Where and how will you be living in twenty years from now?
Realistically it will probably still be in London. My dream is to go live in New York and do hairdressing there. I’m quite a big city guy, so I love London and I can imagine I would love New York about 10 times more with everything that goes on there. I would like to be owning and running my own salon probably in East London. So that’s the dream.
Do you have a favorite tattoo?
I’ve got a few favorites, just based on their design, one based on tits meaning. I’ve got so many now that it’s got blended into one. It’s more about the tattoos as a whole, rather than individually, to follow a sort of theme. It’s more about just carrying on now. Trying to fill up, you know, and to keep it within the theme.What’s the theme?
When I was younger it started with Japanese. Because that was the sort of look I was into then. And then changed into the old-school theme, the sailor tattoos, nice bright colors.Who’s your tattoo artist?
Currently, I’ve got a tattoo artist called Ed Mosly (https://instagram.com/edmosley/), he used to work in a studio in Dalston. And now I cut his hair and he sorts met out with a little bit of discount, because tattoos are very expensive.How is the relationship for you between you and your tattoo artist?
It changes. When you first meet a tattoo artist, it’s the same as hairdressing when your client first meets you it can be quite intimidating. You know you don’t know the person and it’s quite an intimate thing, same as hairdressing you’re letting them touch your head, cut your hair their touching your skin with a needle you’re trusting them to do something you like, same as hairdressing. But it does change, the more you go see them the more comfortable you are, you become friends you build that relationship up.
What’s a miracle you have encountered in your life if you’ve ever encountered a miracle or something that you would call a miracle.
A miracle hmm. I don’t know I’d probably say it’s the deal of my own personal life just how far I’ve got, how I managed to get here. I went to university, I dropped out. I think my parents were quite worried about the whole thing and me moving to London. They feel like I should have finished university. And then I got into hairdressing, quit, got back into it. I think probably mostly my parents that it’s a miracle, that I finally got somewhere. I see that myself as well. But other than that I can’t really think of anything that I would probably call a proper miracle.What do you reckon what got you here, the persistence? Or what was the turnaround?
I’d say the turnaround probably was hairdressing. When I came to London at a young age, rather than working hard my main priority was going out, making friends, socialising and enjoying the London nightlife. Because I think when you first get to London there is so much to take in, you have to go out, you have to explore, you have to go out every weekend and get out of your system, let London take over your life a bit. And I think for a lot of other people as well, it can take over your life a bit too much.So I think what turned it around for me was just being fed up with the job I had at the time thinking that this can’t be all there is to life, hating the job and then just going out every weekend doing the things I’ve already done the past couple of years. And yeah that’s what pushed me to go into another direction and finally to do something that’s a long-term goal rather than something short-lived.
You know there is the utopian idea that all people are equal and therefore it doesn’t matter in a globalized world, whether you live in the Philippines or in London or in China or in Switzerland, because we are all part of one big project and that is running the world basically and that is the big idea behind it. I guess some people believe they are a citizen of the world and some people would like to be citizens of the world and then other people disregard the whole theory.
I guess the idea of being a citizen of the world is a nice idea, of everyone being equal I mean. I kind of don’t think that it would work, because you got your world leaders you got your government. I don’t really let those things affect me when I think about that, but especially living in London on a day to day basis you spend 90% of your life working you kind of feel like you are in this sort of circle of where the world is run by these people. I think the idea is nice, but realistically you are working for yourself but you’re also working because that is how it is. You have to work basically.I guess another part of the idea is that you feel part of the communal project so you’re not just by yourself not just part of the UK but also part of something bigger.
Yes definitely with the EU we definitely are part of bigger projects. I feel like we are all part of the bigger projects, but the people on top are all on a completely separate project. They have their own agenda.
Britain and the EU, now that the Tories have a majority, there will be an EU referendum eventually, would you vote for the UK to stay or to go?
I’d definitely vote for it to stay in the EU just because.. I know there is alot of people out there who believe that we can do it all by ourselves and people are saying the more people are coming in the less the jobs. But realistically the more people that do come in the more jobs are created as new businesses move here. I think in case of a referendum the people who are well off already will keep being alright and the once that are less well off will struggle more substantially.What is your nationality?
I am British but my mom is from the Philippines and my dad is British.
Do you feel more British or more European?
Definitely more British. Just cause I have been here my whole life.
What do you dislike about London?
Hmm.. there is not much that I dislike about London. Since I moved here I never really experienced the city in a way that go me annoyed so I cant really say what I dislike about it.
What do you love about London?
