Boris Johnson wins President Erdogan Offensive Poetry competition

boris johnson

Boris Johnson wins The Spectator’s President Erdogan Offensive Poetry competition.

Boris Johnson and Sirs at The Spectator, that really was such a massive stitch-up, or to quote the man himself, who recently criticised David Cameron by saying, “This is a bigger stitch-up than the Bayeux Tapestry.” However, let’s be realistic, I’m sure the choice was ‘semi-political’, and anyway, I wouldn’t want to be ‘named’ and summoned to the court of the Turkish Sultan Erdogan, like poor old Jan Böhmermann and be given a turkey slap.

Anyway, I thought I’d write kindly riposte (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the President of Turkey is unable to do this because his time is being taken up designing and building a new petting zoo in Ankara. Oh, and he has absolutely no sense of humour):

Boris Johnson

The glamorous politician Bo Johnson,
Like a Minoan he can leap over oxen,
However, his rhyme was a crime,
And he should do some time,
That glamorous politician Bo Johnson.

I wrote about five limericks for the competition, two of which I sent in to The Spectator. They’re far too rude for my website folks. Send me a Twitter message, and I’ll send them to you :-) xXx

HABB – The Hair and Beauty Benevolent

HABB – The Hair and Beauty Benevolent is the official charity for the hairdressing industry that helps hairdressers in need.

Since it launched in 1853, HABB has always been there for hairdressers, many of whom had nowhere else to turn. It still sees more than 200 applications each year – including students.

Please Support and Follow HABB on:

JustGiving
Facebook
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Thinking Of Going Blonde This Summer?

monroe

What I love about Marilyn is that she has been so many different shades of blonde – Golden, Ash, Champagne, Honey, Bleached, Strawberry, Platinum and White Blonde – you’ve got to love that in a person. This image: Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern (the last sitting, June 1962) is a White Blond (Bleach + 6% / 20 vol peroxide + toner).

Thinking of going blonde this Summer? Thought I’d point out the different versions for you :) There are three main categories: warm (red spectrum), cool(blue/green spectrum) and neutral!

Varieties of Blonde:

Flaxen Blonde: the original neutral, natural blonde. Very light but not white blonde.

Yellow Blonde: obviously a blonde with a yellow hue – slightly gold maybe, hopefully! At its very best a Champagne Blonde.

Platinum Blonde, White Blonde: often extremely light, a whitish looking blonde; almost all natural platinum blondes (tow-headed) are children. Technically, a platinum blonde is blueish and therefore a cold blonde. It is sometimes called a Silver Blonde.

Sandy Blonde: a beige blonde, a greyish-hazel or cream-coloured blonde – naturally warm. Makes beautiful, natural looking highlights.

Golden Blonde: includes pinks and yellows to create a slightly darker, rich, warm, golden-yellow blonde.

Strawberry Blonde, Venetian Blonde or Honey Blonde: think of red then add it to what you think of as blonde! It’s a reddish blonde.

Dirty Blonde, Dishwater Blonde, Grey Blonde, Mouse: a natural dark blonde that is the perfect background for highlights. Naturally includes flecks of golden blonde and brown, but is often flat and dull, and quite frankly, mousey.

Ash-Blonde: technically ash means green! However, green counteracts and neutralizes red. A cold and very natural looking blonde. It can come out as a smoky steel blonde.

Bleached Blonde, Peroxide Blonde: an artificial, yellowish blonde that is trying to be a platinum blonde, but it’s not. The base blonde of a ‘bleach and toner.’

Dark blonde: when natural, it looks a shade of light brown in the Winter and lightens in the Summer. If your natural colour was brown, but is now grey; go dark blonde. Yet another classic blonde for highlights.

Chemotherapy Hair Advice 101

Model: Anik, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981, Hair: Ian Robson. London - Willie Christie's Studio

If you search Google for “Chemotherapy Hair Advice” you will find loads of excellent articles (esp. NHS .pdf documents) detailing the procedure and hair issues. However, I would like to share some of my thoughts and give you a bit of hairdressers chemotherapy hair advice!

Like most of us, I’ve known a number of people who have had chemotherapy, quite a lot actually; but as a hairdresser, I’ve taken a very keen interest in their hair and the advice that’s been given to them by their supporting team.

