About ian

Freelance session hairdresser and stylist. Started at Ricci Burns in the early 70s, been working ever since! Married w/ Son. #Istanbulophile. Politics, religion & philosophy of fashion by #SessionHairdresser, stylist & *Garage Assemblage Artist* http://www.slashhair.net

Emil’s Relevant Algorithm

Emil's Relevant Algorithm

A Relevant Algorithm?

I would have liked to have left a comment on Emil McMahon’s article: Algorithm – what the? But I couldn’t, so I am leaving a reciprocal blog post here by way of reply – that’s the beauty of having a blog.

By-the-way, this is NOT a criticism of Emil’s article, I am not trying to find fault!

A Little Search Engine History

I signed on to the Internet in 1993; I made a Website, and in mid ’94 I started to promote it. Immediately I was hooked on Website Promotion. Consequently, I have been reading articles related to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for about twenty-three years, and I can assure you that there is a lot of shyte out there. Yeah, okay, I’ve added to it!

In the early days there seemed to be quite a lot of search engines, the front runners being: Yahoo, MSN, AOL, AltaVista and of course the youngster, Google! I don’t want to go into too much detail, this is being written off the top of my head, but, Websites needed to be targeted towards a particular search engine and added manually to their list to be indexed – ‘Add URL’ was a thing in those days (still is for Directories like DMOZ). Sometime in the late ’90s (97/98) we called this Search Engine Optimization. And the idea was to get your Website to #1 for a specific set of Keywords, e.g. ‘Cheap Flights Paris’.

From about 1996 to 2005 there was a LOT of jiggery-pokery from the webmasters, who were trying to get their Websites to #1 in the search engine results by using sneaky little tricks! The search engines had to keep one step ahead of the game by tweeking their Algorithms (Algorithm: the way a search engine determines which website is relevant for any given search term). Relevancy (and speed of delivery) made Google and its Algorithm top of the heap.

Relevancy – The missing word

Relevance or relevancy is the key word. There is a subtle, but important difference between a search engine serving up a relevant website on its results page, and a Website being relevant to both the search engine and the Website Visitor.

  • A Search Engine aims to serve up a relevant and honest website that reflects the users’ search term.
  • A Website aims to be found in the search engines for a specific set of Keywords, and be relevant to the website visitor.

Remember (at this point I’m cutting it short!)

SEO is a small, but important part of Website Promotion. Your visitors will also find your website through links and ‘real world’ stuff like business cards.

The Fundamental Necessity

Being found in the search engines by your Business Name is a fundamental necessity. Actually, most new clients will find your website through a recommendation (like: a social media link. a magazine article. verbally from a friend). Only someone who already knows your Business Name will search for it, and they Must find you!

And Finally…

The simple answer is: Know your target audience. Get the structure of the website correct. Build a (social) network of links. Promote your website address (URL) with conventional advertising, i.e: flyers, posters, imprinted merch, magazine reviews, etc. Have a website promotion strategy.

Join in with #HairHour
Follow Emil McMahon on Twitter @misterhaircare
Read: Algorithm – what the?

Crazy Color

Crazy Color for the wonderful @spencerscissors and @misterhaircare

In 1973 when I was a junior at Ricci Burns, King’s Road, Chelsea, my model was a stripper from the Trafalgar, a pub across the road, her hair was long and jet black, but with a Crazy Color full fringe, in red, maybe vermilion – such was the fashion in those days!

Saturday 20th July 1974 Not busy, only two clients! Got a new young Canadian client with long, thin, dishwater blonde hair. She asked for a David Bowie-esque, Diamond Dogs-like hairdo! Actually, at the time, I think she meant more like Angie Bowie’s, who was one of Ricci’s clients.

“What’s your favourite colour?” I asked.
“I doon’t have one.”
“Okay then, what’s your favourite football team?”
“Chelsea of course!”
“Blue then! Because we’re going to have to bleach the bejesus out of your hair and turn it to straw, if we’re going to get it to stand on end. So, you can have any colour you like. Blue?”
“Blue’d be great.”

And off she went to the tinter. Bearing in mind that we worked five and a half days a week, half day Saturday, and her appointment was 10am, I knew that I was in for a longy!

