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freaks from Schorem won over the skeptics in the audience. Within just three weeks of opening Schorem had to hire two new barbers because Bertus and Leen could not tame the swarming crowds. Today the duo enjoys cult status – their name is echoed worldwide. Even a franchise request has already come in. “Not interested” is invariably the response of the two barbers. Their credo: “This store here has soul. We don’t want a poor imitation, a copy. I won’t say that one day we might not want to expand, but for now Schorem is fine as it is,” in Leen’s words. Our gaze comes to rest on the razor in his hand. The engraved greeting catches the eye: Run Hippie, Run. Also in proper style is the antiquarian-looking “Reuzel” pomade, a boar on the label. Schorem’s label. With real lard from a real pig, of course. To top it all off, an important dress code prevails in Schorem: Each barber has to wear a white smock and tie. Gentlemen serve gentlemen. An Italian, who only minutes later outs himself as a barber in Rome, goes straight to Leen. He has made the 1,005-mile journey to Rotterdam just for a photo. Now the Italian crowns his pilgrimage with a haircut by Don Daco, one of the ten barbers in the Schorem crew. Directly opposite Daco another quirky dude named Mouse devotes himself to a client as well. Thick glasses and a frightful look. Quite different: Miky the Maggot. The man is a beast. A giant with a resounding bass. Randy from South America wears a bowtie – just for a change; one mirror down, Bones has what is perhaps the most impressive Salvador Dalí beard north of Figueres, Spain. A gallery of unique individuals, these barbers from Rotterdam. Each one stranger than the other. Every one is preoccupied to the point of obsession with giving the best haircut of his life. Again and again, with each new customer. “We meticulously select the people who want to work with us. Many pass through our Schorem Academy the next street corner over.” The white smock also belongs as much to the everyday work attire as the knotted tie. “Some people think it’s over the top, but we love to see how these tattooed bastards dress like gentlemen,” Bertus says poetically. Schorem’s customers come from far away and they hazard wait times up to four hours. First come, first served – reservations, no; razors, yes. Now and then the refrigerator opens and a bottle of beer hisses. Remarkably few here look at their cell phone; no one, in fact. An unusual scene. Some other time. At Schorem being in the moment counts. You don’t know exactly what it is. Is it the slowing of the indefinite waiting period? The aura of the actors? Or is it this manly entre-nous feeling that you’re immediately part of the group? Here I am a man, here I may venture to be one. Or is it fear? The fear of the first trim, the first cut is the deepest. In this sense, the wait is the grace period before the cold steel of the knife is on your throat. “What, my turn already?” The repertoire at Schorem starts with a wet shave and ends with the hair on your head. The virtuoso compositions for grandeur on your noggin range from the slick Vanguard, the angular Flattop Boogie, to the Scumpadour - a quiff without equal. Schorem offers a total of twelve haircuts. “If the haircut isn’t on our signs, you won’t get it,” Leen says, proclaiming the message of the men’s team. “The barber’s art is almost a lost craft. You always work for your patron, never for your ego,” philosophizes the 39-year-old Bertus, dreaming away with the icy blade between his strong fingers. “For us it’s about restoring the craft of a bygone era to the present. That’s what we’re celebrating here. Every damn day,” adds Leen, and I think he’s looking at my throat. Or maybe at his hands, his tools. It is this mix of rowdies and aesthetes that makes Schorem special. As wild as the furnishings and the entire team might appear, behind Schorem’s tiles beats a big heart. There’s even a little boy sitting between a couple rockabilly types waiting for his haircut. “I’m pleased every time a child comes to us,” enthuses Bertus, and the dude is suddenly surprisingly soft. A transformation in seconds that is explained by his next sentence: “One day a man came into our shop with his son. The boy, maybe seven or eight years old, had only a short time to live. A huge wish of his was to visit us.” Bertus briefly turns away, looks at the toes of his shoes: “We gave him the best possible time.” The electrifying atmosphere seems to pause for a moment, a second of silence in the room, then it’s buzzing again in what is perhaps the best barber in the world, as a recent “Telegraph” headline read. At any rate, Schorem is certainly the most idiosyncratic barber in the world. With lots of rock ‘n’ roll – sorry, guys: punk! And somehow, a visit to Schorem has much in common with your first ride in an AMG: You arrive a boy and leave a man. D T A 105


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