NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER 

I had the pleasure and the privilege of sharing the stage with four established bloggers at this years Dundee Literary Festival, held in the city’s Bonar Hall. ‘Designing Stories’ discussed the journey of blogging with examples and extracts from Design Professor Mike Press, Journalist Linda Isles, Researcher and Digital Storyteller Jennifer Jones, Designer Lauren Currie and of course, myself. Our aim was to promote blogging and to encourage our audience to try it out, a task I’m certain we successfully achieved.

We had Ruadhan Scanlan document our event through her signature pen drawings and we delved into questions such as- What impels us to write? Who are our inspirations?Where do we find our motivation?

I have decided to share with you what goes on behind the scenes of Gigi Bobs Her Hair….


Writing elevated in my direction through an unfortunate experience. It occurred just over three years ago when I fell out of love with life, I struggled to get through each day without a sense of anxiety or stress, I cried myself to sleep and woke my self up with tears running down my cheeks. I physically fought with sleep paralysis through hallucination, my mind screeching, consciously ripping the demons to shreds as my body lay rigid, still and silent. I made mistakes, mistakes I have never allowed self forgiveness for. I lived in a mind and body which wasn’t my own, until eventually I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I made an informed decision to deal with my dysfunction through a natural course, opting for counselling instead of pharmaceuticals, figuring this approach would route out my core issues and work better with my acute mood swings and bad temperament.

I had carried a heavy heart for so long, bags upon bags of emotions, tied up and webbed between everyday life and another reality where I felt completely dysfunctional and mixed up. A huge haze of nothingness clouding my judgement and made me feel disconnected to my close relationships and my everyday position.

I was persuaded to visit a therapist, something I had doubts about, I never imagined talking through my life, including my problems, with a stranger, would help with my anxiety attacks and disrupted sleep habits. After a few sessions I felt instantly uplifted and followed the regime precisely. I felt once more in control, I read recommended books and changed small habits to induce positivity. I kept a diary to offload the burden that weighted my mind and I soon discovered the key development to essentially, my peace of mind. Ultimately this was when my writing was born.

The diary entries organically grew and formed to shape my ever changing mood and as I slowly recovered, my inserts changed and I found myself writing short poems or relating quotes which made me feel happy and energised. I allowed my creativity to grow and toyed with the idea of sharing my tales, through time and support my diary turned into my blog- Gigi Bobs Her Hair.

My battle with anxiety still lies deep within me and I try heavily to stabilise and curb it’s return with the release of writing down my apprehensions. I’m still discovering the intricate complexities of my unstructured mind, loaded with anguish, sins, mistakes, ill temper, deviation, rudeness, hesitation, repetition and desires that make me so complicated but so undisputedly human. I’m still unaware of what sparks the fuse of the downward spiral but I’m fortunate enough to understand what can pick me back up again.

My love for words has given my blog an abundant depth and my inspirations lie within the pages of works by the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, William Boroughs or Gary Snyder. All of whom share my admiration for the grit and grime of real life, fighting for uncensored and authentic human thoughts, sexual liberation, poetic expression and the free-wheelin’ that most certainly enjoy today. I get lost in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s paragraphs, his beautiful description transport me within the 1920’s splendour of The Beautiful and The Dammed, Bernice Bobs her Hair another cult classic lends it’s name to my own WordPress blog, A Diamond As Big As The Ritz is another solid favourite of mine. Irvine Welsh’s working class humour draws realistic yet gruesome realities of growing up in a Scottish scheme and I draw encouragement and motivation for each word printed within all their pieces of literary art.

I’m moved by strong women in the public eye and trawl the internet for information on actresses such as Louise Brooks and Anjelica Huston, fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Katherine Hamnett or performers Lydia Lunch and Patti Smith. My influence stems directly from my mum who encouraged me to read, handing down her favourite books and passing on her devotion to literature. She now works as my editor, sifting out my ropey spelling and filling in my forgotten punctuation.

It may be difficult to believe I pen my posts on a battered up and smashed iPhone 5s but without consistent access to a computer, it is my only medium to get my work across. My encouragers are my friends and followers who gift me with not only their kindness but their critique which allows Gigi Bobs Her Hair to grow and develop. I place myself as an encourager too and I encourage everyone to liberate themselves with the release of words and to evaluate where it finds them.