I was cutting my second client, when the tinter tapped me on the shoulder, “we’ve run out of blue Crazy Color, there’s just a smidgen left, not enough!”
“It’s got to be blue,” I said.
“I could make a little Koleston pure Blue into a semi-permanent and mix it with the Crazy Color? It’s risky!”
“Yeah, do it.”

The end result was deep cobalt blue roots that faded to beautiful bluish silver tips. It looked: iridescent. metallic. divine.

She and I walked down towards Sloane Square together, it was about 5-ish. We stopped opposite the Markham Arms to say our goodbyes, she was going to cross the road, and a guy driving a red Corvette Stingray shouted out, “Love your hair doll!” That made my day.

Can You Do My Hair Like This?

Michael Fabricant Conservative MP for Lichfield

Michael Fabricant Conservative MP for Lichfield wrote on Huffington Post: A Message To The Luvvies – If You Can’t Say Anything Constructive, Don’t Say Anything At All@Mike_Fabricant

“Can you do my hair like this,” really is the classic client request! It’s one of those heartfelt, emotional pleas that goes something like this, “I want my hair to look totally natural, like Jennifer Aniston’s,” and there it is, that name, ‘Jennifer Aniston’, probably my most requested hairstyle! Over the years there have been many others, Jane Fonda, Joanna ‘Purdy’ Lumly and Farrah Fawcett have got to be up there with the most requested, as have Mary Quant’s French Bob and Mia Farrow’s urchin style cut.

My first ‘can you do my hair like this’ request, was in 1974 when I worked for Ricci Burns, for a Mia Farrow, who played Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. My saddest was in 1978, when a gaunt, mousy looking woman brandished a cut-out of Farrah Fawcett-Majors and said, “My husband wants me to look like this.”

Most hairdressers love pictures of celebrity hairstyles, they’re great conversation starters. I love them. However, all photographs need interpreting and putting into context: who’s the person. why was the photograph taken. what are they selling. is it their normal, everyday hair. has the image been altered, enhanced? And when I’m presented with a celebrity’s picture, my aim is to translate it into a style for my client.

Over the last ten years, or so, we’ve seen the rise of social media, which has had a profound impact on television, mainstream journalism, the celebrities themselves, and of course the general public. The image of the self (the selfie) – user-generated photos – take on a new meaning and importance – everyone and anyone can suddenly become a celebrity!

I find myself questioning celebrity culture; I wonder why so many celebrities feel they have the qualifications to tell us how to live our lives and what to think? Is it because they have transcended their own selfishness and become ‘global’ brands? (They’ve disappeared up their own arses and come out the other side, like a gurner in a horse collar.) Or is it because we all love a liberal nonconformist, an anti-establishment provocateur, a court jester on a short leash?

I feel that there’s a dichotomy between how celebrities like: Lily Allen, Russell Brand, Charlotte Church, Bob Geldof, Eddie Izzard (to name the bloody obvious, but there are many more), live their lives and how they expect us to (and how we are able to) live ours.

BTW, I’ve never been asked for a Michael Fabricant ;)

What does SS18 and AW18 stand for?

Session Hairstylist: Ian (me). Photographer: Chris Roberts. Hard at work light-testing 01:10:1981.
Me taken by photographer Chris Roberts. Light-testing 01:10:1981 – SS82 season!

What does the SS and AW in SS18 and AW18 stand for within the world of fashion?

Answer: SS18 stands for the Spring Summer fashion season in the year 2018. The AW18 stands for the Autumn Winter season in 2018! The SS18 shows are held in the Autumn of 2017, and the AW18 shows are in the Feb/March of 2018

There are also two popular hashtags to be found on Twitter (and other social networks): #ss18 and #aw18 – they will be busy at the time of the shows, UK busy time is London Fashion Week (AW17) – Thursday 16th – Tuesday 21st February 2017. London Fashion Week (SS18) 15th – 19th September 2017.

And of course you can follow #ss18 on Instagram and Facebook!

The British Fashion Council and the London Fashion Week Site are always a good places to keep up with events and for the links to the latest and live London Fashion Week news – Also see/follow: #LFW.

