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Hipsters: How not to live your life

Mon, 07 Feb 2011

I have to start this piece by stating that I'm not from London. I may work here but I grew up in a remote North Western market town where people were (rightly) suspicious of anything or anybody new.

Back to London. There's a massive two wheeled thing happening at the moment. Hipsters. He's a middle aged, slightly-paunched mid-life crisis looking for somewhere to happen. Maybe late twenties, early forties, he wears slightly too much stubble or comically sculpted sideburns or goatee, is brand obsessed and considers the aesthetics of anything before its practical capabilities.

When he's cycling, he prefers a fixie (yes, no freewheel hub mechanism). These primitive, impractical devices can be seen wobbling around at most red traffic lights in London while their owners' retro-logo satchels momentarily unbalance them.

Sadly, the manufactured urban hipster has recently discovered motorcycling. Metal flake open face helmets with no type approval are de rigeur. Artificially aged leather jackets (or worse still - Belstaff) and Converse Allstars are prevalent. There has been an explosion of useless blog sites where people with no knowledge (or depth of understanding) ponder nothing but the shallow aesthetic of metal flake paint or retro STP patches.

The favoured bike? The most rubbish thing you can think of. Early Yamaha four-stroke twins (XS400, yum, yum) Yamaha SR500s and proper rotters like the dreadful CB500T Hondas. I don't get it. Don't these people realise that there is no irony in what they're doing? I mean, if it was deliberately well humoured it would all be forgivable.

The irony? In their quest to stand out they all end up looking the same. It's also a nice example of how the more effort that's put into being 'cool' has a directly proportional, inverse effect.

That's why I love this animation - it cuts straight to the chase. It may be aimed at American Hipsters but the satirical currency is the same...

By mark forsyth

See also: Ultimate Trackbike 4: Hizzy's 2003 BSB R1, Richard's '88 Tenere resto project, No snow here folks!.