Friday, 15 March 2013

Hip hip foray! A closer look at hipster culture.

It's wonderful living in Vancouver because you get to travel back in time without going anywhere at all.  Everyone knows this city was built in the middle of a great big rainforest, but very few people understand that it's also built on a wrinkle in time.  

You don't believe me, do you? That's alright.  I'm all for the scientific method. Question everything. Ask for answers. Then  sit back and observe time rippling before your eyes. It's always the same: first the movement happens.  Then it's over.  Then the movie comes out, and then suddenly Vancouver is all over it. Remember the movie Premium Rush? The curtain closed on that one almost before it opened, and yet...
right here, right now, today there is a casting call out for Real Hipsters of Vancouver.                                                     
Georgia Straight
A conspiracy theorist might see it as a plot to employ the purposefully unemployed, but no.  Occam's Razor says what you see is what you get. Science likes to keep it simple stupid, or KISS, too.  No, there's no conspiracy here. Someone out there actually believes that this show is a good idea.  Isn't that cute?  

It will take a little bit of creative chutzpah and an ironic twist of fate, or two, to pull this off in the very same province whose government chose to spend taxpayers' dosh on adverts like this one, seen plastered all over public transit in 2012:

That's right.  They chose to target their transit-riding twenty-something electorate for ridicule, instead of doing a good turn and offering the film industry a few temporary tax concessions to stop the exodus of work to points East, despite a strong, grass-roots petition.  

 Isn't that ironic? 

Consider how well suited to the film industry gainfully unemployed hipsters can be...

The casting call is for hipsters who are following their dream instead of taking the predictable path, and it's even a paying gig, and so what do you know?  The hipsters are coming out in droves. It's nothing more than a casting call at this stage, but it's creating quite a buzz.  

Says Marsha Lederman of the Globe and Mail

“We’re looking for young people that have maybe chosen to follow a dream other than necessarily graduating from college and doing a 9-to-5 [job], people that are paving their own way, whether it be their art or music or anything that says a lot about our generation and how people are doing things like that independently and on their own,” says Irvin, who has acted since she was 10, with TV credits including SmallvilleVand Little Men.

Resurrected Bottecchia found on a downtown dumpster.

I found myself drifting off, staring at the wall, wondering what it is, exactly, which defines a hipster.  Relativity holds true in all things, and so the definition of a hipster depends largely upon who is defining it, right?  Irvin reluctantly admits that she is a hipster, and what do you know?  Her view of what defines a hipster stands in stark contrast to that of the Government of British Columbia.

All of which leads me to the obvious question:

Does anybody actually know what a hipster is?

Urban Dictionary says hipsterism is a state of mind,
and hipsters are typically in their twenties and thirties, though according to Irvin "the ageing hipster is an interesting  sub-category.'  The man argued that it must be so.  He figures hipsters have been around for at least ten years, and some people must have started out young and carried on...  

And then it dawned on me.

I thought of the man and his passion for re-building bicycles,

 all things retro

simpler things and simpler times, when people fixed things instead of tossing them out.

It was one of those moments. Ah Ha.
That's what happened to him.
 I mentioned something about living fossils, but he was non-plussed.  Of course.  That's the thing about hipsters.  They will never admit to being one.  They can't.

If you've put out a casting call for hipsters, this might pose an issue.

Technically, anyone who willingly puts themselves forth as a hipster is by definition NOT a hipster.  They are a scenester, which is not at all the same thing at all.  The Real Hipsters of Vancouver will never go out to a casting call.  The Real Hipsters don't see themselves as hipsters at all.

I was pondering this paradox as we rode home, when someone called out the man's name.  It was Rod Kirkham and friends, and again...
an Ah Ha moment.


Rod and his enormous circle of friends were hipsters waaaaaay before such a thing existed.
They rode bikes before it was cool, not because they had to, but because they loved to. Still do. For them, it's not counter-culture, it's their culture, it's who they are, and because of them, we have progressive city planners embracing the development of a healthy transportation alternative.

It's not contrived reality tv, it's reality.  I'd like to nominate them all as the Real Hipsters of Vancouver..


  1. Well except for the indie rock thing (wtf) I would be a hipster, except at my age I am actually a hippie on a bike. Oh, and I got an education and I do real work. so def not a hipster. phew.

  2. I am pretty certain that the best thing about that hipster definition screen cap is the girl on the right. Down blouse, FTW!

  3. Wasn't the term hippie a derivation of hipster in the 60's? I didn't think hipster was a new term, only that its definition was evolving. In any case, the point about authenticity and originality is key. Hopefully people are more concerned with these attributes than any label that others applying.

  4. ...back in the "...hippie days..." (hippie daze ???), in vancouver & only vancouver, there was a social phenomena subset that were referred to as 'hersheys'...

    ...bored white kids from wealthy to middle class families who were kinda searching for an identity but were afraid to commit to striking out on their own 'cuz those monthly checks from home would stop...

    ...for we hippies, they were sorta, kinda, parta our social circle because of the music scene at the old 'kits' theater & hanging out down by english bay beach but yet only on the fringes 'cuz they usually had nice places to go when it got cold n' dark while we were living by our wits & shacking up wherever possible...

    ...we hippie types tended to dress a bit flamboyantly & yet differently from each other but hersheys had like a uniform of two-tone saddle shoes, pea coats n' jeans, no facial hair & longish but well coiffed hair...

    ...never could tell 'em apart...they, much more than 'hippies' seem like the spiritual predecessors of the 'meh generation', the modern day 'hipsters'...commited to vacuousness...

    ...anyway...dunno if they survived to evolve or not as this ol' 'torono' area lad again hit both the road & california a second time, ending up in nor-cal by '67, never to return... your friend rod & his crew, babble, bikes seemed to one way or another be a part of my life before, during & much more so, after my "...on the road..." experiences...

    1. ...quick portrait...early winter of '66, a young but road hardened 17 year old canadian kid knicknamed 'provo', (like the dutch cyclists of that era) from northern ontario hangs with the locals down in laguna beach...

      ...jeans, black t-shirt, english bowler hat & if it had chilled down, an ol' army jacket with a huge peace sign & "...make love...not war..." painted on it, rides around on a hand-me-down ol' 'ten speed', hooking up with new found friends every evening to smoke mexican weed & watch the sun set out on that magnificent pacific ocean...

      ...after that, it was maybe off to a rock n' roll show or jamming way too many folks into somebody's beat up car & heading to the drive-in movies to laugh together in stoned perfection at whatever was on the screen...

      ...that canadian kid went back to hearth n' home for a short time, trying to pretend like that would ever do again but california had burned it's way into his heart in ways unimaginable...

      ...a year later, he was back where he belonged...

    2. "drive-in movies to laugh together in stoned perfection at whatever was on the screen..."

      Back in those same years I used to go to Marx Brothers Movies, at Summer Film Festivals, in stoned perfection and laugh so hard tears would roll down my cheeks. "Has anybody here seen Lydia, Lydia the tattooed lady...." Ah, those were the days....

  5. Salvador Dali rode a mini folding Bottecchia called a Graziella, I've seen the photographic proof.

    "Bad Idea Tee Shirts", indeed!!!!!