Look up the word ‘hipster’ in the Urban Dictionary and you enter a whole world of pent-up frustration. My favourite being the perfectly succinct: ‘Someone who listens to bands you’ve never heard of, wears ironic tee-shirts, and believes they are better than you.’
This cultish group have honed self-deprecation to a near Zen-like art. Larry David, though, they are not.
For those of you that saw the now viral (not because it was infectious, it wasn’t, it was just plain bad) The Only Way Is Dalston would have been taken aback by the sheer absurdity of it all. As it eventually transpired, it was actually a self-made show by Vice Magazine. Yes, you read that correctly, Vice Magazine; the epitome of everything a hipster has come to represent.
Whether it’s just that they don’t like what they see in the mirror, whether it’s a form of jealousy, or even the fact that some loose form of social hierarchy based around a person’s aesthetics has been formed, it’s difficult to narrow it down. The East End has become a hotbed for the cynical, the ill-informed and the downright pretentious as much as it has for any real consistent stream of creativity.
It appears today’s ‘yoof’ have reached a plateau when it comes to what is socially accepted as ‘cool’ and this is best interlinked with a lack of any real cause to get behind.
My generation simply doesn’t have anything important to say, and if they do, it’s already been said and by people far more eloquent and intelligent than us. So, we’ve given up, resorting to hide in the shells of decades past.
The hurtling cultural shifts of the previous few decades have left ours still searching for an identity, and in the meantime, clutching onto the shreds of others. We are Generation Bland; and a bitter one at that.
The ’60s had the fight for racial equality and free love, the ’70s had punk and even the cringeworthingly titled ‘Generation X’ had grunge. Today’s generation prefers to look the part without actually being the part; a shortcut to success without the necessary ideas to back up the bravado.
Uniformed conformity is order of the hour. The façade for the sake of originality and social standing just isn’t cool man, and plus, it just all looks so bloody exhausting. Like Hyacinth Bucket gone rogue.
This is far from being some sort of rousing call to arms. I am merely, in the words of Marc Bolan, ‘talking about my generation’. We’re a bone idle bunch, but without the misdirected geniality of the ‘slackers’ of yesteryear.
Self-deprecation can be an endearing quality in a person that you know and love, but when you attach it to a whole social stratum, it takes on a much more contrived and sinister undertone. Then again, I own both a Barbour jacket and a pair of boat shoes, so perhaps I’m just as bad as the rest of them? Hypocrisy is thine name, and based on my choice of clothing, tending to sheep along on an exotic cruise is thy game… apparently.
Image by craigfinlay courtesy of Flickr