Friday, 10 October 2014

Emma Oliver talks to Maggie Perkins about life, love and hair wax

From Lapland to the Czech Republic, the selection of beers here, are as varied as the eclectic mix drinking them. The atmosphere is funky yet stylish, a lot like the woman herself, when she finally turns up.

Ms Perkin's late arrival is easily forgotten, succeeded by perfume and friendliness. She grins and says, 'Hi, call me Maggie. I hope it's not going to be too noisy for an interview in here, it's just I love this place.' On cue, the whirr of a coffee grinder kicks into action; it hovers above the mellow bluesy back beat.

Sitting, she orders a coffee. 'It's not like I need the caffeine. I'm manic enough without it. So, what can I tell you?' Even her sentences have a hyperactive quality to them. Having requested a cappuccino, she proceeds to secondarily sugar my latte, claiming it subconsciously.




It seems a natural part of Maggie's physiognomy, but she puts it down to her being stressed out: 'Wouldn't you be if you couldn't get any sleep at night? All I ever hear is my flat mate shagging his girlfriend. His door is left open for the cat. We've just had a huge row. Enough is enough; I need to move out.' Her frankness is not shocking.

Large green eyes and choppy red hair set off elfin looks. Maggie's appearance is important to her. Momentarily, she sneaks little peaks of herself in the copper reflection of the bar. In a green scarf and brown suede dress, she compliments the late afternoon autumnal scene blowing past outside. She looks good. She knows it.

Maggie's mediocre childhood passed in Portsmouth. Globetrotting with an ex-fiancé led to a string of jobs, her latest in radio. Currently she lives in Southsea, which she describes as a wonderful village, yet she seems more unsettled now than ever. At age 32, Maggie has reached a crossroads. Possible new digs accompany a new job, a temporary position, which she will begin next Monday, after a brief trip to Copenhagen to see a lover. She stumbles over her words, with the many points she wants to make all at once, and the flighty conversation reflects the girl within.

To Maggie's horror her cappuccino arrives. She shifts forward in her seat, sitting on both hands as she talks about her job in radio as Station Manager, which she recently ditched. 'It became too much, ha, even for me. Seriously though, I was so busy, pulled in too many directions. Basically, who is capable of doing one role that consists of about six people's work? No one.

'I'm hoping to do one of two things. I don't care which as they would both be a complete change. One is to work in a hair salon. No, it's not what you're thinking... on reception mainly booking people in. It's not just hair; there is the whole beautician side to it too. I'd get freebies: lots of hair wax. The thing about this job though that really grabs me, is it's all going to be on TV. Imagine, me on Channel 4.' Maggie has such magnetism, at that precise moment, it is easy to do just that.

She lights a cigarette. Her leg briefly stops jigging as she does so. She inhales deeply. 'Menthol. If they're good enough for Dot Cotton, they're good enough for me.' Red lipstick is left on the white filter tip as she begins again. 'The other option, and you won't believe how different it is, is to go out to Zululand and work with orphaned kids.' She explains how a friend owns a hotel there, and needs someone to run the creche, teach basic English and generally get thrown in the deep end.

'It'll be good for me. There wouldn't be any hair wax there. In the meantime, if neither of these jobs materialise, I've lined up I.T. work. It's a tad mundane but I'm looking forward to working within a structured company and one that is organised. Finishing on time and having a proper lunch break is going to be heaven. I'm not looking forward to having to wear smart clothes everyday though, I've been totally spoiled at the (radio) station, everyone was so hip.' She pensively stares out the large window to the street, where dusk is now plugged in.

'I do hope they're not all geeks at the I.T. job. Although the guy that interviewed me was gorgeous! Half day on Friday, so I'll be able to sleep in the afternoons. What a novel idea, to actually be able to order tonic with my vodka, as opposed to Redbull.'

Weekends are crazy and Maggie clearly likes the non-stop madness, but who does she spend them with, a special man from Denmark? 'God no, he's not my boyfriend, he's a mate of my brother's I met on holiday in Spain. He's just a bit of distant fun. Not for too much longer though, he's been promoted and is off to Sydney. We'll always stay in contact. We have a mutual friend's wedding next year. It'd be funny if we both went with partners and ended up together. He'll probably be even balder with an even bigger belly!'

Maggie is quick to point out that Mr. Copenhagen is not the type of guy she usually goes for. In fact, the latest has been a 'particularly handsome' Turk. She says something quick-witted about Turkish delight, and I wait for the mention of a Turkish bath, I'm surprised when it doesn't come for a great sense of humour accompanies her liberal attitude.

She jokes about her life's ambition when asked: 'I want to be a house wife with six kids.' It is quickly followed by a giggle, and then a more serious note on moving away. As far as where, she would like to go back to Spain for the healthy climate. In the meantime, she is off to fly a kite, with the barman from the pub up the road.

Maggie Perkins knows what she wants as much as any woman can in today's fickle, post-modern society. She would like to make the most of life, love and hair wax. For now though, her taste in music, represents her lifestyle: 'Anything that will drown out my flat mate shagging.'