The Hipster is dead…long live the Hipster!

hipsterIt is with a heavy heart that I have to give you some sad news. At 14.27 today it was announced that the culture known as “hipster” had passed on. As the shock wave resonated the length and breadth of Hackney, tattooists and beard-groomers were preparing themselves for a financially difficult time to come. Not that anyone would ever actually admit to having been part of the scene but we all know whom I am talking about here. And if you don’t here is a quick checklist. Is your music taste much cooler than those around you? Is your haircut so complex that even Freud would have trouble unravelling it? Was your beard last seen playing keyboards for The Band? Are your glasses intentionally too big for you? Have you ever drunk triple shot espresso out of a jam jar? Have you ever been mistaken for the bassist in a post-hardcore, math rock outfit?

 

If the answer to any of these is yes, then it is very likely that you are the hipster of your social group. But you knew that, right?  Still everything is cyclical so don’t throw those Parquet Court albums out just yet. Take that pork pie hat that you picked up in Sue Ryder. You initially wore it to indicate that you were an outsider, a break with conservative fashion. Then a few people pick up on the idea and you are seen as a trendsetter, the hat a cachet of cool. Next thing you know it is mainstream and everyone cool is wearing one but fashion is a fickle mistress so soon it loses its popularity. After a while, because of its lack of popularity it becomes ironic, the jokey status eventually passes into nostalgia and after a while it is seen as a conservative and sensible fashion statement, and so we have gone full circle.

 

Then again, maybe hipster isn’t dead…it just needs a new hat, if you know what I mean.

Linking Inkings – 31st July ’14

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writingMainly local music related articles this week, but I will put them up anyway. These are the items that have contributed to this weeks income.

Sounds Around Town  (local music gig guide in The Swindon Advertiser)

Rust –  Luke De-Sciscio (DAA album review re-printed in The Swindon Advertiser)

A Chat With The Festival Co-Founder (interview with Rich Craven in The Swindon Advertiser)

Time to Shuffle Off (festival overview from The Swindon Advertiser)

 

Wake up and smell the… double shot Latte Machiatto with a cinnamon dusting!

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writer-author-man-laptop-cafeI was forwarded a great article today which seems to sum up where I currently am with work. If you want to read it you can find it HERE or here is the opening paragraph by way of explanation.

I cringe everytime I read a story about a person who starts their day at 4am, after surviving on only 5 hours sleep, to get up and start yet another highly productive day. They’ve written their first client brief before their ‘all greens’ smoothie and done a mini-triathlon by 7am.

After a quick shower, they ride 10kms to their work and ‘start’ their day by reading all their newspapers in an allocated 30 minute slot. Then it’s the team meet up before a full one day of meetings, workshops, team time outs and a session at the gym topped off with a protein shake. It goes on. You get the drift.

By the time I also learn they have their two, five and ten year plan mapped out, I am weeping.

We have been led to assume that the only way to be “successful” is to approach life as if it is a cross between a military campaign and an endurance race, but I have recently found a much more content way to get by that I never realised you were allowed to follow. I got out of the 9 to 5 a year ago…although in my case it was an 8 to 5 with the often enforced option of doing a couple of extra hours if required. I liked my job, most of the time, but by the time came that fate had played a hand that enabled mer to rethink the structure of my life, I had had enough of that sort of work structure in general. I instead sunk my efforts into tying together all the small sideline incomes or at least potential incomes that I had been playing with alongside the main job, music promotion, journalism and setting up a record label.

Okay, my overheads are a lot lower than they were but with a bit of careful budgeting and maybe the occasional part time job to top up the reserves, it might just work. I put the hours in, don’t get me wrong,  just because you are not running at life like a psychotic speed freak, doesn’t mean that you are lazy. The difference is, now if I want to be lazy, I don’t feel guilty about fitting that into the schedule. My main desk is in a back bedroom office over looking a small courtyard back garden and I can be home for lunch in 14.8 seconds. My business meetings take place in music venues with a beer and a laptop, or a coffee bar with a frappe-latte-caffe-mocca-choca-chino…or what ever.