My fashion and hairstyle predictions are more general and not really seasonal! See my SS18 and AW18 fashion predictions: Fashion Trends & Hair Styles – Predictions – New and Old and my most recent at time of writing. I usually post my latest trends and fashion predictions in December, however, yeah, I’m usually late!

So, there you are SS18 and AW18 equals the fashion seasons: Spring Summer 2018, and Autumn Winter 2018!

Tuppenny Blue Butterfly

Tuppenny Blue Butterfly

Tuppenny Blue Butterfly, A Portrait of Şükran Moral – Ian Robson 2015

In June 2015 I posted the blog: Turkish Contemporary Artist Sukran Moral, in it I said. “My next sculpture will be a portrait of the artist Şükran Moral.”

What is the Tuppenny Blue Butterfly?

When I was twelve I collected stamps and butterflies, as did my friends. But there was one stamp that eluded me and one butterfly that fascinated me. Strangely and what was so mindbogglingly stupid, I muddled them up. It didn’t matter which one I was thinking about, the other was there in my mind too. The Tuppenny Blue stamp and the Blue Butterfly had morphed into one very rare object.

Tuppenny BlueThe Two Penny Blue or Tuppenny Blue. The world’s second official postage stamp 1840.

Blue ButterflyThe rare Silver-Studded Blue Butterfly. It’s small, the wingspan is about 30mm.

Oddly, as soon as I had thought that I’d make a portrait of Şükran Moral, an image of the Tuppenny Blue Butterfly mounted on the cross came to mind.

Symbolically, I’ve no idea what the Tuppenny Blue Butterfly mounted on the cross means? Maybe: transition, elegance, vulnerability, preciousness, sensuality and soulfulness?

This mini sculpture was made with love; created from a Turkish stamp, sent to me by my wife in 1997, the year we married. I have given the Tuppenny Blue Butterfly artwork to her.

Has the Turkish rebellion, that never was, produced a Silent Generation?

After reading the Turkish author Elif Shafak’s The Silencing of Writers in Turkey (The New Yorker 10 December 2016), I was hit by a tidal wave of indifference – Not because of Shafak’s article, but because of my growing frustration with Journalists! Who gives a flying fuck about the bloody journalists, especially the tabloid scumbags, lock’em all up; I’m sick of hearing about kim kardashian’s oily arse and celebs’ nip slips, underboobs and toned beach bodies!

I was surprised however that Shafak opened her article by quoting the writer Arthur Koestler, “If power corrupts, the reverse is also true: persecution corrupts the victim, though perhaps in subtler and more tragic ways,” mainly because Koestler was a corrupt, misogynistic, predatorial git who, allegedly, sexually assaulted Jill Craigie and many other women. Craigie was partly responsible for the removal of Koestler’s bust from Edinburgh University in 1998.

Having got that off of my chest, I’ve got to say that Elif Shafak writes a very good article.

Aslı Erdoğan

Aslı Erdoğan (no relation to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) is a prize-winning Turkish writer and human rights activist. Imprisoned August 2016, released on probation 29 December 2016 – image courtesy Muhsin Akgun [awaiting reply]

Turkey is now the World Leader for imprisoned journalists. Aslı Erdoğan was just one of approximately 140 Turkish journalists who are said to be in prison as of 1st December 2016. However, following on from Shafak’s Koestler quote, that number (140) pales into insignificance compared to the ticking time bomb that is strapped to the back of the elephant in the room, which is: the Islamification and dumbing down of Turkey’s education system, which in the future, WILL subjugate and imprison millions of Turkish people in ignorance and fear.

Freedom of speech isn’t just for the Turkish Journos and MSM

The Iconic Lady in Red Taksim Square Gezi Park 2013 Protests

The Iconic “Lady in Red” Taksim Square, Gezi Park Protests 2013

We could all see this coming though, couldn’t we? It is now about three years since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey and head of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), got away with calling the Gezi Park protesters[1] ayyaş (alcoholics) and çapulcu[2]. What has happened to those protesters today (February 2017)? Did they run out of steam, get disillusioned or were they suppressed? Ordinary people must have the right to express their feelings, without being called alcoholics and looters and worse, water cannoned and tear gassed – freedom of speech isn’t just for the Journos and mainstream media. Freedom of speech is for The People.

