Friday, August 5, 2011

Vancouver hipsters

The other day I was cycling down Main Street on my 18-speed racing bike, which has brakes. (See? I'm uncool, or however you say that nowadays). I passed a hipster on his bike, one of these single-speed, five-spoke-wheeled, impeccably colour-coordinated affairs. The guy had the tight pants, underwear showing, full beard, T-shirt with band logo, mid-'80s glasses, etc.

We were both headed for the liquor store, me for my daily bottle of Jack Daniel's, hipster for his twelve-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. I bought my bottle, stepped outside, sat down outside McDonald's, and took a massive swig. Suddenly 10:00 AM felt good. Hipster emerged, un U-locked his "whip," stuffed his U-lock into his tight pants pocket, and rode off. I wondered how he was going to skid-stop his fixie with a case of beer under one arm.

At this point I thought of a conversation a friend had with her bike mechanic:
Sheena: How do hipsters stop if their bikes have no brakes?
Mechanic: They don't-- they just keep on being hipsters

Then I realised, he wasn't riding a fixie-- it was a single-speed bike with f+b brakes. I went home and on a whim googled the band name on the guy's T-shirt. (I am always on the make for cool bands to download and then not listen to). The band in question was, it seems, an alt-music (whatever that is) parody act.

So...let me get this straight. He rides something that looks like a fixie, but isn't. He buys PBR-- the cheapest of American beers-- which isn't the cheapest of Canadian cheap beers (that honour, at least at my local liquor store, goes to Cariboo). He dresses hipster, presumably to show how cool he is (or is not, which of course is even cooler). The guy, I thought, is like a copy of a hipster, signalling membership in the tribe via proper purchases.

Then I thought about his T-shirt, and got lost in the many levels of irony involved in advertising your love of a band that made fun of you...and realised, OK, this is meta-hipsterdom. I am no longer smart enough to figure out-- or to even determine whether or not it is WORTH figuring out-- whether or not this is real hipsterdom, or a copy, or a lame imitation, or majorly meta. Hipsters, you win.

1 comment:

  1. Was he satirizing the hipster or trying to be one? Endeavoring to live the life or taking the piss? Those are important questions when assessing whether or not to relentlessly make fun of him or... Na... It doesn't matter. Mock him till he weeps.