Dudes have been getting unjustly pigeonholed with character-defining labels since forever: You got glasses? You’re a math fan. Fancy a few tattoos? You must be in a gang. Have a beard? You’re obviously a bush ranger. Sure, there are a couple of people who fit these stock character stereotypes but there are a bunch of multi-talented men who refuse to follow convention and have more layers than a Commes des Garcon runway show.
Bespoke brew purveyor James Squire is dedicated to breaking down these stereotypes with Rogue Tales, a series of short films that showcase some of Australia’s most roguishly charming men who defy pigeonholing. Take Rhys Miller, for example. At first sight he’s a coffee grower, roaster and connoisseur – a man who delights in balancing the body, flavour and acidity of his beans to create the perfect brew. But that’s not the only balancing act Rhys has mastered. He’s also rather brilliant when it comes to the cyr wheel. A type of acrobatics (think of it as working with a rather pimped out hula hoop) this graceful artform requires a great deal of concentration and forces Rhys to ‘live in the now’ because if he breaks focus, even for a second, he’ll land flat on his face.

We know Rhys isn’t the only dude out there with hidden talents. Taking inspiration from James Squire’s Rogue Tales, Pedestrian went out onto the streets in search of men who are more than just what meets the eye. Armed with our own bearded man ex-surfboard shaper and vagabond photographer Ted O’Donnell, we stepped outside our office ready to capture these men in their natural habitats. On the hunt to uncover Clark Kent types, we quickly realised we didn’t have to look far – turns out men with roguish charm and a diverse – and unexpected – range of talents are easy to come by. Take a look at the men we met in our own backyard. 

Meet Sean McManus, the rugged barista at Single Origin Roasters who, surprisingly, likes golf and flying kites. We spotted him in Surry Hills making a pretty badass dragon atop a delicious looking cappuccino. He’s got a whole mythical gang of creatures he’s been known to whip out but still likes to rely on the ol’ love heart to impress that special someone. Previously a slave to the cocktail industry, he decided to trade in getting home from work at 5am to getting up for work at 5am. If he won the lottery, he’d still rock up to work same as usual, he’d just have a big ol’ smile on his face. Oh and his first purchase would be a new set of golf clubs to help with his rather average handicap.

Meet Josh Price. We discovered him in Sydney peddling sustainably made footwear from his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it store, Feit. He’s not that great with working with his hands (his brother Tull does all the shoe-making) but he is slowly mastering the art of Chi Gong, an ancient Chinese energy practice based on Taoist and Budist traditions. If you want to picture it, it looks a bit like Tai Chi, but manlier. After hurting his back six years ago and stumbling upon his master, Josh has not had to pop a pain pill since. One day he hopes he’ll be able to help heal people’s soles souls just like his master helped him.

Meet Dan Blakemore. We saw him trimming some fine gentleman’s beard at Sterling Parlour in Surry Hills and just had to find out more. Arriving in Australia with his girlfriend and a couple of backpacks, Dan soon picked up the scissors at Sterling and hasn’t looked back since. After moving into an unfurnished apartment, Dan grabbed an old door from the side of the road and decided to make a table. From there, he’s become quite the roadside pickup carpenter. Most recently he fashioned a cat toilet for his unnamed deaf cat (because well, it doesn’t really need a name does it?) and he’s now on the lookout for the perfect piece of junk to turn into a desk. When not sculpting whiskers or rummaging through scrap wood, Dan has been known to whip up the perfect pizza dough, topped with blue cheese, mushroom and Serrano ham.

Meet Marco Vella. We noticed him sizing up a rather nice antique dresser outside Mitchell Road Antique and Design Centre in Alexandria. Before he started at the Centre a year and a half ago, Marco wouldn’t have been able to tell you the difference between a raven and a writing desk but now he could talk the arm off an armchair. He’s seen a lot of strange pieces come and go throughout the store but his favourite piece would have to be an old telephone stand from the 1980s. When he’s not selling other people’s antiques or fixing up an old wire framed chair he plans to reupholster, Marco ironically plays in an experimental Sydney band called Retiree.

Meet Alen Nikolovski. We spotted his cocktail-tatted fingers ordering a coffee and just knew those fingers would be able to tell a good story. Turns out this sweetheart on the inside was on his way to mix up tequila cocktails at Tio’s in Surry Hills – the bar he helped build with his own hands. None of the dudes actually knew what they were doing – all they knew was that the bar was going to be the thing making them money and that it couldn’t fall down. Not just handy with a sander, Alen’s decided to pick up the wrench and has talked his friend into teaching him how to build a motorbike from the spokes up so he can ride off into the sunset.

These incredible snaps were taken by Ted O’Donnell.

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