As well as delving into all sorts of rants and musings on The Daily Grind, I am also going to do features on all of the members of the HG Family as well as people in the industry who are not only an influence on me but who I am also lucky enough to call friends. Over the weeks I'll talk a little about their back stories and then let them answer my questionnaire. Hard Grind has never been a one-man show and every single one of the people I'll be talking to makes it what it is today.
The word family gets thrown around far too much on social media these days. Too many filtered lives playing up for the followers and likes. We don’t use the word lightly. In or out of the shop, we are there for one another, no matter what. You spend more time in your life around work colleagues than with your own family so what better way to make a business successful, and more importantly fun, than making your colleagues family too?
Without these guys all I have is a lonely shop with a single chair and little to no time to worry about creating a positive atmosphere due to cutting back to back. It’s really that simple! Each one of their personalities brings a different dynamic to the table and as dysfunctional as we might be, it truly does create an environment like no other.
So this week we are going to start with Big Poppa, Papa Shango, Ultimate McGooks, Tommie “Hard Grind” McGuckin.
To most, he will look like the sort of fella you’d cross the street to avoid on a dark night. Then he’ll open his mouth… and you’ll definitely cross the street! But in truth he’s the biggest, friendliest giant you’ll meet.
A younger, slightly less tattooed Tommie first contacted me long before he started working with us. Full of nothing but passion and the urge to learn and grow as a barber, you could literally feel his dedication jump off the screen. I knew back then he was going to be one to watch in this game. He would literally do whatever it took to get where he wanted, all he needed was the right guidance and support behind him to nurture that potential. I knew he would fit in perfectly with us.
We were looking into Glasgow stores at the time and with a location 99% sorted we opened a pop-up space in the centre of town. There wasn’t a single other person in mind to head that project. With a huge personality, Tommie managed to become a major part of the family even though he was working alone, miles away from our two other locations. That boy could infiltrate the blackest of hearts, I tell ya.
A few months later, out of nowhere, our Glasgow location fell through. After much discussion, we didn’t see a point in keeping a pop-up space in the city without a fully-fledged shop in the works but we also couldn’t possibly see Hard Grind without Tommie.. A few weeks of taking an early bus from Glasgow to Dundee soon turned into T-Dog relocating to the city of discovery and taking up his place at Hard Grind HQ permanently. It was a big ask, especially for a devoted father, but I couldn’t be happier it went the way it did.
A day in the shop without Tommie just isn’t the same. Not only a firm favourite with the customers, he brings his warped mind, hilariously big personality and outrageous flavour to the mix daily and we bloody love it.
Here is a quick Q&A with the man himself. You can follow all his barbering adventures, wrestling fodder and image after image of Moussa Dembele on instagram @tommie_hardgrind
- Any hobbies?
I don’t know if it’s a hobby but I’m a huge wrestling geek so I spend a lot of my spare time catching up on lots of different wrestling programmes
- What’s your favourite movie?
Fight Club. Hands down, every time. But I cant talk about it...
- Any guilty pleasures?
I have no shame. Anything I enjoy, I feel zero guilt enjoying it.
- What was the last song you listened to?
Ripple Water Shine by Pianos Become The Teeth. It's bed time and I'm chilled as fuck.
- What’s your biggest fear?
My kids being eaten by tigers.
- Tell us about the last dream you had?
That a girl was shouting at me for wearing skinny jeans. It was traumatic.
- What’s your favourite insult?
Classic DX “SUCCKKK ITTTTTT”.
- One word to describe yourself?
- What’s your favourite tattoo & why?
The scythe on the side of my face as it was the first time I started to feel like myself.
- If you weren't barbering, what would you be doing?
Probably be locked up in an institution somewhere.
- How long have you been in the industry?
It's been 9 years altogether. Some of the worst and best years of my life
- Who are your biggest influences?
Schorem, SB and my HG Fam.
- Where do you usually gather style inspiration from?
Honestly, old movie stars and blues singers.
- What are your favourite clippers?
Andis Masters are my go to every time. Brutal.
- What are your favourite products?
I do love a Tequilla Scumrise or Reuzel Pink & Green.
- What do you think makes a great hair cut?
Dedication to your client and never allowing yourself to be lazy. Your 1st cut of the day and last of the day should be the same quality.
- What advice would you give to anyone looking to join the industry?
Throw yourself into it and let the community catch you. Stay away from negative social groups and don’t get caught up in anyones ego, especially your own.
- Do you have any future plans?
I'm gonna be standing cutting with my HG crew until my fingers give out.
- Anything else you’d like to share?
Don’t quote me boy cause I ain't said shit.