Joe’s Words

In Interview on November 14, 2010 at 5:19 pm

            When I first got to London, I had decided I was going to cut off all of my hair. I had a new mantra: shed all that you don’t need. Joe ended up being the man for the job. Not only a great stylist, he was also very talkative and I found out he was from Somerset, which is about forty minutes outside of Bristol and is known for its cider. He was very forward thinking and open in our conversation while he cut away, and when I asked for an interview, he obliged. After one of his shifts, we sat on the upper level of a McDonald’s because he wanted to order a soda, which was the first and only time I entered one of these establishments while I was overseas. Below is our exchange of words.

You mentioned that one of the great things about hair styling was that it’s very easy to turn a bad situation into a good one- was it a specific situation that taught you this or did a mentor show you this- how did this lesson come about?

No, not really. I just find that when you’ve been doing it for quite a while, you see a lot of bad situations. People don’t like certain aspects of their hair or what other people have done to their hair and literally, by changing something very, very small, it can alter people’s perception. People tend to focus on the bad things, so if you solve that one little, bad thing, then it’s actually okay and it turns it around into a good situation. It’s very simple to do, really. But no, I think it’s a lot of little things over the years that kind of taught me that nothing’s ever that bad. Nothing’s ever not sortable. To sort something out, you just have to listen to the person you’re talking to and that will sort it out.

Have you applied this to other parts of your life?

Oh God, no. No. No. No.


I’m completely different than the way I am at work.


Completely different.

How so?

Um, I’m very shy.. I’m very, very shy outside of work. I don’t know why. I feel very, very comfortable when I’m cutting hair or when I’m doing someone’s hair because I know I’m good at it. I don’t mean that I’m being big-headed with that- I know my job. I know my job well. So, I find it to be very, very easy. Um, but then I’m not when I’m not doing someone’s hair. I don’t know.. I don’t know. [said in a quiet voice] I’m very shy. Yeah.

Okay. So, when did you decide you wanted to get yourself into teaching hairstyling and become a platform artist- is that the term?

Yup, yeah.

When did you decide that was what you wanted to move towards?

Probably, about two years ago. Um, I started teaching hairdressing in the salon I was working in— I started teaching assistants. And then I started teaching the staff. And I found I was doing more kind of fashion work and more kind of cutting hair in the middle of the salon with everyone watching and I quite liked it. I quite like teaching people and platform artistry can be the same thing, but just to hundreds of people and I quite liked the idea of it. So yeah, a couple of years ago, really I started wanting to do platform artistry. I wasn’t very interested in teaching. I didn’t really want to do it, but now I enjoy it. It’s fun. So, yeah. [laughs]

That’s cool. You mentioned no longer being punk on the outside but still being punk on the inside-


Can you tell me a bit about what you meant by that?

Um, I still see myself as having alternative views to things and to a certain extent, not really giving a crap about things, do you know what I mean? Not really giving- I mean I’m shy, but I don’t really give a crap about what other people think about me. I wouldn’t care if somebody said something to me down the street. I wouldn’t really give a shit. Um, I don’t really- I think usually when I was a punk it didn’t make- it didn’t matter if I hadn’t made an effort. But now that I’m not on the outside, if I don’t make an effort I sometimes feel scruffy. Whereas when I was a punk, it didn’t really matter if I had my hair [inaudible], it was with the look, do you know what I mean? So, I’m still the same way, I just haven’t got any piercings. Do I you know I mean? The hair isn’t blue. You know? That’s- yeah.

Um, what’s something you have to remind yourself often?

Um, that I know what I’m doing.


You wouldn’t believe the amount of situations in my industry that you get into when you question yourself. A lot. And you go and ask other people’s advice. A lot of the time, they just confirm what you were already thinking. They just tell you what you already know. Sometimes you just need that other person’s input just to make sure, because when you’ve got a lot of different things moving around in your head and you’re thinking do I use this or do I use that, and you decide to use that’s best, you’ve always go and confirm it with somebody, like with a color, let’s say, and they will tell you, “yeah, use that. That will be fine,” and it ends up fine. Confidence. To have more confidence in myself, and to believe in my skills, really.

What’s your favorite thing to do in London?

