Junior Hairdresser

Junior Hairdresser
Phillip Andrew @PAGladwinHair wrote on #HairHour, I paraphrase:

I’ll be finishing my training soon, and wondering how it’s best to start getting my own clients, Can anyone help? I’ve been looking mainly for models, but I’m about 2 months off of finishing and wanting to start to find the clients.

I replied simply with: I wouldn’t worry too much about getting new clients, worry about the quality of your work, then they’ll come flocking! Because hairdressing is all about results!

Then the NHF for Hairdressers @NHfederation asked:

Why do your clients love you? #hairhour #DontBeModest

And I replied, tongue-in-cheek, “Because I love them.” But the real answer is much more complicated than that!

Later in the frenetic discussion that is #HairHour, HerPassion @thehaircampaign wrote:

Admire your clients lifestyles, take pleasure interacting with them, delight them, understand why they visit you, and your impact on them.

And I thought, let’s be frank, “What a sycophantic, self-serving load of Bollocks!” But then again, analysing your business isn’t a bad thing – it’s just that I have issues with banal statements like, take pleasure interacting with them!

When I was a junior hairdresser and about two months away from going on the floor (becoming a stylist) the last thing that was on my mind was building a clientèle; however, it was then that Oliver went stylist to stylist around the salon, starting from the top, asking them if they wanted to do a photo-session after work that night – It was a Friday! Everyone was saying no because they were going out! The photo-session was to be a ‘before and after’ shoot of a secretary with curly hair for Woman and Home Magazine – No photo credits, just a fee of ten quid, which is worth about one hundred pounds today!


When Oliver finally asked me, out of utter desperation (because he obviously didn’t want to do it either), I said yes, and I was totally over the fucking moon. I can’t describe how deliriously happy and nervous I was, even though I’d already been on numerous photo-sessions and fashion shows as a junior, assisting a stylist. This was my first solo event! Oliver said, “Don’t tell them you’re a junior!”

About a week after the Woman and Home Magazine photo-session, I was handing blue hair-rollers to one of the junior-stylists (my most hated task) in the custom of a typical douchebag, one blue roller pushed on to the end of each finger! Oliver sidled over to us and said to me, “I’d like you to do a fashion show for Coco tomorrow. By-the-way, Penny Ryder phoned to say that Woman and Home loved your work.” And off he slid.

I looked the junior-stylist in the eye to bring her back to reality, so I could escape the irksome chore, then at my fingers with the last two rollers stuffed on the top and it looked like I was giving her a massive blue plastic V sign, and we both burst out laughing. Happy days.

But at no time was I ever thinking about building a clientèle or why they love me and I certainly was not admiring their lifestyles – I was just doing it!

Fashionable Antiques in Farnham

antiques farnham surrey - The Antiques WarehouseAntique centres, like the The Antiques Warehouse, make great location studios – especially when they are set in the attractive setting of two Elizabethan tithe barns; they’re brilliant, fascinating indoor venues for models, photographers, hairdressers and make-up artists who are just starting out and looking to build their portfolios by doing collaborative test sessions.

Don’t forget, antique centres usually allow free access to period props and room settings.

I am currently supporting Hilary on Twitter – please feel free to join me at either @SlashHairNet or @JackVonFrost. The Antiques Warehouse displays fashionable antiques in Farnham – it is a wonderful, friendly centre.

Look Good At Interviews

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Campaign for Real Beauty

Sali Hughes – @salihughes, a prolific and talented writer, broadcaster and blogger (who I follow on Twitter BTW), Tweeted:

I was immediately transported back to my school days and our ridiculous careers advice officer. He looked like the cross between a 1960s Russian spy, a lowly civil servant, a bundle of old rabbit tweed socks and Johnny Morris (of Animal Magic fame. A BBC Bristol children’s series running from 1962-1983). My older sister was the first to encounter him. “What do you want to do when you leave school?” he asked in the voice of a hamster. “I want to be a primary school teacher,” replied my sister. “Well, I don’t think you should set your goals too high; I would advise you to apply to Woolworths,” he said in the voice of Dotty the Lemur. My sister came home crying, distraught at the thought of her miserable future. “I told him I want to be a primary school teacher and I’m Going to BE a Fucking primary school teacher,” she sobbed and screamed petulantly. Brilliant. Obviously the careers advice officer was using reverse psychology; there he sat like a sack of King Edward spuds, but with the psychological profile of every child in the school at his fingertips. Evidently against my sister’s name they had, belligerent bitch, use reverse psychology! And of course it worked, she became a fucking primary school teacher! Against my name they had, Dreamer – tell him what he wants to hear! He was such a Tosser. However, that is still a long way from being told you look like a sexual predator. Was she, the careers teacher in question, overcome with political correctness (like I am) and didn’t know how to articulate her feelings? Did she just want to say, “No one is going to employ you looking like that, you silly little tart.” …Well it had to be said! Maybe the careers teacher was actually trying to help? It’s not usually straightforward, there is normally another side to the story – I’d like to hear it. ROGUE by Rihanna - sexually suggestive perfume ad.

