Indie Exeter: Cut the Punx Barber (by Amelie Foster)
Our Indie Exeter expert Amelie Foster, gets the lowdown on local pop-up barber PJ at Cut the punx.
Meet PJ , he is no ordinary barber he is an extraordinary barber. What makes PJ extraordinary isn’t just his skill and expertise in cutting, styling and managing hair and beards it is his attitude, his forward thinking approach to life, his passion and compassion for things and people.
British born, PJ was raised in Switzerland, but his love of punk music and a good woman brought him back to the UK. He landed in London where he made many friends and embraced London life: finding family in the punk scene, playing in bands, and eating food from around the world. After playing in a touring band for just over 5 years, PJ decided to learn a new skill and enrolled at Gents of London Barber Academy in Islington.Moving West came about through his partner Gabby’s family, who resided in somerset. Not wanting to go home, both PJ and gabby had had a taste of Exeter life through gigging with punk bands, and were drawn by the prospect of city life in miniature. PJ admits that a big draw to Exeter was the Cavern and its affection for Punk, alongside the reality of living the dream being in a city a stones throw from the coast and stunning countryside.
The move to Exeter came with change. The bubble of being completely surrounded by people with common interests and values burst. PJ embraced this with his natural ability to share his wisdom and knowledge through the job that had become his passion. Not one for small talk, he has toured the world and is brimming with enthusiasm and big stories. He is so articulate and precise you go away thinking; ‘I must listen to that band PJ recommended…’ PJ himself says he has been shaped by the punk scene: Music with a message, stamped with vigour, enthusiasm and conviction.PJ started his working life in Exeter on Fore Street, and his love affair with the ‘West Quarter’ began. Its people, food and ambience is befitting of the best of London with the added bonus that people have time for you and there is no hour journey to get to see them. Exeter offered PJ a challenge, a challenge to seek out good vegan food and to go to unusual gigs.
“Opportunities in a city so much smaller than London become more valued, and the best thing is that everything is pretty much on your front doorstep!”
Although PJ has spent time in Exeter working in a barber’s shop, he has taken the show on the road – so to speak – and is currently working as a pop up. Being a pop up isn’t a new thing for PJ, between jobs after qualifying as a barber, PJ’s partner struck upon the idea of a pop up at a punk festival. Seeing a barber in an unusual context was a great success. PJ discovered that pop ups offered easy access, freedom and damn fine cuts – all in the setting of a great events such as film screenings, coffee shops and festivals.Pop ups aside, PJ was inspired by a chance reading of an article. Good friend Nathan from No guts, no glory had passed on a copy of an anarchist newspaper which featured an article on open barbers in London, these barbers are everything you wouldn’t expect them to be: allowing you to a pay what you feel, and operating a gender neutral safe space. PJ admires their ability to break down the gender rules and allow everyone and anyone to not feel intimidated by the context of a ‘hip, barber shop’.
PJ’s pops up are his first step towards this, his ‘pay what you feel’ pricing and events, which have so far included The Glorious Art House, Exeter Central Library and current location at Camper coffee are revolutionising the barber scene in Exeter.With Cut the Punx expect: a fantastic cut, great chat and a positive experience, without the bravado, pomp and posturing. PJ isn’t trying to be a celebrity or create a cult following, he just wants to give you a damn fine cut. And I can tell you, that is what he will deliver, everytime, without fail.
PJ will be popping up at the following places:
Compassion at the Castle – Exeter Vegan Festival in aid of Animal Aid, this is the grand finale of the The Vegan Festival of Britain at Exeter Castle – Saturday 10th June ( Pj will be donating 50% to the charity)
Camper Coffee – McCoy’s Arcade, Fore Street, Exeter 18,19,26th June
Guildhall Exeter ( by foodMarket ) – Friday 16th June
Cavern Exeter DIY fair – Saturday 2nd July
About the author: Hailing from Brighton originally, Amelie Foster grew up in Exeter and embraces the city life especially it’s indie culture. Amelie worked as a youth worker and currently runs a help group for Mums who have suffered PND, she is colourful, creative, compassionate and is very active in the local community.