Playlist: Music To Cut Hair To with Jen Ferguson
A trip to the hair salon is rarely just purely functional. When in the right setting, it becomes a shared and social experience. Hairdressers behave like friends and counsellors. The salon is a place for relaxation, self-reflection and a good ol’ conversation. Therefore, there is nothing more annoying than bad music. OK, the stylist can be forgiven if they have as much personality as a wet blanket, so long as the haircut is to a certain standard, but if I hear them banging an EDM number or the latest pop drivel, it’s just unacceptable. Not only is it an interruption of what we believe the salon atmosphere should be but when you are working up to 12 hours on your feet, do you want to be listening to rubbish? No thank you.
Here at the About This Place, a salon headed by the Hair Mistress, Victoria Saunders has perfected that blend. She cuts the hair of half the DJs in London and apparently the reason they keep coming back, aside from a damn fine haircut and our ability to talk bollocks professionally, is the fact the music is spot on – hence being asked by R$N to compile a fortnightly feature for them. Music To Cut Hair To, a selection of some great music played in the salon alongside some appearances from friends…
“My guest this month is Jen Ferguson. Not a name your are familiar with? Then let me explain. I met Jen when we were was working in the West End. Her in an office, me in a salon. Then life took a left turn and right turn for both of us. I went on and opened my first Drama Parlour under the wing of Mrs Jones and Jen? Well, she opened Hops, Burns & Black. I can only describe as a blokes wet dream (and women too obvs) Craft beer, hot sauces and vinyl all in ONE PLACE. Hops, Burns & Black has gone from strength to strength. Now 2 shops, Peckham and Deptford and varies accolades which include ‘SIBA – Best UK Indie Craft Beer Retailer 2018’ and ‘Time Out Love London Winner 2016’
Why did I ask Jen to compile a playlist for me? Because not only does she love compiling playlists but her and her partner Glen broadcast ‘virtual shindigs’ from their shop.
Seriously what’s not to love?! An excellent taste in music and I’m glad we are still in each others lives. The benefits of being a hairdresser and the wonderful range of people I talk to.”
1.When were you at your happiest?
On a beach on the Costa Brava recovering after Sonar 2003. It was one of those golden moments in time. I had a broken foot and after limping across the sand in my moon boot, my boyfriend at the time carried me into the water and everyone on the beach cheered. It was ridiculously romantic, I was wearing the best bikini I’ve ever owned and the water was deliciously warm.
2. What’s your greatest fear?
Far too many enormous existential fears but on a more practical level, I’m terrified of cliff edges – not heights per se, but anywhere where the ground under my feet could crumble or where I could accidentally slide or fall off. I can be very clumsy.
3. Who do you admire?
Anyone running a business in these crazy times who’s trying to run it ethically. It’s harder than it looks to do the right thing.
4. What trait do you deplore in yourself/ other people?
I’m endlessly critical, of myself but mostly of others. In other people, I deplore hypocrisy.
5. What’s your worst habit?
Biting my nails. It’s so teenaged.
6. Favourite word?
Discombobulation. So much fun to say.
7. Who would you like to say sorry to?
My mum for all the horrible things I did as a teenager.
8. Who do you despise?
This fucking government.
9. Who or what is the love of your life?
Our cat Neko. He’s the best.
10. What would improve your life?
A holiday home in the Balearics. Or the Greek Islands. Or even just a beach hut in Kent.
11. Worst job you have ever done?
Sales assistant at Loafers Bakery in Nelson, New Zealand, when I was 16. I got fired for coming in late too often with big gross love bites on my neck.
12. What’s your greatest achievement?
Still being alive at 45. And starting a business which is still going strong nearly six years later.
13. What keeps you awake at night?
14. How would you like to be remembered?
Tough but fair. And occasionally funny.
15. What lessons has life taught you?
Never be afraid of being a strong woman. Fuck ‘em.
16. What would your super power be?
My vast memory for totally insignificant details.
17. Favourite smell?
Old school Coppertone.
19. Who would play you in a film?
19. What song would you like played at your funeral?
I’ve got a very long list (clearly it’s going to be a funeral rave) but at the top is Sparks’ No 1 Song In Heaven.
20. Top tip?
If you think of something clever, write it down immediately. So many great ideas lost to the mists of time, and alcohol.
21.Tell us a secret…
I once got kissed by Peter Andre. But it was a very long time ago and I’ve come to terms with it now.
Also anything exciting you would like to shout about, upcoming gigs, parties. weddings etc etc
My partner Glenn and I had a load of fun during the lockdown with a weekly livestream where we went through our record collections (no tune knowingly played twice) and got tipsy on air from our living room. We’re still wheeling it out for special occasions, you can also find a bunch of previous shows and Spotify links at Hop Burns & Boogie, Fridays half 8 til late. Our business is Hop Burns & Black, if you like craft beer, natural wine, hot sauce and good times. We have two shops in SE London plus an online arm.