I believe the people of Turkey are being suppressed and brainwashed and it’s producing a silent and ignorant generation. And BTW Journalists are not Terrorists!

Notes

  1. The Gezi Park protests (27 May 2013 – 20 August 2013) were about: freedom of the press, of expression, right to assembly, the government’s encroachment on Turkey’s secularism, environmental issues, and government corruption. The protests spread throughout Turkey.
  2. Çapulcu [Eng pron. chapulju] is a looter, a pillager and a plunderer! The then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used the term to describe the 2013 Gezi Park protesters. The Turkish protesters adopted the term, verbified it (Chapulling) and changed it’s meaning to “fight for your rights.” A chapulcu is a protester!

How Do You Promote Your Website?

This is not art because we're smiling!

Robin and I – Eton 1980s

Justine Perry @justine_perry asked me a question during #ggchat, “Aside from SEO and on social media, how do you promote your website?” However, instead of emailing Justine an answer, as promised, I thought I would answer her here on SlashHair. Mainly because some #HairHour participants may also be interested?

The thing is, I don’t really promote my website(s), I kind of just let it all happen! Which is SO terribly wrong. Anyway, forget me, can you see where Justine’s coming from? What does one do to promote one’s website that isn’t SEO and/or social media related?

How good at doing It are you?

Maybe good website promotion starts off with a good reputation? Generally speaking, if a hairdresser, musician or writer [artist] wants to be successful, they must be able to perform at a highly competitive level. Crappy artists don’t usually attract fans, and therefore will not attract a continual stream of visitors to their website. So, how good you are as an artist can, and I believe will, effect the numbers of people visiting your website.

And, if you’re an independent artist, it doesn’t mean that you have to do everything yourself. You will need professional help and advice – Find the right professional for the job.

Word of mouth (and I’m not necessarily talking about social media) is a vital and free form of recommendation for all artists. Personally, I’m never going to recommend a person or product that’s bloody useless – because that will make Me look bad.

Doing the Business

Professionalism affects your marketing effort, your approach to business, your business acumen, will also have an effect on the numbers of visitors to your website. This could mean: being open about your fees, creating a trusted and safe eCommerce website, or turning up to the gig in a shiny van with your name and web address printed on the side.

How others regard your business, will effect the way they interact with you.

How do you connect with people?

I’m talking about ‘real world’ relationships. Connectivity is actually a subsection within business: Marketing and PR.

It’s how you connect with people and how you get them to take notice. Be on the same wavelength as the person with whom you are talking, it’s empathy and rapport. And it’s marketing – bringing yourself to the attention and consciousness of your potential clients, customers or fans [client]. A massive subject.

You must know your client – if you want your website promotion to be successful – Create a ‘Target Client Profile’. (Creating a target client profile may change the way you promote your website.)

Have you got any ideas?

The main thing I hate about the fashion and beauty industry is the false atmosphere of excitement and the untruthful claims of success that they trowel out – I’ve lived with it since 1973! However, you do need to attract website visitors with an incentive, a hook, people need a reason to visit your website. And if you offer a load of old bollocks, you will get jack shit.

Of course most artists offer free products, merchandise or music. Actually, free information is the real biggy on the net!

Here’s an extreme example: if your target clients are horse racing enthusiasts and you sent out an email saying, “Visit my website tomorrow after 10.30 AM. I will tell you the winner of the 2.30 at Ascot.” And the horse wins the race. You’d have some new Superfans, who’ll visit your website every time you email them with worthwhile information. That’s a hook; a reason to visit your website.

The hook could simply be a photograph of your client/s published on your website, which is far more realistic. People tend to be interested in themselves and what they can get out of it!

All You Need Is Love

How Do You Promote Your Website? With: Performance, Professionalism, Connectivity and good old Capt’n Hook, oh, and Love ;)

Celebrity Hair Cutting Shears

Century Classic - hair cutting shears

My current hair cutting shears: Century Classic, Tondeo, made in Solingen, Germany 6″ (68mm blade) (1998-ish)

After over forty years of hairdressing my hair cutting shears have become a part of my hand. They’re as much a prosthetic, two razor-sharp fingers, as they are a hand tool. I love that I even get some sensation of touch; when I cut hair I can feel them cutting and the hair’s texture.