Chemotherapy Hair Advice

  • The normal daily average hair loss for everyone (you & me) is about 100 hairs. I say that because: When using the cold cap it is my understanding that chemotherapy slows hair growth. Therefore: if you are undergoing chemotherapy over a period of, say, twelve weeks, by the end of the treatment, and beyond, your hair WILL get thinner – that would be absolutely normal, even if you didn’t get extra hair falling out due to the chemotherapy. And just like postnatal hair loss, your hair will grow back.
  • Handle with care – To prevent your hair from being Pulled out, don’t pull it! Sounds like stupid advice, but ‘hair dynamics’ could mean that even long dirty hair, or hair wrapped around super soft sponge rollers, is being put under too much force / stress and may be pulled out. Think about what pulls your hair, and don’t do it.
  • Pony-tails must be kept very loose, and always use non-metal hair elastics like 4mm Blax Snag Free Hair Elastics or a ribbon.
  • Obviously, don’t get all your hair cut off! Play style and length by ear, but I would recommend getting your hair cut in a style so you can allow it to dry naturally. And that usually means: medium short. It’ll make life much easier for a whole load of reasons.
  • How to wash your hair during chemotherapy: Wash it twice a week as a maximum. Use lukewarm, tepid water. Apply a very small amount of shampoo to the scalp/hair roots and very gently massage – don’t worry too much about the ends. Only give one wash, rinse very thoroughly. Pat hair dry, don’t rub with towel.
  • Don’t wash your hair under a power shower.
  • Always use a very small amount of conditioner (for normal hair) (whether you need it or not) and comb your hair Very Gently under the running water.
  • Personally, I would recommend that you don’t use leave-in conditioners, or any product that is normally left in your hair like: hairspray, setting lotion, gel, mousse and wax, dry shampoo, volumising and shine shampoo, etc., because they may cause product build-up.
  • One of my clients said, the current advice is to not wash your hair 2 days before or 2 days after chemotherapy.
  • Use a pure, mild, acid balanced shampoo and conditioner (PH about 5.00 – 7.00). I like Timotei Pure Shampoo contains no silicones, parabens or colourants. Does contain Sodium Laureth Sulfate. On the other hand, I recommend Urtekram Children’s Shampoo and conditioner, get it from Amazon.co.uk.
  • Please be aware that the name baby or children’s shampoo, doesn’t necessarily mean mild and acid balanced – some of them are alkaline (above PH 7)!
  • Parabens are preservatives and are used to restrict the growth of yeasts, molds and bacteria.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, SLES) – an oil dispersant, detergent and surfactant, it is used in soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, and hundreds of cosmetic and beauty products. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
  • Don’t leave any shampoo or conditioner on your scalp or in your hair, always rinse thoroughly.
  • Most hairdressing products are designed to be rinsed out.
  • If your hair gets very knotty, comb your hair from the ends first and work your way towards the roots. Never, ever, tug.
  • If you really need to dry and style your hair with a hair-dryer: use the lowest heat setting, gentlest speed and for God’s sake take off the nozzle.
  • All my hairstyles can be dried/styled by just using your fingers, hands; you don’t need to use brushes, they tend to catch and pull.
  • Feed You Hair, Eat A Rainbow: Diet doesn’t only effect your health, but also your hair – feed it! Eat: peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, mango, papaya, apricots, blueberries, sardines, salmon, pumpkin & ground flax seeds, walnuts and wheat germ – I’m talking, lots of multi-coloured fruit and vegetables, oily fish, nuts, seeds and grains.
  • I advise you to:
    • Leave longer for your hair appointment, so I can take my time to be gentle with your hair.
    • Try having your hair cut dry, without washing. It makes no difference to me or the outcome of your style, but it may help your hair a little? Wash it after the cut and allow it to dry naturally.
    • Still have your hair cut every four to five weeks, it’s important to keep your hair at the optimum length, plus I can keep an eye on the condition of your hair.
    • Obviously you must avoid all permanent tinting, permanent waving (all chemical processes) until at least three months after your chemotherapy treatment finishes. However, there is such a thing as a water rinse (they’re like the old fashioned coloured setting lotion): Roux Fanci-Full Temporary Rinse. They’re great for toning down and blending gray hair and roots. And just like a setting lotion they wash out.
    • Have a gander in Waitrose for your hair care products, they’ve got a very good selection. Don’t confuse Waitrose Pure Shampoo for Timotei Pure Shampoo.

