The perfect hairdresser may be more elusive than a soul mate.
You might get a good cutter or someone who is great at colouring but the combination doesn’t always go hand-in-hand.
Or if you find one, in groupie fashion, you end up chasing them from salon to salon, or they decide to make babies and leave, or they just move on.
Gerard Yaxley is the best cutter and colourer this Girl has ever had the pleasure to have attend to my filamentous biomateria (hair!).
This is a reunion story.
Gerard and chef-partner were two of the first people I met when I moved to Hobart. It was over a game of darts at the Good Woman Inn during the winter of 1994. I’d just had about the most awful haircut of my life at what was then called Picasso’s. The latest hairstyle applied to everyone like a blunt instrument.
Gerard told me he was a hairdresser.
‘Could you cut my hair?’ I asked desperately. He replied ‘Darling, I can cut anyone’s hair.’ And so began my devotion.
Gerard, god damn him, is good at more than one thing. Many years ago he wanted a change and went waiting tables at Amulet in North Hobart (now Solicit). Gerard understands service. Everyone loved him at Amulet. I just missed his work on my hair. Then he and his chef-partner moved to Queensland and set up a restaurant. Gerard donned an apron and started designing, amongst other things, beautiful cakes. You might have seen his Persian love cake featured in Fair Exchange in Gourmet Traveller some years ago.
Like some of Hobart’s best cutters, Gerard began his career at Snobs in Sandy Bay, in December 1979. I was ten years old and my mother was still cutting my hair in pageboy style. I really needed help then too. After eight years, he and colleague and friend Stevie, struck out on their own and started Cut Balou. It was a Hobart institution.
A friend and I had a standing appointment at six week intervals for a cut and colour. I sported a naughty shorty in those days and I needed regular maintenance. We’d turn up like clockwork on those Thursday nights with a bottle of cheap bubbles and KFC. Gerard never blinked an eyelid. He is very discrete. I learnt recently that there were other bureaucrats who did the same...with bubbles that is, not the KFC.
Gerard does his work because he loves to cut and colour.
I love him because apart from his excellent work, he says things to me like ‘You’re not THAT grey yet!’ Yeah, exactly.
Also, he is a total foodie and he’s a good one to shoot the breeze with about what’s new in Hobart.
If he has a fault, it is that he does like to indulge a foo-foo of the hair. That’s big, Linda Evans from Dynasty, sort of hair. I realised I’d been going to Gerard a long time when I wrestled the hair product out of his hands and applied it myself one evening. I think he’s light on and he thinks I overdo it, but hell, I was heading out and I couldn’t have fly-away hair. One day he gave me an alternative perspective and straightened my hair. I looked like the Liberal ladies who lunch. I toned down my whinging at his foo-foo.
He’s been back since 20 January 2011 and I still remember seeing his return heralded in The Mercury. It has been a delight to have him return to managing my locks. Now they are longer, the appointments are a little further apart and only on one occasion have I taken bubbles with me. It had been a hard week.
Gerard tells me his next venture is a silversmith course. If he freakin decides to devote his life to making rings and leaves hairdressing again I’ll go nuts.
You can find Gerard at Society Hair, 103 Campbell Street, Hobart or call on (03) 6234 8069.