Work starts after a leisurely breakfast around 9.00 though this varies according to a whole set of circumstances and if inspiration is missing I can always relocate to a tapas bar or caffe. On the up side is the working day can drift on until midnight but to be honest the evening shift probably has as many breaks for things such as Only Connect or a chapter of whatever I’m reading, a late supper or total abandonment in favour of a film.

So the money isn’t great, but it doesn’t have to be. I have security, freedom, total control and more importantly I’m doing something I love.

I think what it comes down to is trying to design a life that suits you, not just one that ticks the most boxes. I think you can get so used to trying to tick as many boxes as possible you lose sight of the fact that maybe it isn’t the amount you draw a line through, it is making sure that you cross off the ones that matter to you.

Right, off for a “environment re-alignment motivational session” or to put it another way, I’m bored with the office now so I will relocate to a coffee shop for a change of scenery and a decent coffee. It’s amazing what effect a change of environment can have on the creative juices, but mainly because I’m out of coffee.

I came to Bury St. Edmunds, not to praise him!

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elylanguages_1892125cIt’s odd what you hear when you are just casually meandering around the bookshops and charity outlets of your home patch. Today as I went into W H Smiths to pick up my regular musical research publications, a copy of Shindig and NME (just in case their staff have learned to write again…you never know!) and as I am browsing the music section a group of young girls, no more than 15 or 16 wandered past and were heard to use the expression “well, in our day….” You are teenagers for god sake, it is your day. Blimey nostalgia is starting young these days.

Similarly mirthsome was the attitude of the lady working behind the counter of The Oxfam shop where I regularly browse for bargain books, well who can afford to shop in Waterstones any more? Her frustration with the customer who was having trouble identifying the correct coinage, a woman seemingly of  south-east European origin, seemed extremely ironic given that Oxfam itself came into existence to help provide famine relief and aid for Greece suffering the twin burdens of occupation by Axis powers and blockade and bombing by Allied forces during the second world war.

But on the up side I did find a brand new copy of The Fry Chronicles, the second part of the autobiography of our illustrious national treasure, Stephen. The title of this post is a quote from that very book, itself a play on a line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The clever sod.

Linking Inkings – 24th July ’14

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writingBit of a quieter week on the writing front, but here are the few articles that have  helped pay the bills.

Sounds Around Town –  (Swindon Advertiser gig guide)

Rust – Luke De-Sciscio  – ( Dancing About Architecture music review)

Not Meant For This World – Tim Kuhnert ( Dancing About Architecture music review)

In the virtual footsteps of Savage Pilgrims.

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21E9STHN0SL._I have found a interesting concept to accompany some of the books I read, especially those about travel or based on fixed locations. Virtual tourism. I have been reading Henry Shukman’s excellent Savage Pilgrims on the Road to Santa Fe, an account of his travels in New Mexico, an odyssey of a young man chasing his dreams and fleeing his own personal demons in the footsteps of D H Lawrence, an odd parallel with the last book that I read, Julian Cope’s One Three One, which also takes place partially in the footsteps of the same author.

Whilst relaying a series of magical and bizarre encounters, a flying priest, amiable cowboys and lonesome cowgirls, pueblo-dwelling hippie artists and bar room philosophers, it is the descriptions of the countryside that really stand out. Especially when he bases himself in the mountain town of Taos. His renderings of the look and physical feel of this town that mixes high alpine altitude with arid desert geography and particularly the way that it’s greenery reminded him often of his childhood in England, had me hankering for a view of the place, sometimes the words were just not enough. So Google Earth it is then.

It was fascinating to virtually walk through the town, down Kit Carson Road to the central plaza, look at the names of the shops and catch candid glimpses of people randomly caught on film from the mapping process. It is not anything like I imagined it to be. Greener for a start and between the telling pueblo architecture I could see what he meant when reminiscing about the country of his birth.

Why not try it, zoom in to street level and wander the settings of your favourite books. I have recently wandered the East London streets of Danny Baker’s biography, wandered the bridges of St Petersburg I encountered in Fading Red Light and even hovered over the tea shops and back streets of Lahore, the setting for The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Until I have the money to visit these places properly, virtual tourism is an interesting way of seeing the places featured in some of your favourite books.

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