That’s it! If you would like to talk with me personally, please get in contact x

Social Media Relationships

Social media relationships are real relationships

When I read, “The core goal of social media is to enhance client experiences, cultivate your relationship online,” I actually shivered. Really, I did. I think I’ve got issues with vacuous #TwitterPlatitudes like: enhance client experiences YUK!

Surely it should read, “The core goal of social media is to be Social?” i.e: Companionable.

Look, I’m not going to beat around the bush here, I’ve been on social media almost since it started in 1997; in 1998 I started my first blog! And I can assure you, if you want to, Get the best out of Social Media, all you have to do is follow the rules of social media etiquette – Number one being: Be Friendly.

Here’s an example of how NOT to do it:

My wife is reading The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies, and she is (maybe was) really enjoing it. So she looked-up and followed @DinahJefferies on Twitter. And she tweeted: “I’m reading #TheTeaPlantersWife by @DinahJefferies and loving it.”

Dinah Jefferies Liked the tweet.

One of my wife’s followers tweeted, “Thanks for recommendation, ordering a copy today”
And my wife replied, “I hope you’ll enjoy it :-)”

Dinah Jefferies did NOT follow my wife back, and did not engage further – even though my wife had potentially sold a book for her.

What should Dinah Jefferies have done?

Simply, Dinah Jefferies should have thanked my wife and engaged her in further conversation, because they are the basic rules of social media etiquette.

My wife unfollowed @DinahJefferies and is now a little iffy with the book.

Social Media is all about being social. COMMUNICATION – If you can’t do it, don’t do it!

Is Hairdressing An Art Form?

Yet another blog post that has been requested by my friends on #HairHour – 10 Feb 2016. Initially inspired by Salon Evolution (@salonevolution) and egged on by Hair Hour (@Hair_Hour). Actually this is a blog post that I’ve wanted to write for ages.

Grayson Perry - Guerrilla Tactics: (2002) Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. NAi(010) Publishers, Rotterdam, NetherlandsGrayson Perry – Guerrilla Tactics: (2002) Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. NAi(010) Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The first time I saw Grayson Perry’s artwork was in June 2002 at the Stedelijk modern art museum, Amsterdam. And I was totally bowled over. And I felt an affinity with his work. You see, I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of an artist. A lot of hairdressers do; because we’re working with our hands and there is a strong sense of sculpting; we are working with shape and form, each hairdo being individual. At this point I could start rambling on and on about my education, art influences and my days as a trainee architectural and industrial model maker, but I won’t. You’ll thank me for that.

training to be an architectural and industrial model maker at Paradigm ModelsMe, 18, training to be an architectural and industrial model maker at Paradigm Models.

Yeah, well, anyway, it was 1976 and the client I was standing behind said, “You hairdressers are now like pop stars.”
“Am I like a pop star?” I asked.
“Yes, very much so,” she said, and that’s where it ended. And I’ve never really understood how she meant it; was it good or bad to be like a pop star? In reality, I felt as though I were like an artist because I was trying to express myself through my work. And for me, my creations had a narrative behind them, they still do; it’s why I found Abandoned Suitcase Reveals A Love Affair so fascinating – I felt a million miles away from what I visualised as being a pop star.

Over the past year (in 2015) the Bank of England asked for nominations for ‘people of historic significance from the world of visual arts’ – they want to put an artist on a twenty pound note. And yes, as one would expect, the wonderful world of hairdressing offered up the bloody obvious – the old maestro himself, Vidal Sassoon! A little embarrassing I thought. Let’s face it, hairdressing isn’t really a visual art, is it – even though I and most other hairdressers would like it to be. Hairdressing is a craft. And a transient craft at that!

In 2013 Grayson Perry gave BBC Radio 4’s Reith Lecture, entitled Playing to the Gallery. As a devotee, I listened and actually took some notes (of which I’m about to use). In one of the three lectures (Beating the bounds) Perry presents eight tests to mark the boundaries of art to establish if it’s art that one is looking at! Here I will sort of apply Perry’s tests to hairdressing and see how we fare:

Is it in a gallery or an art context?