You never know maybe collectively we can all change the world one word at a time.

Long live the VEF and Gigi the Cult Blog QUEEN!

 
  
  
  
  
  

HELLO BOYS…


(Gigi 2007)

My last experience of Paris fashion week will proceed in history as one of my most surreal experiences. I ventured to the French capital with my dad and my friend Barry to support Hayley, who had flown across the Atlantic Ocean from Los Angeles where she was employed as part of Jeremy Scott’s design team.

I was 22 and it was the summer of 2007, Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse had made ‘Valerie’ by The Zutons the song of the moment, Beth Ditto was causing a stir and making her mark, describing herself as a fat, feminist lesbian, Kate Moss dumped Pete Doherty for good, we were all still choosing our favourite friends on Myspace and Agyness Deyn was the face to be seen.

We arrived at the small seedy venue in Montmartre, our names on ‘the list’ of the anticipated show, inside we rubbed shoulders with fashion connoisseur, magazine editors, photographers and A-list celebrities- including the Olsen Twins. In the darkness we waited patiently for the extraordinaire to begin, half an hour later and growing bored, a figure appeared in the door just behind the runway, illuminated by an outrageous reflective jacket and matching trousers, as soon as Kanye’s bum hit his seat lights exuded from the catwalk and overwhelmingly beautiful models pounded down, drawing gasps from the awestruck crowd.

Mr Scott had smashed it again. Simple and slinky silhouettes, stretch cotton and silk, faces thick with black oil and hair scraped back into neat chignons. Bin lids replaced hats and work boot prints adorned swimsuits, raincoats and shirts. Jeans designed as rulers and dresses that looked like traffic signs. Trademark finale masterpieces brought fits of hilarious laughter as ball-gowns had been made of bin bags and Agyness Deyn finished the show dressed as a ‘Garbage Can Bride’, complete with a hard hat veil.

Drowned in tanqueray gin and faces stuffed with cute canapés the catwalk was quickly changed into a stage and the after show began. My dad played havoc with his AAA pass and took guise as security, refusing to let well known faces into the VIP area. Hayley and I drukenly started a stage invasion enjoying the limelight amongst dancers, models and film stars. Dad danced with Aggy Deyn and we all partied until the early hours of the morning, posing for photographers and twirling for film makers. Hayley and I awakening in a library of a mansion situated just by the Eiffel Tower, how we got there, we never did find out.

This season I returned, this time only through merit of my own career. I was there to style hair at the most anticipated show of 2015’s fashion calendar- Vetements.

An air of mystery surrounds this Dusseldorf based collective, headed by Demna Gvasalia, the remainder of the group choosing anonymity. Having previous connections with Maison Margiela, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga the designers and craftsmen collaborate to form every aspect of the brand from pen to paper through to sewing of the garments. Forming the label on their lunch breaks whilst at Margiela, the collaborators have only shown three seasons and aim to provide individual pieces that stand alone therefore non-conforming against a collection of merging tones, prints or colour palets, adding to the mystique and underground vibe they’ve elegantly pursued.

I arrived at the studio around 12pm accompanied by Joshua Goldsworthy, Rob Czlakpa and Mark Francome Painter with whom I had travelled with to Paris on the Euro Star that morning. Forty two model’s to style, we prepared for a hectic day. Expectations were turned around as the atmosphere was warm, fun and relaxed, how could I have thought any different? I’ve never sensed whilst working under super stylist Gary Gill a feeling other than a relaxed control and consideration of his team and people around him. Fashion Stylist Lotta Volkova Adam overseen the show and the energy between the exuberant team made you feel you were amongst something very special.

Disregarding the effects of the ‘super model’ Vetements street cast and hand picked each male and female who walked the catwalk, Lotta and Gary skilfully picking styles to enhance their own individual personalities, therefore making the show feel utterly more real and wearable. Held in a kitsch Chinese restaurant not far from Moulin Rouge, packed with who’s who in fashion, it was time for the show to begin.

Anti-Fashion would describe the affair perfectly as models trawled the runway wearing silk camisoles with boots fashioned as sport socks, oversized frilly neon Victorian styled dresses with floral over the knee cowboy boots and belts metres long trailing behind, hoodies and track suit bottoms tucked into shoes and Gosha Rubchinskiy opened the show in a DHL delivery driver T-shirt. It was perfect, as was the hair, where Gary captured absolutely the cultural references- mullets, skinheads, bold bowls and fucked up fringes all with just the right texture, you instantly forgot which year you were in.

