Here we go people… With BoJo confirming when he’s set to blow the final whistle on the current restrictions in the UK, our barbers are ecstatic about getting back to their barbershops from Monday 12th April. Our teams are optimistically looking ahead to better times and hoping to spread plenty of positivity in anticipation of reopening and with summer 2021 on the way.
We appreciate how tough the past year has been and there are many lessons to be learned from it. Most of us can say that we will be coming out of all this as different people to who we were back at the start of 2020. As we all now prepare for what we hope to be full-time out of Lockdown Britain, our barbers are coming together before we open our doors for a reflective team talk in this new series of Barber Blogcasts.
Through fresh discussions we’re going to be highlighting what’s changed in our barbers’ lives over the last year. If you’re feeling anxious or just a bit lost about how to get your social life back on track after lockdown, we hope that these Journal posts can be a helpful social index and bring a reassurance that whatever you’ve been up to during the past year of lockdowns, getting through all this is more than enough to be proud of. Whether you’ve worked throughout, made some big life changes or spent the entire time pottering about with hobbies at home, we can’t wait to hear your own stories when you get back in the chair.
We will of course all be going at our own pace, so we want to do our bit to help make sure your transition out of lockdown is as easy as possible, and this for many men will likely start with a trip to the barbershop. After months coping with DIY skills when required, we know that getting those lockdown locks sorted out by a professional will be a huge step towards looking and feeling like yourself again. We also hope that a Murdock visit can help to shake off any anti-social cobwebs gathered after spending the best part of a year stuck at home in a bubble. If you have been struggling, we really hope that a return to the barbershop when you feel ready can offer some respite and reassurance. A good, honest conversation with your barber might just do you the world of good as we look to brighter days ahead.
With that said, we’re going to get the ball rolling by sharing some of Senior Barber Sean’s personal experiences of lockdown, how he’s been affected and the positives that he’s been able to take from the past year.
Sean Chenery, Senior Barber - Murdock Shoreditch
My Lockdown Transition
I’ve been used to the hectic commute from Essex to East London every morning for years now. This is a journey that takes you from the end of the District Line through to Shoreditch, surrounded by some of the loudest and strangest characters you will come across in London. Without this, my mornings sat at home in lockdown watching Gok Wan give fashion tips to middle aged women have seemed very dull in comparison. I would love to tell you that I managed to get into a really good routine with fitness; running 5k daily and waking up to Joe Wicks’ vom-tastically healthy online fitness classes alongside a kale, avocado and almond milk smoothie every morning - but I didn’t. Hats off to anyone that did. I’m full of envy!
My Lockdown Style & Grooming Habits
Being the style icon that I am, I’m sure everyone will be fascinated to know my lockdown fashion secrets and how my ‘look' has progressed throughout the past year (insert sarcastic face emoji). I always tend to stick to the classics with the likes of Fred Perry flitting into my wardrobe when I’m feeling a bit flush after payday, but to be honest unashamedly I’m pretty lazy when it comes to fashion. H&M, Uniqlo, Reebok Classics and a very versatile pair of Doc Martens are my go-to’s to keep things smart/casual (whatever that really means). With long days in the barbershop looming, the comfort and simplicity these all offer will be everything.
Grooming (or lack thereof) is something I was definitely guilty of letting go during lockdown. I tried a number of new looks - all of which didn’t suit. Growing a longer beard and longer hair were my main attempts to try something new, but I only ended up shaving them both off after enough comments from the Mrs and odd looks from the dog. Stick to what you know is my advice. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and more often than not what you usually have works. So after a while of having a bit of fun I reverted back to keeping my hair cropped and taming the beard (but still admittedly not as often as I should).
My two lifesaver products have been Beard Moisturiser and Matt Mud. These have always been my go-to grooming products but in lockdown I needed them more than ever. Having more time on my hands also encouraged me to take the time to exfoliate properly with Face Scrub and make sure I moisturised properly afterwards. Thankfully to my partner's surprise she noticed an improvement in my complexion and I’m pretty sure she ended up using it too!
My Favourite Lockdown Hobbies & Purchases
My most significant purchase during lockdown was a vintage Raleigh bike that I cleaned up and got riding. It was so nice to get back on a bike for the first time in years and finally have some time to properly enjoy cycling. This was hands down the best thing I bought. I hadn’t ridden in ages but it kept me sane when there was nothing else to do!