Artist Cornelia Parker, in a collaboration with Tilda Swinton (British actress, performance artist, model, and fashion icon), created an art installation called: The Maybe (1995), where Swinton lay ‘asleep’ in a glass vitrine display cabinet at the Serpentine Gallery, London. There is no mention of Swinton’s hair anywhere – You can take a hairstyle into a gallery, but that doesn’t make it art!

For me, art is about ‘expressing an original idea’ within a context (a body of work) and a narrative. Take Pablo Picasso’s artwork: Bull’s Head (Tête de taureau – 1942), simply assembled from an old leather bicycle seat (the head) and a rusty pair of handlebars (the horns). It’s one of those artworks that you can easily diminish by saying, “I could have done that!” However, it expresses an original idea, it sits well within today’s art context and was intended by Picasso to be art – pushing your old bike into a gallery wouldn’t have the same effect.

Hairstyles struggle, in my opinion, to fit within an art context because of their ‘intentionality’ and lack of ‘meaning.’

Is it a boring version of something else?

Even though the fashion industry, coiffeurs and their clientèle take hairstyles seriously, in my view there is far too much acclamation. There is a falseness in the fashion industry that ‘hurts’ hairdressing – the hair at the Paris fashion show was unoriginal, drab, boring, but the fashionistas applauded it enthusiastically.

Hairdressing can be both original and aesthetically pleasing (yeah and it can be funny too G.Perry), but however it appears: divine or disgusting, ordinary or extraordinary, it functions within the bounds of an aesthetic framework – Sounds quite a lot like ART to me – Oh Dear!

Is it made by an artist?

“Art historian Ernst Gombrich said, ‘there is no such thing as art, only artists.’ So you have to be an artist to make art.” Grayson Perry, 2013, BBC Radio 4, Reith Lecture, Playing To The Gallery, Beating the Bounds.


Ai Weiwei The Artist Barber of Caochangdi, Beijing

The Chinese Contemporary artist, activist and Lego bandito Ai Weiwei, is known for cutting hair. Does this make his haircuts a work of art? Absofuckinglutely NOT.

Photography. Problematic!

Yeah, photography Is problematic. I’m not sure Perry got this boundary marker right? He asked a photographer friend of his for a definition of a photograph as art, and his friend said, if it’s bigger than two metres and costs more than five figures! There was no mention of the visual artist Man Ray, who contributed so much to the Dada and Surrealist movements – his photographs usually make five figures or more.

Obviously hairstyles and photography go hand in hand, for how else are we to see hairstyles from the 1930s, 40s, 50s… or ‘Trevor Sorbie’s wedge?’ Is a photograph of a hairstyle in a gallery representative of hairdressing as an art form? Surely the answer has got to be ‘No’ – isn’t that artistic entitlement by proxy?

I suppose what I’m saying is, even though the National Portrait Gallery are celebrating one hundred years of Vogue, ‘A Century of Style’ (1916-2016), by putting on an exhibition, the hairstyles therein are not art.

The limited edition test

A classic example of a limited edition is that of a signed limited edition print; in the bottom left-hand corner, written in pencil by the artist, is the edition number of the print: 3/250 – meaning that this is the third print in a run of two hundred and fifty copies. I’m sure you can work out the maths, the greater the number of copies, the less each copy is worth. And I suppose you could say, the greater the number of copies, the more likely each copy becomes less of an artwork and more of a commercial object?

Apply this to hairdressing, and quite frankly you’ve got a shed load of hairdressing industry bollocks to contend with. Limited edition doesn’t really exist, even though in theory it’s supposed to – each client is a one off – in spite of the fact that they all look the fucking same!

The handbag and hipster test

The ‘handbags’ are the wives of the super rich Russian oligarchs, they waft through the streets of London soaking up culture and property. The ‘hipsters’ look a lot like lumbersexuals – beards, glasses, messenger bags and single speed or better still, fixed gear bikes (but they can’t build a fire or chop wood). It’s said that art belongs to the educated and the rich – so where ever you see a preponderance of ostentatious designer handbags and custom built Brick Lane bikes chained to the railings, you can be pretty sure something arty-farty is in the air.

Every London hairdresser knows these people, they are the wonderfully pernickety friends and clients who call us pop stars, artists and Daaarling. However, it’s also these people who I believe Vidal Sassoon was referring to when Reuters interviewed him in 2010. Sassoon said, “Hairdressing in general hasn’t been given the kudos it deserves. It’s not recognised by enough people as a worthy craft.”

