Off the Road | How The Hipster Finally Claimed Dublin
The sky is a brilliant blue and the sunlight beats down along the smooth canal. Speakers’ blast music, pearly smoke rises, and cans of Prazsky bob along the inky-blue water. The people enjoying cans and rollies are a colourful group from their 20s to 30s with their converses, or low cut Doc Marten’s dangling above the canal. They are sub-culture whose invasion has been among us for some time, but only recently has it become dangerously prevalent. It is now evident that the Hipster are taking Dublin over.
The hipster in question are not the kind from Jack Kerouac zeitgeist, which he described as ‘[subterranean] heroes who’d finally turned from the “freedom” machine of the West and were taking drugs, digging bop, having flashes of insight, experiencing the “derangement of the senses,” talking strange, being poor and glad, prophesying a new style for American culture, a new style (we thought), a new incantation.’
The hipster that roam and multiply along South William Street, while resembling their American forefathers are also radically derivative. They do still talk strange and tend to dip into the occasional drug usage, although they are far from being poor, far from prophesying new style, and far from breaking away from the machine of the west. The hipster aesthetic isn’t one for the poor. It ain’t cheap being a hipster. You got to keep up with online designer brands ‘drops’ that sell out within an hour. You got to make sure you’re paying for overpriced craft beers. You got to get to latest new restaurant.
Man it’s a hard life.
The hipster style is now just another style however, it likes to perceive itself as being wholly unique. The hipster is far from breaking away from the west. Rather they encapsulate many aspects of the western world; from their rampant consumerism to their emphasis on individualism. The hipsters invading Dublin are not the radical hipster of the Kerouac’s 1950’s even if they talk like a yank.
The question now is how we identify Hipsters. This is our toughest task, as the hipster has become something almost self-apparent yet difficult to define. Typically they are attributed as being ostentatiously fashionable characters; with their colourful beanies or caps to their corduroys pants to dungarees, to their shirts, they bought in either a vintage shop or charity shop (what’s the difference). They often wear thickly framed glasses or transparent ones, and they may not even require glasses at all, this is referred to as ‘Hipster-vision’. The males often have moustaches although they seem to be moving away from this style as of late, but be warned that they may be what they want you to think. If you see an old film camera dangling from their neck combined with the clothes described above they are likely a hipster. Another object that indicates a hipster is a vinyl record, now these ancient music relics have been revived by the hipsters and audiophiles.
Nonetheless, even with the outline of these objects and clothing, the true indicator of the hipster is difficult to articulate. Although, a trick I often use to identify a hipster comes from two wise men from Limerick whose scholarship on the hipster I deeply respect. The Rubberbandits elegant posited ‘Are you a hipster or a hobo?’ I believe that if this statement is in use then hence one can conclude that the subject in question is, in fact, a hipster.
These hipsters are sacking the city of Dublin and it’s gone unnoticed for too long. Areas like Stoneybatter, Portobello, Rathmines, Smithfield, Phibsorough have the highest density of hip inhabitants. These areas are in the critical hipster overload. With the increased in speciality coffee shops, craft beer only bars, hipster-styled wine bars, restaurants that are either are completely vegan or constructed entirely from meat. The interior and exterior of these shops are remarkably similar. Often a minimalistic storefront that is just one block of colour and then the shop name on the top right corner. The chairs and tables are typically come in a range of forms from the rustic style looking like they were acquired through several quests of skip picking or slick cleaned plastic chairs varying in colours or the deranged usage of wooden step ladders as chairs. The lights are for some obscure reason always dangling from the rooftop or surrounded by a copper frame. The staff appear far too happy to be working in customer service. I heed the warning to be suspicious of them. No one should be that joyful as they serve you food, it just not natural.
The fact that it is no longer merely people labelled as a hipster but a business indicates that the hipster has transcended into a business entity.
So, next time you walk the misty streets of Dublin be warned that there may be a hipster lurking, with their fixies or their film cameras or there new urban outfitters tracksuits — waiting eagerly to take over your local area as a means of erecting a speciality coffee house — that’s always the beginning — and remember this is just the beginning of the hipsters as a business entity. Unbearable in their human form, in this evolved state they may be invincible.