What I Learned During Lockdown
Unknowingly to me initially, I came to realise how my mental health had improved. Suddenly life had slowed down, FOMO was no longer a thing and I found this actually helped a lot with my own thoughts and emotions. After the first month of lockdown I found I was less snappy and things just didn’t get to me as much. Being ‘too sensitive’ has often been something I’ve considered to be a floor of mine, but after adjusting to lockdown it became clear that I was generally becoming a lot more chilled. I wasn’t drinking just because it was Friday anymore, which helped avoid previously familiar hangovers and I soon gained a lot more energy at weekends. Don’t get me wrong, I have continued to drink, but only when I really want to and only if I really feel like it. Prior to that it came more commonly through pressures from others and because it very easily comes as part of the package any day of the week when living the London social life. Taking a hold of this is something I didn’t realise I needed to do, but thankfully have. It is something that I can see in retrospect very clearly now.
When football was also suddenly gone I found my usual podcast-listening and programme-viewing habits became essentially pointless as there was so little for anyone to discuss. I also found that weekends didn’t have the same sense of purpose anymore either. This may seem a rather sad statement to anybody who doesn’t like football, but when anything that you enjoy and form social habits around gets taken away it can be a proper shock to the system. Going to the pub and watching football go hand-in-hand, so when both of these options were out, I felt lost. I guess what I realised in their absence is that it can really be the small things in life that we take for granted. I haven’t become a fitness freak or a banana bread expert as an alternative distraction though. The things I enjoyed before lockdown are still the things that I enjoy now, and that’s okay. As insignificant as those interests seemed a year ago, they certainly don’t feel like that now.
My Lockdown Saviour(s)
I think it would be incredibly rude not to mention my partner here, as I have literally spent the whole of lockdown with her. We’ve had plenty of laughs and learned a hell of a lot more about each other, which I’m incredibly thankful for. I really don’t know how she has done it, as I’m not the easiest person to live with, but hats off to her, she stuck it out with me! Another shout out goes to Oscar our Cavapoo for keeping us both active with plenty of long walks and having us in stitches everyday.
Positives I’m Taking From Lockdown
A huge positive to take away from lockdown is finding myself now carrying a little less social anxiety. I’m now feeling more than comfortable about not trying to be everywhere, doing everything for everyone else, all the time. It’s more than okay to just enjoy being at home with my partner and the dog. I’m hoping this mindset will go a long way to help ease myself out of lockdown and keep my mental health on track when life does become a little more ‘normal’ and I’m spending more time back in Shoreditch.
Getting Back To The Barbershop
I really can’t put into words how much I’m looking forward to getting back to the buzz of the
barbershop. It pretty much is my social life. Seeing familiar faces back in my chair, catching up and getting the good vibes back in the shop is something I think all of the barbers have been craving for months now. Downing tools and not being able to do what we love for so long has been really tough and definitely something I took for granted before the pandemic. It will be awesome to get back to cutting hair and catch up with the Shoreditch squad to get life going again! The first tune played on reopening day simply has to be ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ by Thin Lizzy. Get the big guns out early doors.
Top Tips For Guys Ahead Of Their First Visit Back To The Barbershop
If any clients are feeling unsure about what to do with their lockdown locks before coming to see
us, all I can say is please don’t touch it! We appreciate how tough this period has been but
you’ve hopefully got this far without doing anything drastic. It makes our lives so much easier cutting off what we need to cut, rather than having to try and create something out of nothing; it will be much appreciated by us all.
Having said that, a lot of people in the public eye have grown out their hair this year and are looking good rocking the longer looks, so if you maintain the length you have we can certainly try not just cutting it straight off, but working out a longer style for a nice change-up.
My Post-Lockdown Neighbourhood Pit Stops
If you’re looking for any recommendations on where to go after your first appointment back, here are a few of my favourite places around East London that I’m certainly keen to get back to:
First Pint: The Duke of Wellington in Spitalfields for an Extra Cold Guinness (served in a proper glass!) - check out @shitlondonguinness to discover some of the city’s worst offenders.
First Lunch Break: This will be a trip to Cafe Caribbean in Spitalfields Market for their insanely good jerk chicken and beef patty.
First Restaurant: Yanji BBQ for great Korean BBQ on Bethnal Green Road.
First Weekend Activity: Taking a walk down Columbia Road Market via Brick Lane.