I agree with Sassoon, it’s not recognised as a worthy craft; and that’s because of the transitory nature of hairdressing, a chignon, a style, a haircut are ephemeral and therefore seemingly worthless like paper cups, or a copy of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss on a never-ending print run.

The rubbish dump test (my favourite)

The rubbish dump test is the test I’ve always used. I imagine the artwork hidden in a scrap yard and wonder if I could pick it out amongst debris – BTW, I used to spend a lot of time in scrap yards looking for car parts. I liked Grayson Perry’s warning that a lot of artworks would fail the test because the rubbish dump itself may be the artwork.

Do you remember David Mach’s ‘nuclear protest’ sculpture Polaris (1983), made out of thousands of used car tyres? A scrapheap challenge extraordinaire outside the Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, London – someone set fire to it.

What’s the equivalent rubbish dump test for hair? Oxford Street on the first day of the winter sales? Discovering a genuine artistic creation under such conditions may take a little extra artistic talent in itself. Most people wouldn’t recognise a good haircut if it jumped out and bit them.

The computer art test

The computer art test is the last of Grayson Perry’s tests. Perry asks, how do we know it’s web art, and not just another interesting Website? The question seems a little naive to me, it shows a slight lack of understanding about what the internet is. Does a ‘piece’ of web art really need to be a Website? And it’s very interesting to look at Contemporary Artists’ Websites – not an inspiring pixel to be found.

Internet art, just like art in the real world, must make us stop and think and engage.

The same can be said for hairdressing sites, very uninspiring; my desire to stop and think, and not click-off within five seconds, has yet to be fulfilled.

I’ve got to say: for me, the epitome of shitty internet hair are those unbelievably egotistical, Mirror Image App. photographs that are the excrement of social media.

This is not art because we're smiling!

This is not art because we’re smiling – it’s a Happy Snap

Obviously hairdressing could be an art form, hairdressers, like artists, have the ability to see the world differently and express it and themselves through their work – most hairdressers do that, it’s part of the job. The problem comes with value, because hairdressing it so transient, so everyday, so commonplace.

Anyway, I’ve no problem with being called a craftsman; take a trip to your local museum and see all those artefacts made by craftsman throughout millennia – brilliant.

Further Reading and Resources

1970s Shampoo Nightmares

Model: Anik, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981, Hair: Ian Robson. London - Willie Christie's Studio

Model: Anik, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981, Hair: Ian Robson. London – Willie Christie’s Studio

This blog post, 1970s Shampoo Nightmares, has been requested by my friends on #HairHour – 10 Feb 2016. They thought it “would make a very interesting read!” I’m not too sure about that, you’d better judge for yourself!

Without meaning this to be a biography of my early years as a hairdresser, or a fucking history lesson: I’ve got to say this starts in the period between 1970 and 1980, maybe it was when Jimi Hendrix died in September 1970, or when Andre Mizelas (of Andre Bernard) got shot in November 1970, or maybe when Vidal Sassoon created his line of hair-care products in the early 1970s? The thing is, there was an imperceptible wind of change gently blowing – just like there is today, and it’s difficult for me to put a date to it, let’s say the early 1970s.

It was a time when most, if not all, London salons had their own line of self branded hair-care products for sale – I’m talking mainly shampoos and conditioners. They were formulated by so called, cosmetic chemists in small laboratories come kitchen sink factories. The name David Gold rings a bell, I don’t know why – the smell of coconut comes to mind when I think of the name! Salons bought their shampoos and conditioners by the gallon (4.5 litres) from the labs who personalised it (branded it) with ridiculous flavours and the salon’s name. These shampoos and conditioners were absolute crap – or were they? If you washed somewhere between fifteen and fifty heads of hair a day, six days a week, for three months solid, believe me, it really was absolute crap!

I say ridiculous flavours: lemon for greasy hair was typical and obvious, pineapple and orange were slightly less obvious and sickly. pine for normal hair, didn’t smell toilety, but of the woods. almond and coconut for dry and damaged hair. And the colours of course were pretty vivid: yellow, orange, green, pink and spunk white! As a creative junior I liked to mix them and create ‘cocktails’ – my favourite being a pina colada: 3 measures of pineapple, a dash of pine and lemon, 1 measure of coconut – the end result being clean hair, a happy mixologist and an oblivious client!

