Adelaide hairdresser Don Violi got his start in the business in 1973, and over the decades since then, he’s seen many changes – both in hairdressing and in the evolution of Adelaide itself.
In episode 41 Don regales us with stories from his days in competition with stalwart names like Arturo Taverna and Feres Trabilsie (remember the 5-minute Head Start to Beauty segment on Channel 9 in the afternoons?) to reminiscences of where you could get a foot-long hotdog, some OK-tasting coffee, and the place to enjoy a pleasant lunchtime meal while you watched ladies getting their gear off.
We learn about the introduction of unisex salons, prior to which there existed dedicated barber shops and ladies’ salons.
Don Dunstan was a regular customer at the salon of Don Violi and his business partner, Domenic Marafiote, but the former Premier always proved reticent and reluctant in conversation when he was in the chair.
Perhaps most peculiar in our conversation is the topic of the infamous Stobie pole saga of 1984, when Australian artist Clifton Pugh was commissioned (but accepted no payment) to paint an impression of Adam and Eve outside Don and Domenic’s new Hair International salon in Prospect. Painted without council permission, the piece garnered both immense opposition and support, and finally the artwork was purchased and removed – pole and all.