ROGUE by Rihanna – sexually suggestive perfume ad. Pushing boundaries?

Here in the United Kingdom, we do live in an over sexualised world, just look at the latest erotic advertisement for Rihanna’s new perfume Rogue. It has been banned in the UK from areas where children are likely to see it – That’s going to work! Anyway, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled:

“While we did not consider the image to be overtly sexual, we considered that Rihanna’s pose, with her legs raised in the air, was provocative. Because of this, and the fact that Rihanna appeared to be naked except for high heels, we concluded that the ad was sexually suggestive and should have been given a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being seen by children.”

Children, girls especially, have a lot of unnecessary body image pressure on them – pressure that is meted out by many different industries. While Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry behave like ‘Porn Stars’ (it’s crazy, why do we let them corrupt our society?), young girls are being bullied and teased because of the way they look! As The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty says, “Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.” …And I think they should also say, “Where Confidence Is The Source Of Beauty.” Most People Are Beautiful. Here is my Hairdresser’s Tip of how to look for an interview: It’s all about projecting the Real You and a positive first impression – we all have different personas, but true beauty comes from within. Your look should fit the interview, if it’s the school careers teacher, well polished smart casual and following the school uniform policy to the letter. Generally speaking: a smart dark suit with hemline low enough so you can sit down comfortably, and with conservative shoes to match. Jewellery should be kept simple and not overtly distracting. Obviously a professional hairstyle – the key to your hair looking really good is the haircut! The goal is to be comfortable and natural, after getting your hair cut professionally you should easily be able to present a neat and polished look. If you’ve got difficult hair, it may be a good idea to get a blow dry the day before. Keeping the hair away from the face with a ponytail or a simple sleek chignon is a good idea for long hair. Keep the make-up looking chaste and the perfume sparingly light. All that said, why would anyone call a Normal Young Person a sexual predator, the phrase has such vile connotations and symbolism associated with it? Horrid.

[Edit] Just seen a picture of the young girl in question, she looks like you’d expect, Really Lovely (thought I’d share it with you) – good luck to her :-) xXx


#BringBackOurGirls Subterranean Homesick Blues

As soon as I saw Michelle Obama (raises pressure over kidnapped schoolgirls via The Guardian) holding up the sign #BringBackOurGirls, I thought, “Oh shit, there’s another opportunity for some clever dick to change the heartfelt message.” – It didn’t take long! Then there were all those fucking celebrities who jumped on the bandwagon hoping for a few thousand ReTweets.

Malala Yousafzai #BringBackOurGirls

Malala Yousafzai says the world must not stay silent over the abduction of the Nigerian schoolgirls.

I’d like to think that some of them were actually genuine. I trust Malala’s was. I’ve quite a strong feeling that David Cameron’s was too, as I watched the Andrew Marr Show where he ‘did it’ – maybe it was ‘planned?’

David Cameron and Christiane Amanpour supporting Bring Back Our Girls #BringBackOurGirls
David Cameron and CNN’s Christiane Amanpour with the Twitter campaign’s hashtag #BringBackOurGirls

I’ve a strong feeling that Twitter hashtag campaigns are not a real measure of public feeling – once the celebrities start Tweeting their hashtagged selfies, there is a lot of sycophantic action from their hoards of followers, who are desperate to connect with their idols! However, I think it’s the nearest we are going to get to knowing the size of world opinion.

The massive outpouring of world feeling for these abducted Nigerian girls on the social networks, is akin to prayer – ultimately useless I’m affraid. What we really need to do is sort out extremist religion and corruption in world politics.

koo bring back our girls

Koo, my lovely wife, made this cross stitch #BringBackOurGirls banner

Homoerotic Fetish Artist Tom of Finland Gets Franked

Self Portrait Homoerotic Christmas Card 1983
Self Portrait Homoerotic Christmas Card 1983

In 1983 after visiting Robin and Emma, who live in Amsterdam, I decided that my Christmas card would be a self portrait of me in the style of Tom of Finland! Thirty one years later, the very not safe for work, gay pornographic images are on fucking postage stamps in Finland – What’s the world coming to?

Tom of Finland Homoerotic Stamps

The Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen (Tom of Finland, 8 May 1920 – 7 Nov 1991) was noted for his stylized homoerotic fetish art. He was an important influence on gay pornography (art) in the late twentieth century.

unfranked stamp #1 | Tom of Finland Homoerotic Stamps

unfranked stamp #2 | Tom of Finland Homoerotic Stamps

unfranked stamp #3 | Tom of Finland Homoerotic Stamps

I am SO surprised that the Finnish postal service (Itella) is going to release a set of stamps commemorating Tom of Finland! I’ve got to get a Finnish pen-pal, I definitely want a set – due for release in September 2014.

Progress Is Fucked When Education is Blocked

Secondary school probes teachers for recommending students Aziz Nesin novel
Aziz Nesin’s novel Shimdiki Chocuklar Harika

Progress, innovation, ideas, fashion, you name it, they are all fucked up when education and free speech is blocked. A number of Turkish secondary school teachers have recently been questioned and probed for recommending Shimdiki Chocuklar Harika (The Children Of Our Times Are Great), a novel by the iconoclastic Turkish writer Aziz Nesin. Normally the book would be included in school’s recommended reading lists, but the ever repressive, controlling, neo-Ottoman Turkish Sultanate (AK Party), have decided in their insecure wisdom to, er, remove it from the list?

