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Bad Hair Day

Bad Hair Day Book.JPG

To Hear the Bad Hair Day Song

To see a dance routine as on Tic Tok, (faster tempo)

Bad Hair Day - the song - was written twenty-four years ago by John Phillips, husband of our shop manager, Therese.


He was initially a primary school teacher at Springlands school in Marlborough, but was subsequently appointed music specialist for the whole school, a role that he has filled at numerous other primary schools:  St Marys (Marlborough), Brightwater Primary, Tahunanui, Victory and St Pauls in Richmond (where he currently works). 


For ten years, he and a team managed ‘Rock da House’, an annual concert performed by a cast of hundreds.  For countless children across Nelson, Tasman, and Marlborough, their love affair with music started with ‘Mr Phillips’.


The inspiration for ‘Bad Hair Day’ came from his son, Chris. 


For Chris, every day was a bad hair day.  Daily, his mother, Therese, used a spray bottle to dampen down his curly mop before sending him off to school,


Does Chris still have bad hair days?  To find, ask a Waimea Intermediate students, where he, like his father, is a music specialist.


John, used Bad Hair Day at school, in ‘Rock Da House’, in one of his many CDs, and for a small gratuity supplied it to the Ministry of Education for inclusion in one of their ‘Kiwi Kids’ CDs supplied to schools in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.


Sometime around Christmas 2022, a person took the Bad Hair Day chorus, (almost certainly from a Kiwi Kids CD) sped it up, and posted it on TikTok.  Within days others were reposting it with dance routines.  This grew to 80,000 reposting per day, all with different routines and performers.  Right now, (mid- November 2023), there are 2.4 million, and growing, Bad Hair Day dance routines on Tik Tok and 2.3 billion combined views of these routines. These numbers continue to grow as thousands of postings are still being uploaded to Tik Tok weekly.


J.K. Rowling, (author of the Harry Potter books) endured Twelve rejections before a publisher took her on.  In stark contrast, J. Phillips was pursued by UK publisher, Quarto. 


Quarto has been a sheer delight to work with.   And how’s this for remarkable coincidence?  The parents of John’s contact in Quarto, live in Upper Moutere, a couple of doors down from John’s brother and sister-in-law.


John is a capable illustrator, as evidenced by his book Doggy Dos and Don’ts (also available at Eyebright).  He could have done the artwork for Bad Hair Day, but time was of the essence.  John knew exactly what he wanted, but with full time work, would be unable to do the drawings himself. 


Getting the right style was paramount, so John prepared examples of what he wanted, sent them to Quarto, and Quarto went looking for the right illustrator. 


There’s a huge Childrens book fair at Bologna in Italy, at which Quarto had a stall.  On their desk they put a poster inviting artists to apply for the job of illustrating Bad Hair Day. 


Jennifer Jamison, (who also had a stall at the fair) saw the poster; went back to her motel, did some sketches, and submitted them the next day.  Examples of her work were sent through to John, and John was delighted. 


Jennifers work is comical, and full of expression.   It is so spot on, that you find yourself going back again and again just to chuckle at the drawings. 


For twenty-four years Bad Hair Day was seldom heard outside of primary schools.  But since Christmas 2022, it has exploded.


John’s song-writing is all about providing fun, wholesome content for young minds.  The success of Bad Hair Day has fulfilled this ambition beyond what he ever dreamt.   

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