Boating on the Serpentine.


Yeah. That’s fun. It’s really nice. It’s really- I love Hyde Park. Once you go into the middle of it, it’s quiet and you just don’t get that in London, do you know what I mean? In central London, you find very few places that are quiet where you can’t hear anything. Boating on the Serpentine, you can’t hear anything. It’s lovely. You can see all the water, it’s beautiful. I love it.

Great. So, this might, kind of goes with the last question, but I was going to ask you, when is living in London at its best?

Okay, um, that is actually, it is kind of like the last question. I don’t know. I think- I personally think that we could rephrase that slightly to ‘when do you feel like you really like living in London?’


Um, when I get off the tube and I see like, a landmark or something. I got off the tube the other day in Westminster and saw Big Ben and I thought, “Oh, that’s just really cool, isn’t it?” Do you know what I mean? It’s just like when you see landmarks and you see- or you walk past Buckingham Palace or something or I don’t know, walk past Marble Arch. When you see something that you see on the t.v. all the time, I don’t really think, “Oh, that’s where I live!” Do you know what I mean? And then you see it, and you’re like “Oh yeah, I live here..” [laughs] So yeah, that’s cool.

How about when it’s at its worst?

I don’t like Oxford Street, um, at any time, really. It’s too busy. I don’t like all the crowds of people. It really bugs me. You can’t get anywhere, you can’t move anywhere. You’re constantly being given a flyer or something. It’s just annoying, really. If I need to go there for something I will get in and I will get out straight away. Yeah.

I work near Oxford Street and I always just take the back roads and walk around–

Yeah. I literally get off at Oxford Street station, go to Top Man, and then get back on the tube.

[laughs] If you could give your, um, you guys don’t call it high school here…

Um, just school.

Okay, uh, if you could give your um, school self– I guess, advice, what would it be?

Probably to stay in college and not drop out and do hairdressing.


I love my job but, yeah, I could’ve done more. I was just lazy. I could’ve done more. I love it; I wouldn’t give it up now for the world but going back, it would have been better. Probably would’ve done something a bit more, you know, I wanted to do something with computers. I used to be really good with computers.


Yeah, and I used to be very, very good at writing. But, my dad’s a computer engineer and taught me a lot. [inaudible], I did well, but I was just lazy. Don’t know why I started doing hair because it’s not exactly easy, but yeah, stay in college.

How do your parents feel about what you do?

Oh, they love it.


They really love the fact that I’ve got a career. My brother doesn’t have a career; my brother just floats between jobs all the time. Now, he’s selling motorbikes. And I’m doing something and I’ve been doing the same thing consistently now for eight years. So, they like the fact that I’m kind of doing something and working towards different things. I’ve dabbled with education and now I’m just trying to go a bit further with that, now. So, they like it. So, I’m not wasting my time. I’m working towards something.

What are your heartstrings made of?

In what context?

[laughs] Any context.

Do you mean romantically?

I’ve never asked this question aloud before. It’s supposed to be that you answer with whatever comes to mind when you hear the question.

If we’re going to stick with work, I would say seeing passion in people, really. In anything really. I like to see people that are passionate about what they do. I really do. I get really upset with people who kind of, I talk to a lot of people every day and I get really upset with people who say, “I don’t really like my job.” I’m like, well, then why do you do it? Do you know what I mean? And they’re like, “Oh, it pays the bills..” But, my job pays the bills. And I love it. I don’t understand why people do jobs they don’t like. It really does baffle me. I don’t see the point. There are other jobs out there. Get another job. You know?


So, passion.

I think that people get stuck when they can’t picture what’s ahead of them they just think there are no options.

Yeah, people are afraid of change. I mean, I was afraid of change. I moved here, like, without knowing anyone, moved here [London] on my own eight months ago and I really like it. I’ve made loads of friends; I like my job at some points, it’s different day to day but that’s fine; but yeah. I’m loving it. I wouldn’t go back. You know, I wouldn’t go back now.

Eight things that make you tick:
8.being single

*To which I exclaimed, “bangers!” and he said no one actually calls them bangers. After talking about “bangers and mash” for a second, he decided to then make his next answer ‘mash’.

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