrate on the little things really, really well.
I discovered Blood and Bandages almost by accident about four years back. Having recently returned from living out West and in need of a change from the streamlined, boyish styles of my former barber of over 15 years (sorry John… we did have some great times), I stumbled by the shop one day and felt it the right opportunity to break from tradition. Looking like the inside of a hunting shack, with a burly beardsman behind the chair and likely some throwback funk playing over the speakers, I knew that even if my coif got butchered up I’d have a more enjoyable 20 minutes than at the average chop shop.
I leafed through a couple of 1970s Playboys as I waited my turn and sat down in the chair with a surprising lack of apprehension. I generally feel tense and uneasy at the hands, or should I say scissors, of a new barber. Though, the casual, instantly chummy banter set the tone. At my request, Roger freestyled it and the results were so good that I’ve been a loyal patron ever since.
The thing that works at Blood and Bandages, and this is likely a token to the success of his more recently opened Leslieville location, is that there is such a lack of pretension, such an absence of insecurity. The staff is all young and engaging. You can talk about music or movies, pop culture and low-culture. If you’ve got a sailorès mouth like I do, it’s OK to show your flair (as long as there are no children around).
And I guess, most importantly of all, these guys and gals know how to cut hair!
PS Roger has also developed his own hair pastes and pomades that you can buy in-house. It’s cash only, so come prepared. Chances are after he does up your ‘do, you’re gonna want some sticky stuff for yourself.
Blood and Bandages | 932 College Street (Dufferin Grove), 1270 Queen Street East (Leslieville) 416.357.9178 | Website