Welcome back to the Rocket Rag online..
In this episode, we took a wander down to our Peckham shop to pay a visit to our old Rocket friend Roberto aka Robbie Razor…
There was plenty to catch up on and not all of it can be put in print but here are a few extracts for you Rocket readers:
Rag: Robbie. Buongiorno. So how long have you been associated with the Rocket familia?
Robbie: Quattro anni. 4 years roughly. I started out at the Hackney Road flagship shop.
Rag: And as you are a venerable veteran of the game, we must ask; when did you first start out as a barber?
R: 24 years ago. That means I’m getting old. Doesn’t mean I’m good! But no I quit school at 15 and I tried it out and here I am. I started working for a gentleman who is now nearly 70 years old and I was a ‘junior’ you know just sweeping the floor and learning from him. I did a few courses but nothing too serious. I was lucky as on my voyage I have learned from some great people. I learned how to barber the old school way..
Rag: So this old master you learned from. What was his story?
R: He was like my mentor. He was around my father’s age. He was called Giuseppe but everyone called him ‘Pino’. Like many old school Italian barbers they have these nicknames ‘Gino, ‘Pino’, ‘Dino’.. just the way it was. I don’t know why. Old fashioned tradition. I was uncomfortable just to be called f***ing Robbie!
Rag: So after settling in London, what attracted you to work with the filthy mavericks down at Rocket?
R: I first moved to the UK on a bit of a sabbatical and to see what was going on. After a few weeks I dropped my CVs around and worked as a freelancer for a while. The truth about Rocket is I used to work with a girl and I had enough of the job I was in. Through her, a Rocket barber at the time (Jimmy Slick) told me about this new independent shop. Doing traditional cuts and slick backs. The day after a call was made and because they were so busy they said “you should come and try it out and everybody is cool here” so I got the job and the rest is history.
Rag: Lots of Rocket barbers and associates have a bit of ink here and there and your tattoos are quite unique. Any stories behind them to tell us?
R: Well that is actually how I got the Rocket position. I was halfway through my first trial
haircut and Steve grabbed my arm and looked at my Betty Page tattoo and said “You got the job”. In my opinion, Steve is a lucky guy I said yes because he had that crazy look in his eye..
Rag: Can’t disagree. Your most striking tattoo must be your chest piece. Please summarize:
R: It is a full front piece. A lynx. Very nasty pain.
Rag: We can imagine. And you now manage our dazzling new Peckham branch after joining forces with co-owners Neil and Steve. What plans do you have for the place?
R: Now is the first year so things are going really well but the dream could be a tattoo shop in the back as we have a big space to work with. This was the first thing I thought when I saw the size of the whole shop. It would be great to finish a haircut and hear the buzz of tattoos in the air..
Rag: What is the stand out memory of your time with Rocket?
R: There are so many it is hard to think but one is the time we all went karaoke together and me and Steve sang 'Suspicious Minds' together. Halfway through I suddenly realized he was almost completely naked next to me - just a blur of black ink and man fur. I had a nightmare recently about this very incident..
Quality stuff from our main man Roberto Mereu. An original family member. And a real Rocket maestro.
The address for the shop is: 80 Peckham Rye SE15 4HA
Try to swing by if you are in that neck of the woods..
Episode 4 will be a little bit different so stay tuned..
Until next time..