I have been accused of bashing hipsters many times in the past and I will admit, that at times, I will openly attack their ipad-carrying style-expert wannabe selves purely for the fact it’s fun and they bite back. I have spent many years perfecting my ‘bait and attack’ routine with hipsters, leading them on a merry path to sacrifice on the internet and, conversely, in the open world. But this writer is possibly hiding a dark, dark secret of acceptance-craving and scene-following shame.
Like an Australian radio shock jock who bullies homosexual people through the week, enjoys a good group bashing of gays on Friday night and proceeds to spend Saturday night at the local beat sucking cock; I think I am a closet hipster. I apologise for any bashing that I do in the future or for what sins against hipsterdom I have committed in the past; I know not what I do. I lash out, not wanting to admit that I, filled with such vitriol and antagonised hatred towards trendoids, may be hiding a deep secret which aligns myself with their mop-haired, intentionally-ragged-jeans cause.
Before we delve deep into the psyche of one music writer, I think we need to go back to the root of all evil and potentially the best quoted definitions of ‘The Hipster’.
The original definition of hipsters dictates we must travel back – way back – to a time when the internet and ipods didn’t exist and punk was just a twinkle in Jonny Rotten’s father’s eye. Back in the dark ages, or as they are commonly referred to – the 1940s, the rise of jazz as a music form eventually led to white people wanting to smoke jazz cigarettes and aspire to be just as poor and creative as those of African American descent – without the need for what some people called ‘rights’ or ‘equal’ social footing. In a derivative attempt to latch onto a subculture they were warned to avoid, young white denizens dove head first into the dark corners of jazz dens, sequestered themselves in the heady mix of weed smoke and non-conformist and misappropriated culture-leeching. And thus, the hipster is born.
Norman Mailer, eminent writer and commentator, described hipsters as “existentialists, living a life surrounded by death—annihilated by atomic war or strangled by social conformity—and electing instead to divorce [themselves] from society, to exist without roots, to set out on that uncharted journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self”.
The new wave resurgence of the modern hipster came about again right about the time Seattle became the city to be in with the rise of grunge. Flannel wearing non-conformist hippies and degenerate elements of anti-pop culture puritanism latched onto the attitude of disenfranchisement coupled with a white middle class no man’s land to ‘rediscover’ a past sub-sub-culture and resurrect it phoenix-style.
Even rap music was not safe from the reach of the modern hipster with Prefix Mag writer Ethan Stanislawski arguing that there are racial elements to the rise of hipster rap. He claims that there “have been a slew of angry retorts to the rise of hipster rap”, which he says can be summed up as “white kids want the funky otherness of hip-hop … without all the scary black people”.
In July 2009, Time magazine described the new rise of the naughties hipster perfectly. “Hipsters are the friends who sneer when you cop to liking Coldplay. They’re the people who wear t-shirts silk-screened with quotes from movies you’ve never heard of and the only ones in America who still think Pabst Blue Ribbon is a good beer. They sport cowboy hats and berets and think Kanye West stole their sunglasses. Everything about them is exactingly constructed to give off the vibe that they just don’t care.”
But where does this leave this little music writer? I have suffered many a late entry into genre following and admit I was late to many styles of music I now love, despite their ‘Weekend at Bernies’ style parading. Take for example dubstep. I came very late to the style and only in the past two years have ‘discovered’ a love for the squelchy basslines so deliberately and inaccurately described by hipsters as ‘wobbles’. By the time I was enamoured by the sub bass swelling of the British borne style it was categorically described as ‘dead’. Killed by those who resurrected it into its current form of ‘Brostep’ and fashioned it a new mid-range sonic assault with twee line like ‘Bangarang’ and ‘Oh My Gosh’ (sorry Skrillex…) instead of the bromance that was Brixton during the late-nineties/early-naughties populated by sausage-fest gatherings without a thong or fluorescent wristband in sight.
And what of the clothes I sport in some effort to remain relevant? I will admit, I spent a portion of my youth trying to skate like Tony Hawk and Rodney ‘Flatland king’ Mullens, but with little success. I used to push kick my way around town spouting anti-establishment lines, pissing off suck-urity guards and partaking in illegal pastimes. These days, at somewhere between 20 and 40 years old, I still spend my hard earned cash on skate shoes I use inappropriately (read: normally; without replacing laces five times in one shoe lifetime) and wearing baggy jeans and Zoo York T’s without the need to follow the current trend of skinny leg jeans and pastel pink singlets of the current skate generation. In my obviously vain attempt to mirror a culture I tentatively clung to 10 years ago, I still get told by people I look 10 years my junior.
I won’t even start on my latest foray into the world of digital music production and turntablism. Again, late to the funeral of another great stylish scene…
Does this mean, I am indeed, a Hipster? What of those small number of examples when I led instead of followed? Do they even sway anyone to the thought I might have less hipster-leaning tendencies than I think? These all seem like failed attempts at fitting in, leading me to believe I was destined to be better suited to anti-conformist leanings along with all those hipsters I tend to sneer and glare at across the societal last supper table…
Is it possible that…
Nah, its almost Friday; and that’s means its only one more sleep before getting out to gang-bash some hipster wannabes….