Our Barber Blogcasts continue as we catch up now with Covent Garden Head Barber Miles. During the past year Miles has been able to start reconnecting with his Brazilian roots on his mum’s side of the family, while also making the bold (and quite enviable) move to live by himself. Behind our closed barbershop doors and in-between horror movie marathons at home, he has also kept busy behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera to develop and narrate our upcoming new video series of styling tutorials.
Don’t forget, our barbershops reopen on Monday 12th April! We cannot wait to welcome you back, sort out those lockdown locks and hear plenty about your own year of experiences.
Miles Wood-Smith, Head Barber - Murdock Covent Garden
My Lockdown Transition
Going from working a full time job where you speak to people all day, every day to being stuck at home in lockdown has been interesting to say the least. At times I’ve enjoyed going a few days without talking to anyone. Having such a social job has meant I’ve kind of forgotten what it’s like to just take time out for myself. I live on my own now for the first time in my life and that has been amazing so far. Grabbing a coffee in the morning and walking up the river for an hour and then coming back to an empty flat is a pretty good day in my book.
The truth is I’ve got no idea how I’ve really changed over lockdown because I haven’t spent enough time with anyone else to take much notice! I’m hoping I don’t bore my clients to death when work starts again, but I’m sure I’ll get back up to speed quite quickly chatting anything and everything.
I’m really looking forward to seeing my mates at work again. I’ve been at Murdock so long that the shop has become something of a second home to me and I definitely miss it. Having said that, waking up at 1pm and watching horror films for the rest of day has been a dream lifestyle to live.
My Lockdown Style & Grooming Habits
I generally wear a variety of band t-shirts paired with a denim jacket - a timeless combo if you ask me. I’ve never really thought about describing my style, but I’d go with punky and a bit lazy if I’m really honest. I really love a brand called Doomsdayco. They make great hoodies and overshirts. I can’t go outside without a hoody on.
When I was younger I loved Green Day and wanted to be Billy Joe. As I’ve got older I’ve looked at how my favourite bands dress now. I’m only 30 but I know I don’t want to dress how I see a lot of younger people dress; I couldn’t pull any of that off. Greg Graffin from Bad Religion during the early years is my goal.
I think lockdown has definitely affected my style (mostly with the fact that my hair is now massive!), so I’m actually wearing hats for the first time in my life. Luckily being a barber I’ve been more conveniently equipped to sort myself out at home when times have gotten desperate. That being said I went into lockdown with an easy buzz cut and then I decided to grow my hair out to see where it could get to. The aim was to stop growing at the point where I was having to try and tame it too much, but it’s just kept going. Beard Moisturiser is my go-to product - always! It keeps my beard and skin moisturised and cuts out any itching.
My Favourite Lockdown Hobbies & Purchases
I finally made a punk rock battle jacket. I sourced patches from all over the world of my favourite bands and spent ages sewing them on. It’s genuinely the most effort I’ve ever put into anything in my life (sadly), but I’m very proud of it.
I was always a big gamer when I was younger and I’ve definitely reconnected with that hobby over lockdown. Although I do now find myself at 30 years old being completely obliterated by Red-Bull-chugging 9 year olds playing online. That hurts the ego.
I also love horror movies. They are my favourite thing in the world, so I set myself a challenge of watching one every night for as long as possible and it’s been great! I’ve also easily binged through 100,000 Hob Nobs, but that might well have happened anyway over the course of a few months during normal times.
My Lockdown Saviour(s)
My mum. It was mainly just me and my mum growing up and when I went back to visit her at the beginning of all of this I ended up staying with her for a few months. It was awesome to spend that much time with her again. She’s Brazilian and my only connection to our culture here, so it was really great to be able to reconnect with that side of myself.
What I Learned During Lockdown
I have definitely learned that I enjoy my own company. I always thought that I needed to be around people to be at my happiest. Spending time alone, watching horror films and relaxing has been great though to be honest.
I’ve also come to realise that I really want to go back to Brazil more often. My entire family is over there and this year has made me realise that having way more family time in my life is something I’d really like.
Positives I’m Taking From Lockdown
I definitely don’t need beer as much as I thought I did. I’ve barely drunk any alcohol in the last year and I’m genuinely not missing it. Lockdown has also given me time to really focus on what I want to do now that I’ve entered my 30s. Having that much time to just focus on yourself as a person is something that we would never really get and it has definitely given me some clarity.
I’ve also really enjoyed growing my hair - but at the same time didn’t want to have to show my face at work during the awkward growth process - so that worked out! Unfortunately it still looks terrible, so it’ll be getting chopped off as soon as I’m back in the shop.
Getting Back To The Barbershop
I think it’s important to get back to barbering for many reasons. I mean it when I say our clients are our friends and I think that being able to have a beer and a regular chat again will be a huge boost and benefit for everybody’s mental health.
I also can’t wait to see my friends. We’ve been working together as a team for a long time and the separation has been really frustrating, especially knowing how much we’d have enjoyed discussing Liverpool’s terrible season all together at great length. I’ve just really missed getting paid to joke around with my mates all day (while also working insanely hard - just in case my boss reads this)!
The first thing I’m prioritising for reopening day is my comfiest pair of Vans. It’s going to be a long day and I need to make sure my feet don’t fall off. Tailored suit trousers and a polo shirt will complete the look. Apart from my barbering equipment I’ll also be packing my huge water bottle; we all need to keep hydrated and that first day back is going to be crazy. ‘White Crosses’ by Against Me! will soundtrack my commute in. That song always gives me an energy boost in the morning.
Top Tips For Guys Ahead Of Their First Visit Back To The Barbershop
It sounds obvious, but having a really good idea on the finished style you want instead of broader strokes will be hugely helpful for us. We’re going to be proper busy the second those doors reopen, so please also don’t be late if you can help it!
I think there’s going to be a lot of hair coming off and I’m excited for that. I love making big changes to people’s styles. I also think we’re going to see a lot of guys who have adjusted to having longer hair for the first time, so it’s going to be interesting seeing where people want to go with that.
My Post-Lockdown Neighbourhood Pit Stops
We have a great little place near our shop called Franx which offers the true London cafe experience. I’ve been going there for almost 10 years now and I’ll be getting my usual ‘Number 3’ fry up - bacon, egg, sausage, beans, chips, toast and tea. I’ll then be desperately trying to stay awake for the rest of the day.
I’m a simple man… 6 pints of Stella will do when it’s time for celebrations at the pub at the end of that first week (most likely at The Crown as it’s the shortest distance from the shop).