Mitch Wilson – From hairdresser for Duran Duran to “Notorious” nightclub owner
Words: Katy Hastings
Photography: Jordi Cervera
August 26, 2023
It’s impossible to sum up Mitch Wilson in a snip. Hairdresser, yes. Nightclub owner, yes. Entrepreneur, yes. But when asked to describe himself, he responds. “I’m just a chancer really.”
Interviewing him on the balcony of his Playa d’en Bossa property early this season, wasn’t my first encounter with Mitch. We both hail from the same small English city in the Midlands – Wolverhampton. He ran a landmark nightclub there, which I frequented as a teenager. He was something of a trailblazer in the city, and his nightclub attracted people from far and wide. From the flaming torches outside to the drag queen dancers in the unisex toilets – this was the early ‘90s and long before it had been done on any scale. It won more awards than any club at the time, apparently. But this isn’t the only string to his bow, nor the start of his story.
“I was a waste of time at school,” he says. “So I ended up at college doing hairdressing, and I spent two years learning, then one day it just clicked. I was hanging out with my friends at a place called The Rum Runner in Birmingham, it was one of the coolest clubs at the time. My friend had opened it. They attracted a band called Duran Duran – they had just found a guitarist – and they formed the band there and then. They asked me to do their hair because they had no money basically, so the five of them came to our shop which was called Wilson, Wilson and Wilson Handmade Hair Cutting – and we did the five hair cuts for Girls on Film. I was with them for about three years, and they’d call me up and go “come to America”. My sister married one of them, they have four kids!”
His fascinating life led to another famous encounter. In great detail he recalls what seems to be one of his most treasured memories. “One Sunday, it’s raining and I get a call from John Taylor (Duran Duran).” He asks Mitch if he had heard of the band called Queen. “Obviously I had and then I’m asked to do the hair for the drummer Roger (May). So that night I go over to their hotel in Birmingham – they have the whole top floor of the hotel. Freddie is there and he’s asking me something about his hair – and I snip a bit off! He was a lovely bloke!” Later that evening the band gave Mitch 50 access-all-area passes for the show that night, and afterwards he was summoned backstage to recommend a nightspot for the band to party. “I take them to a club called Liberty’s where I normally go. When we get there the manager demands Freddie goes home to get changed because he was wearing jeans! Can you believe it? So Freddie says ‘go into that club and take every girl out of that place and we’ll make a party’. And we did!”
Mitch went on to own a number of night spots in the Wolverhampton area including the Canal Club in 1996 – which he describes as a phenomenon. It was straight after that when he moved to Ibiza and set up a holiday rental company – ApartmentsinIbiza.com.
But what is it about the island that makes it so special, I ask: “It is the just best place on earth isn’t it. I go to Bali, Tulum, Mykonos but this is just the best.”
Thank you, Carlie Carpenter (@mothercrlic), for being the craziest hair dresser of all time. Dress by Respect The Effect (@respectheffect)