Hipster- Google’s dictionary definition:
hipster1 ˈhɪpstə/ noun informal noun: hipster; plural noun: hipsters
1.a person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream.
Really the meaning varies depending on who you’re speaking with. A definition on Urban dictionary suggests…
“Hipsters are a subculture of American consumer for whom the idea behind the marketing holds more value than the product being marketed.”
...but for the sake of this blog let’s run with the first definition, shall we? Er, or perhaps this one by Buzzword:
"a person, especially someone in their twenties or thirties, who has progressive political views and an unconventional approach to fashion, lifestyle, etc"
(Though I love even more so that the term was used in the 1920’s to speak of people who carried a hip flask during prohibition, I digress…yet again!)
Loads of people purport to hate hipsters right? I personally don’t like our contemporary use of the word at all- it feels to me as if it’s born of our tendency to try to force everyone into a box. At any rate, in recent years, they’ve become the butt of many a joke, subject of many a skit. So why are they everywhere?? What happened to being able to easily spot my people? How did their wardrobe morph from being the garb of the clan on the edges to the conventional uniform of the masses?
Some of these imposters think that they are not hipsters per se. Most alternative folk would not, I dare say, identify as a hipster either…and some of the poseurs really, really, REALLY do not fit Buzzword or Google's definition. Here, in Italy anyway, today’s hipsters are bankers, stockbrokers, delivery men, and *gasp* right-wing politicians. Waiters and bartenders. Doctors and nurses. They are not just alternative music-loving, bearded, intellectual, artistic types with tats and/or piercings. They are often the very antithesis- the mediocre, the conventional. My accountant has a Johnny Depp goatee and flowing scarf yet is disdainful of any writing that is not in the format of a form; the insurance inspector who came to check out my car after a fender bender looks like James Franco attending the Sundance film festival and he asked,
‘Oh you’re a musician, but what’s your real job?’
It used to be I could identify the members of my quirky weirdo tribe at a glance AND a distance. Bed head, some funky glasses perhaps or a hat, facial hair, a t-shirt with a pithy esoteric saying, big ol’ boots, lots of black. They’d be easily identifiable as a.) A student (film, music, fine arts) b.) A poet, musician, writer, or artist of some sort c.) A drifter.
Bassist Massimo Saviola, Drummer Cesare Valbusa, Guitarist/Singer Christian Codenotti
Now everywhere I look I’m bamboozled. I’m at the supermarket. Ooooo doesn’t he look interesting with his nicely coiffed beard and wavy hair curling over his collar? See those Docs- I wonder what he… then he catches my eye and I see what his disguise has hidden. A vacuous stare, a leer. In his ripped jeans, t-shirt, and flannel that so must have been chosen by his partner, actually the whole LOOK must have been chosen by the aforementioned partner, he looks terribly uncomfortable in his skin. The whole look not so much laid back, sexy, second skin- as much as little boy wannabe playing dress up.
It also used to be fun to see someone with what's considered to be a more conventional job, a dental hygienist say, and see a tattoo peeking out from beneath the white coat, or 8 earrings in one ear almost hidden beneath their locks. It was so uncommon as to be kinda thrilling and led me to ruminate on their secret life. But now...
Someone comes up at the end of a gig: man bun, leather jacket, black jeans, beard and I’m thinking,
‘I love guessing musician’s instruments… Hmmmm Ima go with guitarist.’
When he opens his mouth he says,
‘So what genre is that music that you guys just played?’
Then continues without pause,
‘Do you know Aretha Franklin? You should totally do her song Natural Woman. Have you ever thought of trying out for XFactor?’
Rounding off with the ubiquitous,
‘Is this your real job?’
I refrain from screaming,
‘CAROLE KING WROTE NATURAL WOMAN AND ANWAY-WHAT ABOUT MY VOICE SAYS QUEEN OF SOUL TO YOU?? AFTER A TWO HOUR SHOW YOU STILL FEEL THE NEED TO PIGEONHOLE ME??!!!!!!!! XFACTOR, REALLY??? ’
Instead while thinking,
‘Arghhh fooled again!’
I smile sweetly, answer his questions as politely as possible and sell him a download card.
Me, Nederland Colorado Poet, Massimo Saviola