- 21 Oct 21
The original Movember idea is that you grow a moustache – and raise funds for Movember by getting family, friends and anyone else you can reach out to, to sponsor that endeavour. Needless to say, the more dramatic or impressive the moustache, the better. Join in the moustachioed fun under the headings Grow A Mo, Move for Movember, Host A Mo-ment and Mo Your Own Way. Head over to Movember.com to sign up...
Irish musicians have come out in force to support the upcoming Movember campaign, with the likes of DJ Arveene, Micheál Quinn (drummer for Dermot Kennedy), former HomeTown member Josh Gray and producer Zenna all putting their weight behind the initiative. Rob de Boer has also taken time to share his Movember journey with Hot Press.
Having launched in Melbourne back in 2003, the NGO arrived in Ireland in 2008 to take things to the next level with male health. Pouring fundraising money into testicular and prostate cancer research, as well as funding over 1,250 male mental health projects, Movember is a game-changer for offering men longer, happier, healthier lives.
One of the primary goals of the charity is to allow men the safe space to express themselves fully. Speaking out about emotions in order to reduce the need for mental health services offers many young boys and men a lifeline - a connection to a supportive, empathetic network of their peers.
As a videographer, producer and musician, Rob de Boer knows all about harnessing his creativity for the benefit of his wellbeing. Following his cracking singles ‘Costa’ and ‘Please Stay’, de Boer recently dropped his new EP Early Light. The project sees him bring together a host of talented musicians including Dylan Lynch, Ryan Hargadon, Paddy Groenland, Nico Sewe, Chris Wong and more.
“Music is obviously my big project, but I’m also passionate about video, photography and the outdoors," Rob tells Hot Press over the phone. "I work with a video production company called BigStyle Media House shooting, editing and doing sound-design. I also work with an adventure company called BigStyle. We have a lodge in the west of Ireland where we put on surf and yoga retreats and gigs!
“My friends and I started getting involved in Movember back when we were in the surf club in college," he continues. "We had fun attempting to grow moustaches and doing some fundraising while we were at it. The first gig I did with a band for my solo project was a fundraiser show we put on for Movember in 2017.
"While organising the event I met Jack O’Connor (Zenna, Ireland’s Country Manager for Movember). He’s the main man behind Movember in Ireland. We did another couple of gigs to raise funds and awareness in the years after that. Bringing music into it and getting people together for a good cause was the main draw for me.”
How does Rob see Movember's relevance evolving, given how far men's health has come since 2003?
“Conversations around mental health have just been on the increase across the board. There's much more of a concerted effort globally to address it," he says, emphatically. "Way more initiatives to support people with mental illness have popped up, which is great. I think in the past there was more of a stigma around men seeking help for their problems and emotional wellbeing. It just wouldn't have been something that was talked about as openly. I do think more people want to get on board with Movember’s messaging.
“I'm lucky in that I have a very supportive family and a great group of friends. I've grown up with a culture of talking and sharing, which is so important," the creative notes, smiling. "That's a big thing for me. Talking is one thing, but you have to have your own coping mechanisms as well. The way I can pull myself out of a funk are exercise, movement and physical activity. Yoga, swimming, surfing; anything like that can distract me from whatever I’m going through. That tends to help me the most.
"I think it's a combination of having people you can depend on and talk to and then your own strategies. Your practical solutions during the day - even if it’s just getting out for a walk. The spectrum of mental health is endless. The size and scope of what people are dealing with is so broad. Some things require more of an intervention and professional help or services. Support for mental health, be it for men or women, should always be regarded as important and relevant.”
As a young man in his twenties, does Rob feel like his peers are attending prostate and testicular cancer screenings? Stigma still exists around men's health, while many men only begin their journey of testing in their thirties, forties or fifties, when it's too late. The key to these forms of cancer is early detection.
“The short answer is probably not," de Boer concedes. "I think there's awareness about getting checked out for prostate and testicular cancer, but whether guys my age would follow through on it is another question. It's not something that I would routinely check for, even now that I'm knowledgeable about these things. More needs to be more done to incentivise people to actually go to the doctor. I think when you’re in your late thirties, or forties, there’s more of a transition to get routine screenings.
"I'm certainly guilty of flying the flag for awareness but not actually getting checked myself. What Movember stands for is timeless, ultimately, because men aren't living as long as they should.”
The Movember Ireland campaign officially launches on October 29 in Pygmalion. The stacked lineup curated by Arveene features Zenna, Cici, Ben Bix, Kelly Anne Byrne, Ruth Kavanagh and former Oasis member Andy Bell, AKA GLOK. Tickets for the event are available now via Eventbrite for €10, with proceeds going towards the charity.
For more information, visit ie.movember.com/.