Upon the success of the show which saw guests such as my pal Kanye West and Rihanna, Demna Gvasalia has been announced as Head Designer at fashion house Balenciaga and a little piece of fashion history was made. I am more than proud and appreciative that I was chosen along with a selected few to be a part of that.

Thank you Gary.

Long live the VEF and Kanye West is a QUEEN too- right?

  
  
  


   
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

  
  

  
  
  
  

IT’S A JUMP TO THE LEFT, AND THEN A STEP TO THE RIGHT… 

‘Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend’.

I have a particularly weird relationship with time. I religiously launch my day with an incredibly infuriating alarm set strictly at 6.27am, I sheepishly surface to switch off said annoying alarm and without knowing or with years of practice I lay absolute for a further three minutes precisely, I then take the phone and let my bleary eyes and dreamlike mind trawl Facebook then Instagram and further WordPress. At exactly 6.45 I get up to put the kettle on, brew coffee and awake perfectly in the shower.

Already I’ve planned my day, timed my route to work, scheduled my walk home, worked out Ruby’s after school clubs, organised how long dinner may take, what I will cook and exactly how I might cook it. My evening runs much the same, I direct Ruby to brush her teeth and prepare for bed at 20.56, she is unwillingly consigned to bed for 21.00, I kiss her good night and then wash my face, tomorrow’s lunches are already prepared, bags are packed, homework is long finished, clothes are pressed and ironed, dishes are done and wet clothes hang neatly on the clothes horse, dry clothes folded correctly into colourful piles. I prefer this all to be done by approximately 21.15, therefore I have the remainder of the evening to sit down, wind down and dare I say it- relax.

My job is further restricted by time and runs on an appointment basis, I have on average 45 minutes to spend with each client. I don’t wear a watch but my body and brain has perfectly synced the appointment cut off point. I’m tense if I run behind or I’m kept waiting, my concern predominately runs to interruption of my next clients paid time, fair’s fair.

I’m rarely late and enjoy mentally preparing in advance each stage of a journey or taking a minds picture at every stage so I can easily retrace my steps, thus making me ideal for direction and amazing at refining small details of a complicated trip. Any interruptions to any of the above situations and I’m an unruly bitch, I can be very difficult to live with and my strict guideline not only affects others but also myself.

The only outlet or helpful accompaniment to my rueful limitation is abuse of caffeine and alcohol. Frankly to remove the stick from my arse I need mild inebriation, my tense shoulders melt with satisfaction and my upside down smile turns the right way round, achieved as easily as two bottles of Pinot Noir clinking in my lidl carrier bag.

The past month I’ve held tighter time restrictions, I have laboured my weekly 30 hours plus at the salon and kept my strict home routine but I’ve penciled in three trips to London also, all within three weeks, traveling through the night to save occupied hours and perfectly timing arrivals to suit work schedules and more.

The opportunities I’ve been granted has made me think a lot about time and how we use it, judge it and ultimately how we abuse it. I’m slowly learning that allowing time to become my enemy or more so my opponent I’m constricting myself immediately from the confinements of a ticking clock. To free my mind and to make allowance for time, to let myself flow with it instead of mercifully treading against it significantly puts me in a position where I can achieve all of my comfortable daily routine plus the opportunity to expand myself, my mind, my creativity and my flexibility, producing the same strict and organised persona with the energy to accomplish a whole workload more.

Ultimately my hang ups would blissfully fade away given the opportunity to shove my hand through the face of every clock available and just squeeze the long thin finger of the seconds hand, freezing time and allowing me and others to fit more in alongside our abundant tasks.

Truthfully with success comes sacrifice and if I don’t have time, then someone else always will, why would I let someone else take my opportunity? Time management is something I’m still progressing with and my teeth still shine with a purple hue of red wine, calming my nerves and breaking down my uncomfortably weird relationship with one of life’s biggest woes- time.

I write this from a delayed train travelling once more from Dundee to London, I’m on my second wine and things are looking ok.
‘He that has time has life’.

Long live the VEF and God Sake the Queen, Big Ben and every other timepiece in existence.