Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hipster How-To

by MANTON (he is a total dude).

Let's face it: you are not hip enough. You're probably sick of walking into trendy clubs only to be ignored by everyone. Or worse, not even being allowed in. There's a whole scene of kids who are not fitting in, and you're not a part of it. Fear no more: with this exclusive guide to being hip, you too can be a trendy non-conformist!

Clothes. Start with the essentials. Every hipster's wardrobe needs:

Tight jeans, preferably a women's cut. Guys take note: the women's jeans are the ones which squish your testes and have little useless pockets.

Several T-shirts. They could be "ironic", which is a hipster code for "rubbish that no-one would willingly wear otherwise". Acceptable themes for these could be: obscure post-punk/no-wave/noise bands, Midwestern petrol stations or "Vote for Pedro". Acceptable colours are white, pink, neon-green, yellow.

A jacket. You could ask your parents to buy you a leather jacket. If they try to ruin your dreams of hipsterdom with their usual "maybe when you're not failing art school any more" talk, head straight to the thrift shop. Guys: buy the most old-man suit jacket you can find in your choice of grey, brown, chequered or tweed. Girls: buy something 1980s with shoulder-pads and large plastic buttons.

A hat. Guys, find a trilby that
does not match your jacket. I cannot stress this enough: if you co-ordinate your outfit, it ruins the whole effect. Girls: a floppy beret in your choice of colour, but again it must not match your jacket.

Shoes: if in doubt, Chuck Taylors go with anything, especially suits. If you want to take it to the next level, replace the laces with a non-standard colour.

Accessories & flair. You'll need something "retro" or "funky". Ironic (i.e.: completely rubbish) badges are a highly prized way of accessorising. Large sunglasses with plastic frames or spectacles with thick black frames. A messenger bag that was made before Nirvana became popular. Roll-yer-own cigarettes. A khaffiyeh, which is one of those "Palestinian scarves" - don't worry, no-one is going to mistake you for a politically-conscious student, it ain't 2001.

Your hair-cut can be some kind of mop-top, something with a fringe or generally anything bohemian. Guys also have the option of growing an "ironic" moustache or three-day stubble.

If you're having trouble, just get the latest issue of Vice, leaf through the fashion pages and find similar items in a thrift shop. You'll know when you found the right gear because it will look rubbish, but cost a lot more than anything else in the shop.

Now you got your wardrobe sorted - time to turn your attention to the rest of the room. Cover the walls with posters. Acceptable choices are: independent film posters, photocopied gig flyers from indie bands and "ironic" posters. Photographs are acceptable, but they absolutely must be either over-exposed, out-of-focus or cut off the subject at the head.

Now that we mentioned photographs, you need several cameras. They do not need to work, their mere presence in your room is enough. The most-prized hipster cameras are 35mm silver-body types with brown leather cases (or anything that uses film stock which is no longer made). Display these prominently.

Next, head down to the furniture store. You'r
e after kitschy furniture that was made between the time the Beatles started going really weird and Sonic Youth becoming widely known (i.e. roughly 1970-1989). If in doubt, ask yourself: "would Stanley Kubrick use this furniture for one of his sets?" You're after strange colour combinations, rounded shapes or polka-dots.

Generally, think of yourself as a human magpie. Collect various mismatched shiny, interesting, weird and "ironic" items. Toys from your childhood are good. Toys that were made before you were even born are better. If in doubt, turn to Vice and see what kind of weird crap they have in their weird crap section.

Now you look the part - congratulations, you're on your way of mixing with other hipsters! There are only a few simple rules to follow:

Never use plain language. Try to fit art-school jargon into any conversation, even if you're just going to the shops for bread and milk. Practice speaking like Derrida in front of a mirror. Slip words like "postmodern" and "deconstruction" into your conversations. Never use an English word when there's a French word that'll suit the purpose.

If you don't like anything, call it "boring". Examples of "boring" can include petrol prices, doing any kind of work, doing any kind of study and people who are not hipsters. Denounce modern art as "boring".

This brings us to the next point. Cultivate a
deep and abiding cynicism. Learn how and when to employ a sardonic smile and be all like "oh, that's very interesting" while stifling a yawn. In particular, direct your cynicism towards things that excite your peers. Stop liking bands as soon as they become popular. If it's not in you to be incredibly conceited and to just know that you're hipper than everyone else on the planet, then stop reading now.

Frequent indie bands' shows. You will know if a band
is really indie when there is an audience of hipsters standing around and looking in their shoes while swaying side-to-side in a zombie-like fashion with sardonic smiles on their faces. If the band sounds like Sonic Youth would have sounded about 20 years ago, you're right on the money. The band would either be one-two people with whole bunch of synths, or a alternative-rock four-piece. You will know band sucks when everyone is just standing around with the same sardonic smiles, but with their arms folded, looking straight at the performers and not swaying. The detail counts. Owning an electtic guitar is optional, but if so, it cannot be anything except an old Strat copy.

Go to every art gallery opening you can so you can, barely glance at the art and spend the evening schmoozing with other hipsters and drinking the free wine. M
ake sure you own at least one item of clothing with paint splatters, a few canvases and some half-squeezed tubes of oil paint. Most of your actual art should be either: stencils (overspray, underspray or runs are mandatory), collages/zines or photography (as described above) and definitely "ironic".

By all means avoid any kind of proletarian accoutrements, unless they are "ironic".

And never, ever actually
call yourself a hipster.

UPDATE: Google says this is a hipster. Redemption? No. Google is wrong.

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