A junior’s morning job would be to: decant the shampoos and conditioners into the various ‘clean’ 2 litre glass carafes with cork stoppers, that sat behind the backwash like grand apothecary jars.

After a flutter with Lamaur (my favourite: apple pectin shampoo) and Wella, Ricci Burns (where I worked) ditched the laboratory and went down the innovative product road and embraced Redken products (first UK salon to do so); on the other hand, Vidal Sassoon was heavily into self branded products and I think they were the first to go into major production (with Helen of Troy Corporation), selling in the USA and Europe in 1980. This was the beginning of celebrity hairdresser branded hair-care and beauty products.

Today there are a plethora manufactured by ‘global’ beauty companies like: Procter & Gamble (Vidal Sassoon), L’Oréal (Jean-Louis David), Estée Lauder (Bobbi Brown – Makeup Artist) and Unilever (Tigi for hair salons, Toni & Guy)…

And you may ask: are salon (professional) products better than High Street (retail) products? Sadly, No, they’re not better! But I know it’s what hairdressers, salons, have always wanted. Unfortunately, expensive, celebrity/professional shampoos aren’t better – £3.99 or £39.99 there’s not a lot of difference; you don’t get what you pay for!

The trouble is, there’s such a lot of bollocks talked about hairdressing products; in the end it’s all about money, the bottom line, sales, turnover… I remember all the fuss caused by Wella in the mid-late 1970s, when they removed Lifetex conditioner from their professional range and allowed Boots to sell it at half the fucking price that a salon could buy it for in the first place (supermarket purchasing power)! (Get your arse down to the supermarket, but talk with your stylist first!)

There have always been well-known ‘celebrity’ hairdressers: Marcel Grateau (Marcel wave), Antoine (original short bob cut), Raymond Bessone (Mr. Teasy-Weasy), Andre Bernard (royal hairdresser)… Vidal Sassoon… However, it is today’s branded High Street beauty products, celebrity culture and consumerism that have changed the hairdressing and fashion scene for the worst – maybe those carafes of shampoo weren’t so bad after all?

Is It Safe To Visit Turkey

galata towerCrossing the Bosphorus between Üsküdar and Eminönü and passing by Galata tower – You’ve Got to do this.

Because of my close connections with the beautiful Turkey, all my clients talk to me about it (especially those about to go on a golfing holiday in Antalya), let’s face it, Turkey is in the news and not for all the right reasons – Of course they ask me, “is it safe to visit Turkey?”

Well, is it safe to visit Turkey? Here’s my reply:

Obviously, statistically, yes it’s safe to visit Turkey! Not only is it a most beautiful country, but the Turkish people themselves are lovely, friendly and extremely hospitable and the food, well don’t get me started on that, it is unbelievably delicious.

However, there are warnings, there is some risk. And it has got to be said (we all know the issues with Daesh and Syria), there is an extremely high threat of terrorism in certain areas – for instance, in the South East of Turkey and especially along the Syria/Iraq/Iran border, and it’s not just bombings or shootings, but kidnappings too (the British government don’t pay ransom).

The reason I pour doubt on the question, is it safe to visit Turkey: Partly due to a number of political problems over the past year or so, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party, headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan) has resumed conflicts with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK – Kurdish separatists). This brings to an end the Kurdish–Turkish peace process, confirms Erdogan’s anti-Kurdish nationalist stance and ‘may’ open the door to future acts of PKK terrorism similar to the 2005 Kusadasi bus bombing on Turkey’s western Aegean coast?

Just to say, the PKK are considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union! Since 1978 they’ve been involved in a campaign against the Turkish government to create an independent nation state of Kurdistan. Personally, I stand by their cause, but not by the violence.

Then of course there’s Daesh!