Mhh.. lots of things. When I moved to London I moved over from another city, quite a small one. From Milton Keines which is not far from London. So the thing I noticed so far in London, is that wherever you may live in this city, you may feel a bit lonely at times but you are never alone. You’ve got North, South, East, West London. Just so many opportunities and places to go to and so many different new things to see every day. You can go out any day of the week and do whatever you want.Do you occasionally get overwhelmed by the many options there are?
No. For a lot of people, talking to my clients and friends it ist he same. You have to work hard to be able to make a living in this city. So most people spend most of their time working and so you never really get the opportunity to get overwhelmed because you dont have the time for it. I mean there are people who go out every night. But most people only go out when there is free time so they do not see everything thats out there.
You were part of an apprenticeship program which was supposedly also part of some political measure, that was introduced at some point. Is that something you believe would change community for the better if more young people who can not get into university could sign up for apprenticeships?
Yes I definitely believe that. If there was easier ways to get into such a program for more people I would endorse it. That would help a lot of young people. It definitely helped me getting into hairdressing, twice. And there are already some really good places. Like the college I attended was not your average hairdressers college. Its called the hair-project in Shoreditch and they are also sponsored by the Singer PlanB. He helped fund the project and give younger people the chance to make the entry into an industry easier. Cause I think a lot of young people do not even know how to get into an internship you know.
Is there a need in your community that should be tackled politically?
As I mentioned before the interview, I am not big on politics. I think the only need that we have is to concentrate more on the future for the next generation because I do feel like this generation is a long way from how rubbish it is now but we got the next generation and we should make sure that it will be better for them basically.But if you had to pin point at one specific issue in your community what would that be?
I suppose I do not invest a lot of my time thinking about issues in my community but rather get on with my day to day. I kinda feel like, with politics and stuff like that your either really into it and you have a passion for it and want to effect change or you do not let it effect you. And as long as you are happy and you are doing well you kinda get on with your life and concentrate on looking after yourself.
What is the most fascinating part about being a hairdresser?
I would say it is two things for me. One, being able to recreate what your client had asked you for but also seeing yourself do it. When your training, especially at the beginning you kinda believe: how am I ever gona be professional. How am I gona be able to do what all these stylists do. Because when your still training it is quiet hard. And then when you do finally qualify, its amazing to see yourself recreate it so easily after the years of training. And the other thing is about the people. There is so many people you walk past every day and you never talk to them. But if some of them come in for a haircut you talk to them, you get to know them. Where they live, what they get up to on the weekends, what they like you know. All their likes and dislikes. So it is nice to meet new people and find out about them every day.
Who or what inspired you to become a hairdresser besides your mother?
Well there isnt any single person really. I got into it through the people I was hanging out with at the time and I liked the look and feel of the industry really. And I really wanted to do something I could wake up to in the morning and enjoy doing it. I do see hairdressing as an artform. To creat a completly different look sometime.What is the cut you enjoy most these days?
At the moment I enjoy barbering the most so you got your slik cuts, old-school looks and war looks that is what I enjoy most at the moment.
What made you become a hairdresser?
Its something I have always had in the back of my head since I was younger. My mom actually used to cut my hair when I was younger. She was not a hairdresser and generally did a pretty bad job. So I guess part of me always wanted to become a hairdresser to be able to sort of do it properly. And when I first moved to London when I was twenty I was just working in retail for a long time in Restaurants and had a lot of friends that were hairdressers. And as I was interested they helped me to get into it.How has that journey been so far?
Hmm.. it has been a very very long journey. Instead of taking the standard three years it has taken me around five years. I guess when I was younger I liked the idea more of becoming a hairdresser. So I actually gave up after my first six months into it the first time and then got back into working in restaurants for a good year and a half full time. And then after that I kinda decided. No, I need to do something and do it properly. So I think as I gotten a bit older I took it more seriously and really stuck with it and then did it in the end.
Almost every evening I cycled past a very stylish hair salon in Clapton just 5 minutes from where we lived. A few times I saw a guy with a tattoo sleeve up to his neck outside having a smoke or working in the big window. His sleek cut shiny black hair, his tattoos, but mostly his earnest and a bit melancholic look caught my eye.
One day I decided to walk in and asked his manager for an interview with him. This is the Minks Barber interview. What is your full name?
My full name is Christopher Merrick.
Who are you?
I am … 25 and a hairdresser and a young creative.What is the creative part of your able to pin that down?
I suppose with my skill set, things I have done over the last year as a hairdresser and all my other interests as well. From music, I used to play in bands to doing art when I was younger.