So many things that I do are now considered ‘hipster’, that I may appear – at first glance? If looking at a selection of my possessions? – to be one myself. I’m not really sure when this happened. I have been in academia or in a different country for the past few years (arguments for academia being a foreign country accepted here). At the time I wasn’t really part of any urban tribes if you didn’t count ‘sporty foreigners with awesome artistic/sporty/funny/gay/Colombian/Jamaican friends’. It was just me and Nemi, and then Nemi moved in with the Defence Attaché so it was just me and my balcony and my eclectic collection of awesome artistic/sporty/funny/gay/Colombian/Jamaican friends.
Then I was catapulted into Hackney. Home of hipsterdom.
Fast forward to today:
On a rainy London Sunday I am sat in a cafe in East London drinking a soya Mocha from a tiny glass teacup. My hands are sore from packing all my belongings, dismantling bikes (for transport), ironing (hardcore ironing of EVERYTHING! I want to arrive and feel fully prepared to enjoy my new home, not surrounded by a mess of crumpled bedding and dusty dishes).
In this lovely cafe (I’m not really sure what the name is), I am surrounded by ironically worn wooly hats, each one at a slightly jaunty angle, and surely not needed inside. Mac laptops, and oversized headphones, most of which are linked to a microphone, are connected to each user at their individual tables.
The till is an iPad linked to a little card reader that uses an app to pay by card. They probably accept bitcoins.
I’m sat on a hard, white-painted wooden bench beneath absolutely terrible paintings, complete with glued on shells and stones, flanked by unfinished chipboard coffee tables. Knowingly pretentious in their attempted, and homogenous simplicity.
All packaging is brown paper bags. Wherever it appears, the word ‘normal’ is bookended by quotation marks.
There is a pink rubber Virgin Mary statue alongside a Chinese cat, arm bobbing up and down ad infinitum.
Lots of untied boots, all stars trainers, skinny jeans, dark rimmed glasses and high waists. My own all stars and their laces are drying in the kitchen. After all, I want to arrive at my new home with clean shoes too. That is ‘normal’ right?
I really enjoy it here, alone with my thoughts, and have whiled away my time writing postcards to Canada (in the mail mum!) and reading Red Notice by Bill Browder. But I’m not fitting in. If someone came in and was asked to pick the odd one out, it would definitely be me (unless someone else came in wearing a suit between now and this hypothetical choosing).
I drink soy milk, avoid processed foods, don’t eat meat, recycle, use Eco/natural products where I can, have a Fixie that I ride to work each day (and have colour coordinated with helmet, pedals, lights and grips). I like vintage when it blends with the rest of my style or environment. I like simple lines at times, and opulence at others.
I love colour! Sometimes I like being fabulous, other times just want to wear yoga pants and a hoodie or a checkered shirt and down gilet (like right now).
So food politics, quirkiness, a penchant for fixies, and enjoyment of that which is not mainstream aside, I don’t think I would ever be accepted by my fellow Hackney dwellers. I think hipster girls are hot but intimidating. They probably think that I am weird.
However, I am open to befriending one from the safety of my soon-to-be distant vantage point of South London Yuppidom.
NB. When I left the cafe I stood in the rain scrutinising the exterior until I was a bit too wet and I still don’t know what it is called.