Ich Bin Kentishtowner: Michael Ptootch, 45, Salon & Gallery Owner


Michael Ptootch (not his real surname) was born in Tufnell Park in 1967. In winter 1990 he opened what became …



Michael Ptootch (not his real surname) was born in Tufnell Park in 1967. In winter 1990 he opened what became Flaxon Ptootch at 237 Kentish Town Road, the latter name inspired by ‘Ptutch’, a local Anglo-Russian arts journal based above what is now Costa Coffee. He has been one of K-Town’s longest-running artier fixtures ever since. As well as his hair salon, he hosts infamous free monthly art events with bespoke punch and live music. The next one takes place on October 11.

1. When were you happiest?
Tomorrow. Why? Because the best summer will be next summer. I can’t imagine how happy I can be. Kentish Town constantly improves. It’s all about the future – although the past has been good. I’m always optimistic.


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2. Where would you like to live in the manor?
Above Ringley’s opposite the Cash Converters or Concorde Cars – they’re the two vantage points on the Kentish Town Road. The Vulture’s Perch, if you like.

3. What is your favourite sound or smell?
The gulls. Sometimes you wake up and look out at the blue sky, and there they are in the distance. A fishery nearby? Or is it the Heath?

4. What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
You get what you put in.

5. What is your earliest Kentish Town memory?
Back in the 1970s my nan used to take me shopping in M&S where Sainsburys is now. I also remember a party where Omega Sauna is, in the South Kentish town tube.

6. What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
The legalisation of cannabis would improve everybody’s life.

7. What is your most unappealing habit?
I always smoke.

8. What is your guilty pleasure in the manor?
I have a soft spot for Annie’s Bar, naturally.

9. Where do you hang out?
Flaxon Ptootch. I don’t actually hang out anywhere really, just out and about. But I do like Tapping The Admiral or Kentish Canteen. Yet I’d rather be in my garden.

10. Who or where do you hate and why?
Abbey National. And all banks. They’re shit.

11. What’s been your best experience in NW5? Worst?
The Alma Street Festival, of course. Worst? A lack of affordable accommodation. So many friends have moved to Homerton or whatever. Everything went up too much.

12. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Skinny legs. Too skinny. But I can’t do anything about it.

13. What is your favourite dish & why?
Liver bacon onion mash. Or anything from Harry’s.

14. What is your best gig and why?
Mr Hudson with his old band The Library on the roof at Flaxon Ptootch about 4 years ago. We stopped the traffic in the street.

15. What is your most overused phrase?
Obviously, obviously.

16. Describe yourself as an animal.
Like a panther.

Interview: Stephen Emms
Portraits: Tom Storr

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Ich Bin Kentishtowner now comes in association with longstanding local the Lord Palmerston, which can be found at 33 Dartmouth Park Hill. Manager Stephen is offering readers a free starter or dessert to run alongside either the all-day menu or lunch deal (one main & glass of wine/beer for £10). Bargainous, eh? Just mention The Kentishtowner when booking or ordering.

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  • Show Comments

  • MAciej

    you panther you!

  • Dr Wanda Wyporska

    What happened to the beautiful cats? They were the best bit of the street!