As was the tradition when I was a Junior (1973), my first pair of shears were given to me by my stylist, Robert Lobetta; they were engraved with a salon’s name: Andre Bernard. The shears were five and a half inches, blunt and pitted with the corrosion that is so typical of badly maintained scissors. I either gave them back to Robert or chucked them away, however, I have a feeling that he may have actually asked for them back.

Robert gave me another pair that were equally as bad, this time engraved with the name Artisan. So I dumped them and took myself off to Ogee’s on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Earlham Street to buy a brand new pair of hair cutting shears.

Such was my ego I didn’t want to look like a n00bie junior buying his first pair of hair cutting shears. I confidently strode up to the counter and pointed at a pair almost exactly the same as the Artisan shears. “Can I have a gander at those,” I said, and she handed them over. I cut the hairs off of the back of my hand like I would a client’s neck fluff, and showing off, I span them on my finger like a cowboy would his .45 Colt pistol, then I slapped them down on the counter saying, “I’ll take ’em.” What a douchebag I was. They turned out to be a pretty average shyte pair.

I don’t know if you’ve ever thrown a knife, but I spent the entire summer holidays when I was thirteen teaching myself how to throw my Scout sheath knife. Basically, what you do is: hold the blade of the knife between fingers and thumb with the spine of the knife towards the palm of your hand, and the handle pointing away from you and towards the target. Keep fingers and palm away from the point and the sharpened edge. Cock your wrist sideways towards your forearm, and throw the knife almost like a dart. The knife will rotate, cartwheel like, and hopefully the knife point will stick in!

The point of the matter being rotation. Spin any hand tool and you’ll soon discover its balance and sometimes its purpose of use. A balanced pair of shears will feel good in the hand.

Concorde - hair cutting shears

Concorde, FLAJ (inox stainless steel) 5.5″ (60mm blade) (1976)

Never buy a pair of shears because of what they look like. My grandfather used to say, “A bad workman always blames his tools.” Well I surely cussed those little fuckers.

I hold no sentimentality or affection for my shears, I usually give them away when I’ve finished with them. These were given to a friend who uses them to trim her fringe very occasionally – I was glad to see the back of them.

ECA - hair cutting shears

ECA, made in Solingen, Germany (rostfrei stainless steel) 5.5″ (50mm blade) (1980)

One of my favourite pairs of shears even though they were the only pair to really bite me – they cut a nice big V on the base of my index finger. Most hairdressers cut themselves with a new pair of shears at least once. I saw Ricci Burns slice through his knuckle to the bone, he got a trip to hospital and six stitches for his troubles – well, we thought it was funny at the time!

Jaguar - hair cutting shears

Jaguar satin, Easy Rand Rocket, made in Solingen, Germany (ice tempered stainless steel) 5″ (40mm blade) (1990-ish)

These were the only shears that I’ve had professionally sharpened – they fucked them up for me by grinding too much off of the blade. I usually sharpen my shears myself on my great-grandfather’s fine whetstone – it’s getting a little worn after about a hundred years.

A regular rub on the whetstone, a wipe with a thick chamois and a few drops of clear machine oil and my old hair cutting shears are back up like new again.

My most magical and memorable scissor moment wasn’t a celebrity encounter, and they weren’t even my scissors, it was when I cut my son’s cord with the midwife’s umbilical scissors – what sensational and emotional feeling.

I Sing of Olaf

euro flag

E. E. CUMMINGS

I sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object-or

his wellbelovéd colonel (trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but-though an host of overjoyed
noncoms (first knocking on the head
him) do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments-
Olaf(being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds, without getting annoyed
“I will not kiss your fucking flag”

straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)

but-though all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation’s blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion
voices and boots were much the worse
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat-
Olaf(upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
“there is some shit I will not eat”

our president, being of which
assertions duly notified
threw the yellowsonofabitch
into a dungeon, where he died

Christ (of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see; and Olaf, too

preponderatingly because
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me: more blond than you.

~

We Europeans have come a long way since The Great War
conscientious objectors-sip costa coffee
Ultras throw pissylittlebottles and vandalise
a beautiful but crooked game

and I will not kiss their fucking EU flag