New episode. New barber. New tales..
This time we have a quick chat with that Rocket maverick Mr Jose Manuel Garcia Garcia of Walthamstow who is better known as simply Manu..
RAG: So Manu, you started working for Rocket a while back.. then you left for a bit… and now you have come back… so in the middle bit what did you do?
MANU: Well I went back to Spain. I had a little time for myself and I was working for a guy in Seville who had a barbershop, very similar to Rocket but in the Spanish way. For example, instead of a car in the shop like in Hackney Road, we had a bike. And similar type of work. Nearly as good but not quite..
R: Great to have you back here working at the E17 branch. What other Rocket did you work at before this one?
M: The first Rocket I worked for was Stoke Newington for a couple of weeks then I got transferred to Hackney Road for about 7 months.
R: How would you say the Walthamstow Rocket is different to Hackney Road?
M: It is different I think in some ways. You feel about the same level of being busy as this is a smaller shop but still very popular and we can get a lot of customers in here. And for me this shop is super convenient as I live right round the corner. Same really though in general. I like it. I like both of them. Both are fun..
R: So you’re known throughout the Rocket ranks to have some pretty wild hair of your own. And you have a new style. Can you tell us what you were going for?
M: I wanted a change. I didn’t want to take away the whole length of my hair. I wanted to keep it but look different. I haven’t seen my whole face without a fringe for a while. I feel more comfortable with this mullet. Nobody has this haircut..
R: Definitely cannot disagree with that. You have a very different style in general. How would you describe it? Punk? Mad Max?
M: I just try to be myself really. Some may say I’m like a rocker or punk. But I don’t think I’m punk. Maybe I’m more underground than a lot of people. I guess a mix of people who like rock and techno.
R: And you have a Rocket tattoo on your arm. That is dedication to the cause right there..
M: Yeah. I’ve had it for nearly a year and a half. I got it straight after I first left.
R: So did you get it to remember us by or did you think you might come back?
M: Well… I didn’t think I was going to come back to be honest. When I first started to work at Rocket, I had a different style of cutting hair. A different way of working. And I just thought that London was always raining and grey and I didn’t think I would ever move back.
R: So what changed your mind. You are from Spain and we all know the weather can be sh*t here, pollution not so good. Not very close to a beach. What’s so special about London as you are from another country?
M: My friends I’d say. They are very cool and real. And from everywhere. And the music. Every sort of music. And I don’t think the weather is that bad. Everyone back home thinks it is always raining here. I can survive here. And for me, the best thing about this city is just to go out of your house and walk around and see what you see. I love the diversity..
R: Definitely. Hear you. 100%. So talking of your life here, you are also housemates with another Rocket barber. Miss Lorena of Stokey..
M: Yeah she is now my best friend. But the first time I met her, I hated her. She was very hungover and hated me back because I was trying to handle some papers. Some responsibilities. And she couldn’t handle my conversation. But then we became best friends. Things have improved! I just went to Thailand with her.
R: Seems that way. She seems like your sister here. So to finish off, have you got a message for the customers out there?
M: Yeah for sure. I’d like to say a big thank you for being able to cope with me for half an hour in the chair. I can be very difficult as sometimes I’m very talkative and other times I’m not talking as much and may not seem as friendly. I’d just like to thank everyone and I do love you all..
R: Anything else before we sign off?
M: OK. One last thing yeah. Sometimes I may put on my barber goggles. Although I wear some pretty crazy stuff they are actually practical. They stop from getting hair splinters in the eyeballs. They are not cool at all. Thanks.
R: Muchos gracias Manu..
Manu and his pictures are on Instagram: @josemaolivares
Keep looking out for our official Rocket Insta posts and we always tag our barbers so you can check them out too if you get chance..
Also we are proud to announce a new addition to the family.. Rocket Leyton is now open and doing really well.. Drop in if you’re in the area: 474 High Road, Leyton E10 6QA!