It’s the usual problem, put a controversial book on the recommended reading list that teaches kids how to defend their rights against adults and shows them how making some valued judgements can be wrong, and all hell will break loose! Does anyone remember the ‘Little Red Schoolbook?’

The Little Red Schoolbook
The Little Red Schoolbook that I bought in 1971 for 30p

The Little Red Schoolbook is a book written by two Danish schoolteachers, Soren Hansen and Jesper Jensen, published in 1969, it was deemed extremely controversial on publication. The book was translated and published in the UK in 1971. I bought a copy! It was critical of institutional politics and religion and used explicit language to discuss sexuality and drug use – but it didn’t change the world; which is a pity because there are a lot of Jimmy Saviles and fat paedo bastards like Cyril Smith out there.


Whatever Happened To Charlie Kemp

Maril Kemp, Laraine Ashton, London Peter Marlowe Models Composite ©Maril – A Peter Marlowe Models Composite © copyright Peter Marlowe, All Rights Reserved.

I was trawling through a pile of old Composites when I came upon Maril Kemp’s – Whatever happened to Maril’s husband, the fashion photographer Charles Kemp? The last time I saw Charlie was in 1989-1990, he was walking down Grafton Way towards Tottenham Court Road, we stopped and talked for about five minutes (I think he’d been to University College Hospital?); I was in a hurry because my car needed moving, “You’re looking old” I said. “Fuck off” he said. “I’ll ring you later” I said, but sadly I didn’t.

I’ve got a bad feeling about Charlie Kemp!

© Model: Maril Kemp, Photographer: Charles Kemp Friday 24th July 1981, Hair: Ian Robson. London
Maril Kemp July 1981

At the end of a test session with Debbie Benson, Maril, Charlie and I did a session at his studio on Friday 24th July 1981 (so my diary tells me. A strange coincidence: Greta Almroth the Swedish actress died on 24:07:1981 (aged 93) in Stockholm, Sweden). I’ve a feeling I did the make-up as well, but it doesn’t look like my style so maybe I didn’t. The idea was to give Maril a more edgy look!

BTW here’s a styling tip, wearing your hair pulled back helps to highlight the cheekbones and elongate the face, which can either make your face look thinner and/or more balanced.

Anyway, it was around this time that Maril became a dangerous distraction for drivers as she lay semi-naked on a billboard on the A4, West Cromwell Road, Earls Court (I think she was advertising Bergasol tanning lotion) – Charlie and I drove past it, flat out at about 35 mph, in his Renault 4! Happy days – are you out there Charlie? :) xxx

Charlie Kemp
One of my favourite photos

[edit: 3rd June 13] Maril has informed me that Charlie died last year. Absolutely heartbreaking news. Rest in peace you old B x

Méret Oppenheim Gets Inky Hands

(Erotique Voilée 1933) Méret Oppenheim. Artist/Photography: Man Ray (Emanuel Rabinovitch)

I love this picture of surrealist artist and photographer Méret Oppenheim – She of the furry cup fame (Object ‘Breakfast in Fur’). Photograph title: Erotique Voilée by the artist Man Ray 1933.

I used to hate getting ink on my skin when printing at school, but here Oppenheim flaunts it openly in an innocent act of chastity and filth, acceptability and the forbidden fruits of sexual indulgence, maybe male and female or physical and spiritual, and today we might just say black and white!

Just to note that Oppenheim’s Eton crop hairstyle was, by 1933, about ten years out of date amongst the glitterati – however, it’s my favourite style to cut!

Is short hair going to make a comeback in the Spring 2013?

Chris Roberts Fashion Photographer – Where TF are you now

Model: Persephone in Bruce Oldfield, Photographer: Chris Roberts © 1981, Hair: Ian Robson, Makeup: Arianne. Bath

This was one of my favourite photo shoots! Taken by Chris Roberts in the early eighties in Bath. Persephone is wearing a deep lilac silk Bruce Oldfield dress – which were to become very vogue.

Chris Roberts Fashion Photographer 1980-ish Shirland Road

Chris and I did three years of photographic sessions together, mainly in and around London, especially at Willie Christie’s studio in Princedale Road, off Holland Park Avenue (btw: Willie Christie was married to British Vogue editor Grace Coddington. Chris was Willie’s part-time assistant in the early 80’s. also: Robert Lobetta and I, while @ Ricci Burns, did a couple of Over 21 shoots with Willie Christie). Very sadly Chris and I lost touch for some unknown reason, we had some very good times – where are you now my little Northern friend?

Written by Ian Robson
SlashHair the sex, politics, religion and philosophy of the fashion industry, from the perspective of session hairdresser & stylist Ian Robson. “When you look good, I look good.” Find Ian on Facebook and Twitter. © SlashHair’s work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, which means: quote me and steal my images, but give me credit by Linking Back.