In the last few weeks I've been to Hoxton, at least twice, bought trainers and a lightweight high-performance puffa jacket, adjudicated two short film awards and harvested enough menopausal facial hair to constitute the makings of a fine beard. Do I qualify as a 'hipster'? In fact, what is a 'hipster'?
Gentrification is not simply about gimmicky shops and cafes. It's about anger at being excluded on grounds of wealth. It's about the people being forced to move and the ones valiantly trying to stay put despite the pressure to leave. It's about the inclusive social and communal spaces that have gone, not the exclusive ones that have sprung up.
Yes, I'm speaking out in public - although mainly because I'm too chicken to turn to my side and actually tell the three hipsters on my right to shut up, and enquiring whether they think the 'quiet please' signs have a hidden clause stating "unless you're wearing a beanie and trousers which finish mid-shin".
Personal experiences of hipsters are a far cry from Williamsburg, New York but instead it was like watching pockets of East London being swallowed up by a swarm of skinny jean wearing, flat white drinking locusts. As preened men were dubbed "Metrosexuals" and "scallies" evolved into "Chavs"; in my circle "Indie" became "Hipster".
With their vintage threads, vinyl records and penchant for independent coffee shops, hipsters are well known for their discerning tastes. But thanks to the global popularity of this exclusive subculture, hipsters no longer need to settle for a mainstream chain - they can now unpack their skinny jeans in the boutique hotel of their dreams.
Hipsters know what's 'hip', 'trendy', 'radical' (they'd avoid that word). How they do this depends on your level of skepticism towards the hipster. They are either attuned to the cosmic waves of human awareness, surfers of the collective consciousness, simultaneously drawn to the same games at the same time, or they read the same websites.