As part of our ongoing FvF Explores series our contributor and photographer Marco Annunziata recently took a trip to Rotterdam and uncovered a hidden gem. Taking us on a tour of an authentic barber shop – The Schorem Haarsnijder En Barbier – we meet the large personality Bertus of Schorem as he discusses his aesthetic and love of tattoos.
This meeting was one that happened by chance while Marco was walking towards the Rotterdam train station on the way to Amsterdam. Uncharacteristically not in a rush for once, he decided to stop by The Schorem for a haircut and we are glad that he did. With a crazy line out the front of the shop, instead of getting a haircut, he had a frozen beer, captured the authentic community, and interviewed Bertus.
Where are you from?
I’m from Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
How did you become a barber?
Cutting my mates hair. I used to be in the rockabilly/psychobilly/punk scene and when one of the boys needed their quits flat topped or their pomps tapered they’d come to me.
When did you decide to open a barbershop? Why in Rotterdam?
Rotterdam is a working class town. I love Rotterdam and there was no doubt about opening the shop here. My business partner Leen and I both live three minutes away from the shop. The shop is located in an alternative part of the city, and it really fits in.
What does “Schorem” mean?
Schorem is a wordplay that gets lost in translation. It means “scumbags”‚ “bad boys”but it is also the tense form of ”shave him” literally meaning “I shaved him”. The “Haarsnijder en Barbier” meaning “Haircutter and Barber”. We are an old-school barbershop specialized in traditional, classic and signature haircuts and hot towel straight razor shaves. We try to bring back a vanishing craft from a lost era of time.
How come all the barbers that work at Schorem have tattoos?
Tattoos and barbering go hand in hand. It were the barbers on the ships of the great explorers like James Cook that took tattooing from the islands to the west being the guys that did all the bloody jobs like leeching and bloodletting. There used to be tattoo artists in the back rooms of barbershops and I even heard the first electric tattoo machine was invented by a barber.
Did you ever think about becoming a tattoo artist?
I did, however, I didn’t have the art skills required. Also, I didn’t have the patience to be a tattoo artist, I like doing haircuts because I see the end result right away.
Who are your favorite tattoo artists?
Daan Verbruggen at Namakubi Tattoo in Barcelona is a good friend of mine and an absolute master in traditional Japanese. Gerrit Termaat at Tattoo Mania in Apeldoorn does the most bizarre color work, and I love the realistic work of Errol at the Inkstitution. I think Shige at Yellow Blaze is fucking awesome. Robert Aalbers at Clean Solid Tattoo is a master in Old School work.
Your barber shop looks like a museum. Where do you find all these old objects and antiques?
With a lot of patience! When you are searching for something you have to call all antique shops in the yellow pages. We have a friend that’s really into that stuff. Sometimes I had to drive something like 600 kilometers just to check a mirror or a chair. We also get emails from people that have crazy stuff buried in their cellars seeing if we want them.
How would you describe your style?
I don’t know. Old School, classic, Rock’n’ Roll? It really depends how you look at the shop, we love traditional work, bluegrass music, rockabilly, but in the afternoon we like to crank up the stereo, and rock some psychobilly or punk music. I wear a tie every day round my tattooed neck.
Who are your typical customers?
We got em all: rockabillies, psychobillies, gentlemen, vagabonds, punks, ruffians, freaks, artists, brothers of the smock, rockers, bikers, greasers, scumbags, speedfreax, greasers, pomade pomping bastards, vintage lovers, jazzers, billies, inkslingers, bastards, lowlifes, sick boys. The door’s open for everyone who wants a tight cut or shave.
Gel or pomade?
Pomade! We use our own custom made Reuzel Pomade.
Is there any known solution to prevent beard dandruff?
My tip is a bit of beard oil which makes it smell nice as well.
What do you like to do when you are not at work?
Hang out with my wife, son and daughter, get tattooed, go skateboarding, read comic books, watch a movie, or just try to relax because so much stuff I like to do is work related.
Do you enjoy travel? Do you ever work abroad?
I love travelling although I have to admit I get homesick pretty fast. I just love Rotterdam a lot. Leen and myself have to travel quite a lot at the moment and that’s always fun, meeting new people with the same interests, other barbers and artists. We work on festivals and tattoo conventions a lot and that’s always shit loads of fun. We take the whole team to work and party. We’re all booze hounds so those weekends usually end up in mayhem!
Thank you Barber, it was interesting to get insights into Barbering and your approach. Visit Schorem here to find out more.
Photography & Interview: Marco Annunziata