Defining the authentic hipster
How does one separate the genuine from the counterfeit? The wheat from the chaff?
When the first real hipsters appeared – not the shopping centre cardboard cut-out wannabes – what was it that they were searching for?
There is always a trend in youth to reject the habits and values of the previous generation but that is typically an inevitable stage of growth – a point where all teenagers rebel without a clue.
But what of those who rebel with reason? Those who seek justification for using or possessing something beyond it being a cool or fashionable thing to have. People who have turned out the popular fashion of their wardrobe in favour of comfortable clothing made from natural fibres not made in a sweatshop. People who seek out obscure bands who want to make a statement or unusual sound, as opposed to major record labels churning out soulless, disposable pop fodder. Music that will last through the ages instead of a week. There is real justification for organically grown vegetables – its not productive on a large scale but still manageable for the market gardener.
I had to look up “artisanal” to confirm its meaning – something handmade in a traditional manner, taking the long way around instead of lazy shortcuts.
But there are aspects of hipsterdom that don’t make any sense – eschewing computers for typewriters, digital cameras for film, CDs and digital media for records, geared bikes for fixed gear. Such ideas tend to be the province of the try-too-hards. The argument that records have a greater dynamic range than CD is fair but countered by records wearing out enough after a few plays that, with rare exceptions, the range shrank dramatically. In my own experience, the record aficionados and audiophiles always tended to be half deaf – they had the money to afford the best equipment but were no longer in a position to appreciate it.
Melbourne is considered the hipster capital of Australia – the suburb of Fitzroy particularly so, Smith Street being hipster central. I’ve been harbouring an urge to visit Melbourne again after a brief visit on my honeymoon. It seems stupid that its cheaper to fly to Bali and stay in a luxury hotel for a week than it is to fly to Melbourne and stay in a mid-range hotel even for a few nights. I find myself wondering if I can create my own Poor Man’s Melbourne in Perth, the same as I want to Balify a section of my garden.
So as I write this, I’m sitting in a hipster coffee shop in King Street, Perth, drinking a short black single origin coffee in a vintage, underground café with rustic, recycled décor – a shame about the background music, which sounds like Fatboy Slim being thrown down a flight of stairs.
Maybe I can find some Bali hipsters…
The hipster label suits me even if I don’t fit the hipster label. But it is the nature of hipsters to reject labels. I am defining myself by being indefinable.