A voice crying in the wilderness

“The thing about hipsters is that they don’t like to be called a hipster. By that logic, nobody is a hipster. But by that logic again, maybe everyone is a hipster.

“But what would I know, I’m not a hipster.”

– Levni Yilmaz

Therein lies an idea that if you think you are a hipster, you aren’t.

I often tell people that I was a hipster before they were cool.

In many respects, I could be a hipster. In many respects, I could be the thinking hipster’s hipster. I wear stylish glasses – but I’m actually short sighted. I reject popular fashion, but I have limited finances. I listen to a lot of obscure music, but I grew up in the Seventies.

I’ve written a song about it.

I’m a counter-cultural Christian Socialist thinking hipster’s thinking hipster.

But my pipe is broken and my wife doesn’t like it when I try to grow a beard.

A beard made of recycled, single origin, viably sourced, cold filtered vintage kale.

Hipster coffee sounds like too much hard work – I think I will stick to my plunger and FairTrade ground coffee. Usually I buy Oxfam coffee so I can donate a little more to charity but this week I’ve been on a tighter than normal budget so I brought a packet of Supermarket C brand FairTrade coffee instead since it is close to half price.

I had a little crisis on conscience afterwards though – would Oxfam suffer without my indirect donation? I resolved that the next time I passed an Oxfam shop, I would pay the difference to them. I get my FairTrade coffee, they get a bigger donation. If I get a receipt, I can claim it on tax. Everybody wins.

I’ve been thinking a lot about hipsters recently – psychoanalyzing perhaps – trying to understand them and get into their mindset. We have quite a lot in common.

We listen to obscure bands, though I’m not inclined towards the one-upmanship of “I know of more obscure bands than you”. If I find an obscure band I like, I want them to become better known.

But isn’t strange how your music tastes change as you get older? All the bands that I loved in my childhood and teenage years have lost their appeal. My collection of “chiptunes” (I do dislike that title) seem painful and annoying now yet 10 years ago they never left my CD player in the car.

Imagine my amusement when my parents rediscovered Queen? I recall them hammering on my bedroom walls demanding that we “turn that bloody poofter music down!” One day I walk into my parent’s house to find “A night at the opera” blasting out of the media centre.

We reject popular fashion – more because I dress for comfort and mobility and I don’t have a big wardrobe budget. I don’t mind looking in thrift stores but I also like to donate to them as well.

We appreciate retro – but not retro for the sake of retro. I play a lot of video games that I grew up with and find modern games too complicated and too demanding to be fun. I had speculated that hipsters would properly use an 8bit PC running CP/M and storing all their documents on 5.25 inch floppy disks but I’ve since learned that I was wrong – hipsters have discovered typewriters.

I’ve known people who have worked with film cameras – no, thank you. Once good quality digital cameras became affordable, I’ve not looked back. I do still have three film cameras here but they’ve not been taken out of storage for years – one still has a film in it from 25 years ago which I’ve been scared to get developed in case the processor loses one of the wooden rollers.

I like aviator-style sunglasses – part of my love of Electric Light Orchestra – but my prescription glasses have been dictated by what I can get that is covered by my health insurance. So instead I have Agent Smith sunglasses.

I buy all my music digitally for the most part – I’ll still buy a CD if its on special or I find it cheap enough second hand but most of my newly discovered bands publish online via iTunes or Google Play. I do have a large collection of records and tapes but nowhere to set up a turntable – indeed, I gave away my good turntable to my brother and even he isn’t very interested in vinyl anymore.

I’m not one for obscure beers as such – I’m quite happy to support microbreweries and I’ll drink whatever they have on tap but I’ll be just as happy if someone hands me an Emu Export.

And don’t get me started on tattoos – I still dislike them intensely. Besides, they’re soooo MAINSTREAM…these days you are a rebel for not getting one.

I view hipsters as a kind of “anti yuppie”, though a similar kind of snobbery and social hierarchy still exists. The mantra of “He who dies with the most toys wins” has been superseded by “He who dies with the most vintage and obscure collection wins”.
Whatever. You’re still dead and you can’t take it with you.

Unless your idea of heaven is the world’s largest vintage market…

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