Hipster. It’s a label being banded around a lot of late, a term that’s entered pop culture, crikey- there’s whole pubs full of ’em, yet nobody admits to being one. It’s a term being associated a lot with the beer scene- goodness knows why. I personally don’t like it, especially when it’s being used in a derogatory way, which, for the most part, it is. So this is my view on its use.
It’s 2002, I’m 16 and discovering rock and metal music for the first time. I bought the music, I loved the music. I connected with it in a way I hadn’t been able to connect with anything else. I was not only discovering new music, I was discovering who I was. There were plenty of magazines to accompany this and each month, in the letters section, readers would complain about the ‘kids’ with their baggy jeans, black hoodies and damned awful taste in Nu Metal. The booming scene of rap-rock and new school metal was considered by the older crowd as utterly dire, an embarrassment to the genre. Now I’ve grown out of the baggy jeans and wearing chains from my belt loops, but i still love the music and it was a gateway, a stepping stone, it opened my ears and my mind to the history of rock and an appreciation of all genres of music. Fast forward to 2005 and i discover real ale. I drink in the popular H&W pub in town and of all my mates I can only count one other as a fellow ale drinker.
So now it’s 2014, I’m approaching 28 and now the majority of my mates drink real beer regularly. We all appreciate and genuinely enjoy it, make the effort to go to beer fests and support the local brewers. Drinking real ale, for me, has gone from being a bit unusual to being the norm (and nobody i know differentiates between real ale and craft). Drinking real beer has become a cornerstone of my social life and subsequently a passion. I begin to blog about this appreciation, I find a beer scene and, alas, the same old argument- only this time it isn’t a dislike of Metallers, it’s a dislike of Hipsters.
This irks me.
1. It’s unnecessary labeling. Humans are far too complex to simply be pigeon-holed into fashion labels. I have tattoos, i wear glasses (i’m genuinely short sighted) and i’m prone to a bit of slanted woolly hat wearing. I’m sure many would take one look at me with a brew and dismiss me as being ‘Hipster’, without knowing anything about me.
2. Labeling to judge. The term Hipster is, more often than not, used in a derogatory manner. Not only is the labeling unnecessary, but quite often, so is the judgement itself. If you’re simply judging a book by it’s cover, or in this case, a person by the slant of their hat or the hole in their boots, then that says more about you.
3. Define Hipster. The term originates from the world of jazz back in the 1940’s and existed for those who listened to a certain style of jazz music right up to the 60’s. The term was revived and re-assigned in the early 90’s, affixed to those who were champions of the counter culture, who fought against mainstream thinking and popular culture. Now i’m not entirely sure this can be the case for the modern Hipster (although a brief internet search, suggests otherwise). Surely the scene can’t exist, by definition, as it did in the 90’s, just from how mainstream it has become. Any original (90’s) Hipster would’ve imploded as soon as the term became a part of our current popular culture.
4. Fashion. Everything is prone to becoming fashionable at some point. If it’s something one can latch onto then it’ll experience a boom. It’s all about peaks and troughs. Society has trends and people will gravitate to what’s current, and also, what’s counter current (for those that seek an alternative). 12 years ago it was metal, that was pushed out by the indie sounds of Bloc Party and Kasabian etc, and now the charts are dominated by One Direction and Pop music is, well, popular again. Popular culture and counter culture- fashions- allow people to learn what they like, what they don’t like and, ultimately, who they are. Some will continually move on, most will will stick with it in some way (let’s face it, when you’ve found a beer you really love, it’s hard to let it go), but hopefully all will have a more open mind because of it.
So that’s it. Rant over. Maybe i’m wrong, maybe i’m being naive, maybe i’m taking it a bit too personally. But if you see a girl supping a beer down the pub, with a slightly wonky woolly hat, grab a brew, pull up a pew and let’s get to know each-other.