Getting Personal: The barber of Mildenhall
Whether you’re searching for a civilian cut or still clinging to different variations of the “high and tight,” Peter Snazell’s got you covered.
He knows hair. He knows the Air Force. And he knows Air Force hair. He’s been giving airmen a clean look since 1966.
Operating his small barber shop and beauty salon right outside of RAF Mildenhall, Snazell is an old hand at giving a good and quick haircut. Plus, he’ll clean up a guy’s neck and hairline old-school style, with a cutthroat razor.
The owner of the Cuts R Us location is converting the area to housing, so Snazell, his wife and other staff will be moving down the road in the coming months.
So how long have you owned and operated Cuts R Us?
Twelve years. Before that it was on Mildenhall base, and I was at Lakenheath base since 1966.
Do you have a mixed clientele, both Yanks and Brits?
Yup, we do. Usually the majority of them are Americans. But after 9/11, when the gate moved down the runway, we lost about a quarter of our trade.
You’re moving from this location soon, right?
We’re in a bit of limbo. We’re supposed to be out of here by the end of March. Then we’re going over near The Bird in Hand pub, next to where the car rental place is. But there might be a period or two where we’re nowhere.
What’s the hardest thing about cutting hair that people might not know?
I suppose there’s nothing hard, really (laughs). The hardest thing is customers’ attitudes. Luckily we seem to have a good set of attitudes. On base, customers seem to know you work for AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Service) and can yell at you. It’s just hard work, but it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m strong, anyway.
Why’d you choose this line of work?
Since 10 years old, I wanted to be a barber. They’re warm, neat, tidy, happy. I can’t explain it. I still love it as much as I did when I left school at 15 and started cutting hair.
How many haircuts do you think you’ve done since 1966?
I once did 106 haircuts in a day. I’ve been doing this since 1966, bloody hell. That’s 40 years. A lot of haircuts.
Any differences between cutting Yank and Brit hair?
No, I don’t think so. Different terminology sometimes: a fade instead of a taper, a square instead of a block in the back.
Any nightmare haircut scenarios in your past?
Once another hairdresser cut somebody’s ear, and we had a hard job stopping the bleeding.