Over the last year (2015-2016), there have been number of terrorist bombings and terrorist incidents in Turkey- not all attributed to Daesh. They make very sad reading:

  • 06 January ’15, Sultanahmet, Istanbul: suicide bombing: 1 + bomber killed, 1 injured.
  • 05 June ’15, Diyarbakir rally bombing: 4 killed, 100+ injured.
  • 20 July ’15, Suruç bombing: 33 killed, 104 injured.
  • 10 October ’15, Ankara railway station bombing: 102 killed, 400+ injured.
  • 01 December ’15, Istanbul metro bombing: 1 killed, 5+ injured.
  • 23 December ’15, Sabiha Gökçen airport, Istanbul bombing: 1 killed, 1 injured.
  • 12 January ’16, Sultanahmet, Istanbul bombing: 11 killed, 14 injured.
  • 17 February ’16, Ankara, Military Convoy: 29 killed.
  • [edit] 13 March ’16, Ankara bombing: 37 killed, 125 injured.
  • [edit] 19 March ’16, İstiklal Ave, Beyoğlu, Istanbul: suicide bomber: 4 killed, 36 injured.
  • [edit] 07 June ’16, Vezneciler district, Istanbul: car bomb: 12 killed, about 36 injured.
  • [edit] 28 June ’16, Ataturk Airport Istanbul: suicide bombing: 41 killed, 239+ injured.
  • [edit] 15 July ’16, Turkey: coup d’état: 294 killed, 1,500+ injured, thousands arrested.

And I’m wondering if Turkish tourism is about to go tits up?

After the downing of the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 and the subsequent diplomatic fallout, Russian tourists are saying ‘HeT’ and are staying well clear of their favourite beaches in Antalya. Couple that with the Sultanahmet bombing, which killed ten German tourists and injured a many others, and it could mean the Germans are about to say ‘Nein’ to holidaying in Turkey too? And if that wasn’t enough; only weeks after the Tunisia beach massacre (26 June 2015), where 38 (mainly British) tourists were killed and 36 injured, Turkish hotel workers at: Grand Yazici Mares hotel, Icmeler and Club Hotel Pineta, Marmaris posed as Daesh terrorists in ‘poolside pranks’ scaring British holidaymakers shitless – Turkish workers showing what they really feel about their EU guests and their precious tourist industry?

HOWEVER, as I’ve already said, Turkey, it’s people and cuisine are wonderful; (YES I would recommend) think about it before you go on a Turkish holiday especially in Istanbul, my favourite destination.

Three Things We Always Do In Istanbul

Turkish coffee Ethem Tezcakar Grand BazaarHave an outstanding Turkish coffee at Ethem Tezçakar Kahveci in the Grand Bazaar. Address: 61/63 Halicilar Cad. Grand Bazaar.

Sehzade Erzurum Cag KebabiEat at one of Istanbul’s best kabab restaurants, Sehzade Erzurum Cag Kebabi 3/A, Hocapasa Sok. Sirkeci, Istanbul. cağ kebab – we’re talking donner kebab on a skewer.

Hagia Sophia | Ayasofya | Aya SofyaVisit Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya or Aya Sofya) and see the Viking graffiti. This awe-inspiring former Byzantine church of the Holy Wisdom, first built in 360 AD by Constantine the Great – it’s now a museum.

Enjoy your trip, let me know how you got on xXx

[Edit: 30th June 2016: Things are getting worse, Please seek travel advice. The Foreign Office advises that British tourists visiting Turkey should be alert to their surroundings and remain vigilant in crowded places – which is pretty fucking obvious!]

Me Smoking Aged 2.5

Me Smoking

This is an old and very faded Black and White photograph taken (developed and enlarged) by my father, of me smoking – No Dates!

We were having a picnic at a place we called Buffalo Creek, in Tobruk, Libya. I had fallen into the sea from a cliff and my father had dragged me out, saving my two year old life. Then he tried to kill me by giving me a Capstan full strength cigarette, while they all looked on and took happy snaps of me smoking! Yeah, I was ill afterwards – Happy days.

Oh, and BTW, I hate smoking and I’m pleased they’ve banned it in public places!

What does SS17 and AW17 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 SS17 and AW17 stand for within the world of fashion?

Answer: SS17 stands for the Spring Summer fashion season in the year 2017. The AW17 stands for the Autumn Winter season in 2017! The SS17 shows are held in the Autumn of 2016, and the AW17 shows are in the Feb/March of 2017

There are also two popular hashtags to be found on Twitter (and other social networks): #ss17 and #aw17 – they will be busy at the time of the shows, UK busy time is London Fashion Week (AW16) – Friday 19th – Tuesday 23rd February 2016. London Fashion Week (SS17) 16th – 20th September 2016.

And of course you can follow #ss17 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 SS17 and AW17 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 SS17 and AW17 equals the fashion seasons: Spring Summer 2017, and Autumn Winter 2017!