We asked you five questions on barbers. How many did you get right? Here come the answers!
- In the barbers’ traditional red-and-white spiral striped pole, what are the colours white and red generally considered to represent?
Bandages and blood. This isn’t a comment on the barber’s clumsiness in wielding his razor! It represents another service, blood-letting, which was a routine health precaution until about two centuries ago but has now been abandoned except as treatment for a few specific conditions.
- Who wrote a 1979 musical called Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street?
Stephen Sondheim, who based it on the 1973 play by Christopher Bond. It was made into a film by Tim Burton in 2007, starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman.
- How might a barber find a use for the birch bracket fungus (Piptoporus betulinus)?
As a razor strop. Although it’s technically edible and apparently smells good, it’s rather bitter. The cut surface of the fruiting body of the fungus (the “bracket”) has a velvety texture and gives the finest of fine edges, though in these days of single-use blades there wouldn’t be much of a call for it.
- In which British city would you find the Barber Institute of Fine Arts?
It’s on the campus of the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston. It was founded in 1932 in memory of property developer Sir William Henry Barber. It’s one of only five UK art galleries outside London to receive a five-star rating in Britain’s Best Museums and Galleries for an “outstanding collection of international significance”.
- Glynis Barber formed half of 1980s TV detective partnership Dempsey and Makepeace. Where was she born?
Durban, in South Africa. She was born Glynis van der Riet, married actor Paul Barber in 1976 and divorced three years later. After four years of playing Sgt Harriet Makepeace she married her co-star, Michael Brandon, who played James Dempsey.
How did you get on? Why not let us know?