Rising East’s new columnist pops up with a partial defence of the Hipster.
Welcome to the pioneering instalment of The Hackney Miscarriage. It was going to be printed in re-purposed cargo containers on sheets of fair trade papyrus. But after numerous focus groups, i.e. as many coffees and beers, the Miscarriage realised that taking the piss out of hipster culture isn’t as funny as it used to be. Besides, putting it online is cheaper, and easily offended adults can block us using the Prime Minister’s child filter, so being hosted on Rising East is a win-win for us.
Yes, it’s with great sadness we report that the age of irony is dead. Where there is nowhere near enough accommodation to go round, there can be no room for ironic detachment – especially not in Hackney, where properties are too few for the working class and too expensive for the likes of us. The reverse psychology that drove every exposed-masonry, vintage clothes café has become the accepted reality; not unlike how internet acronyms crept up on everyday speech through ironical use, a phenomenon which has us lol-ing along woefully.
In a part of the world where every other shop is a direct contradiction of the one next door, irony is everywhere and therefore nowhere. Dropped stone dead (stone bread?) by its own prolific success.
Thus Hackney’s traditional Percy Ingle bakeries sit uneasily along side trendy coffee shops selling ‘home made’ polenta bread (either their staff live in the kitchen or they’re outright liars). Organic stores with absurdly priced avocados pit themselves against Turkish-owned grocers who set up shop a few years before. Maybe the really ironic thing is to buy your bread only from Percy and your apples from the Turks? Or maybe it isn’t? Maybe making any distinction at all, makes you a hipster? Maybe you should just buy your apples, go home and write sentences with question marks at the end even when they are not needed? Nobody in Hackney, thank Christ, seems to care anymore. At least none of the people we’ve spoken to.
Concerns about who’s a hipster and who isn’t, were always just middle class defence mechanisms designed to disassociate the trendy twenty something speaker from all the other trendy twenty somethings supposedly ‘ruining’ the area. Of course we’ve all been there.
Waiting for a bus in Stamford Hill, you roll your eyes at the guy with the big bushy beard, black hat, long black coat and curly sideburns down to his jaw. ‘Fucking hipster,’ you mutter. You have to restrain yourself from going up and telling him how you hate him and everyone like him. And then you realise you had better not; for fear of being counted as part of the rising tide of anti-Semitic hate crime.
Surely the heartland of London trendiness must now see past (or directly through?) those lens-less frames and realise that behind the eyes of the hipster is someone like you and me.
Let’s face it, if you’re middle class and you recently moved here, there’s no point shirking your collective responsibility for ruining Hackney for the better. The bookies and cash for gold shops that once thrived in parts of the borough are being driven out by soulless charity knit shops and heartless pop ups. Yippee!
You may have in mind the two bastards who had the gall to open up a cereal café in the East End, knowing old-style Hackneyites are far too thrifty to pay £3.50 for a bowl of corn flakes; also knowing that there are enough new-style residents to make it a going concern.
But we dare you to say that the old Hackney really was better than how it is now – and if you do, we just know you never went there.
It is this ironic-less Hackney that the Miscarriage intends to feed off, just as the new middle class has fed off a once ignored and impoverished borough; like a leech or a vampire, or some other blood sucking creature which is, don’t forget, an integral part of the eco-system.
We are not going to condemn you for preferring flat white over a cup of builder’s or sergeant-major’s, or having a yoga class in what once was a community centre – that’s old hat. We want to embrace it. You’re as much part of the community as pie and mash, only far easier to come by nowadays. Besides, to alienate all the literate people of Hackney would not be good for the long-term prospects of the Miscarriage.
See you down Mare Street – we’ll be wearing a……….