Watch Barber Shop Chronicles writer Inua Ellans read a poem in a Sydney barber shop

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Stories
December 19, 2017
Sydney Festival
Video
Barber Shop Chronicles, by Nigerian-British playwright and poet Inua Ellams, is about the place the barber shop occupies for African men (and men of African descent), from Lagos to London and beyond.

It’s a place where guys can shoot the breeze while getting a sharp fade; talk women, football and politics; and bring their young sons to absorb the knowledge of the older men.

In other words, it’s a hub for community, and Barber Shop Chronicles tells stories that Ellams has picked up from barber shops across Africa and the African diaspora through a high-energy, very funny mix of story-telling, music and dance.

While Ellams was in Australia earlier in 2017, we whisked him away to one of Newtown’s finest hair-trimming establishments, Salon De African Pride, and asked him to read us a poem from the barber chair. Fittingly, he chose the piece Swallow Twice, about being a young boy and being entranced by his father and his friends drinking beer, telling tales and eating spiced meat; wanting to be a part of the crew, but being too little (and now that he’s older, knowing the truth about the frailty of wisdom and masculinity).

Watch the poem in 360-degrees below – Barber Shop Chronicles is at the Seymour Centre between 18 and 28 January. Book here.

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