Sylvia Lux: Hairdresser- Surry Cutters

I had a friend who was in the rag trade (down the road) and we used to play squash, so we used to come up here to play squash and go to the gym. And this place was for rent, so I decided I might as well open up here.

Surry Hills has a beautiful village atmosphere. It’s my home. The people are friendly here. It has a mix of people. I find community through the local businesses, especially those that have been here for a long time.

However, it’s getting expensive now and people are finding it hard to do anything here because of the traffic and light rail. You see empty shops. The landlords are greedy. They don’t care if the places lie empty. Just across the road there is this eyesore, it’s been like that for 17 years and the guy is just waiting for the prices to go up. Maybe the landlord should just paint the place? So this end of town has taken a lot longer than the middle part to get it better. It’s not good for the area.

It used to be more interesting here, it was a gay scene. It’ s not as gay here at this end of Crown Street. We have more families.

Now because of rising house prices, communal living is happening with families. That used to be the way it was in Europe, they would all live together and help each other. That’s what happening in this area, people are becoming more connected to extended family.

I was a single mum when I opened this salon 31 years ago. It was difficult. My husband was a bad boy and ended up in gaol. That was hard. It made me stronger. Me having a business has taught my son about when you have a business, and about giving creatively. He’s become a good boy, he’s ethical and dedicated to his work. He has become a decent human being.

I wanted to be a hairdresser since I was four. I had dolls with hair and I’d cut their hair and eye lashes. I had a doll with blond synthetic hair which I put in rollers and sat her next to the heater. It all melted.

I’ve never thought of hairdressing as work but rather as social, creative and fun. It’s amazing how many people you get to talk to like a counsellor. It’s good if you have problems too and you can load off on clients. We can discuss our problems. It’s like therapy. I’ve got friends who are psychiatrists and they say that hairdressers have got the better job at doing what we do with counselling because they are restricted in what they say wheras we can say “Just get on with it”. Counsellors have to tread more carefully.

I know people who have gone away for 10 years and come aback and they say “I’m so happy you’re still here. I feel like everything is still the same.” So that’s nice.

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