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Rex Pester Headshot

Why Hipsters Are Right And Everyone Else Is Wrong

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Hipster hatred is a bizarre phenomenon.

A hipster hater sees an environmentally conscious individual who enjoys fine art and supports independent businesses and they feel nothing but vitriol. They see a healthy youngster who recycles bikes, clothing and philosophical opinions and they wish death upon them. A hipster hater will go to the end of rhetoric as we know it simply to decry a sociable creature who is aware of the nature (and timeframe) of popularity.

Let me take a moment to clarify. I am not a hipster, I miss the mark on several key points: I'm too awkward to be socially active, I'm too stingy to spend money on music or independent coffee shops, I hate bikes and I adore 90/00's pop music but I can't help but think I might see where they're coming from.

I think it's growing up middle class under New Labour; we were pounded with the idea that we all have a contribution to make to the world and that life takes its toll. Up until a couple years ago, I did genuinely feel like there could be a chance I could do something amazing, that there was some part of my life that could be remarkable and I wouldn't be only remembered in the obituaries as "Rex Pester, once bought champagne from Marks & Spencer" (still yet to happen, but a man can dream). I'm now mostly resigned to it, but there are still pangs of wonder... will this article be a Pulitzer winner? It is this feeling that has spurned on the culture of hipsterdom, the idea that you can be something special, so logically you should try to be something special but inevitably when you have nothing special to give, you either give up or decide that subverting norms, in any way no matter how contrived, is special.

In that case, fine - they're tools, I get that. But the one underlying philosophy is strong and it is correct: "too mainstream" IS a legitimate complaint.

It's going to become blindingly obvious that I'm a hopeless romantic but I don't care. I'm too stupid for theatre, too vapid for art and I don't believe I can read, but music is something else. A good album can tell you a disgraceful amount about an artist, not even the lyrics but the whole package, when you find a truly incredible album you feel like you're sharing a moment with the person who has recorded it, and yes I feel like vomiting for typing that sentence.

Now let's consider that analogy. Let's say you've shared a moment with the artist, you had a chat - talked about your pets and your hobbies and planned to meet for a coffee on the next album (if it's the second album, it'll likely be a coffee without a heat sleeve bought from the West Cornwall Pasty Company in Paddington station, whilst the artist punches you in the face, takes your money and laughs at you). How about then, from that meeting you find out the artist has not only met up with millions of other people that day, but said the SAME THINGS to every one of them including you but then furthermore, people are quoting your conversation on Facebook, people who normally talk with people like Jason DerĂ¼lo or Skrillex. (... I'll leave my violent Skrillex hatred for another article.)

Could you talk with someone like that again? What's the point? I know its a convoluted analogy but it can't be entirely discounted - music is something that is inherently personal and it distresses me to think that it's just my brains kicking out endorphins because through some weird evolutionary quirk. A human brain sees a snare hitting on 168bpm as equivalent to an - admittedly homeopathic - injection of heroin. Now, it's unquestionably stupid to let the popularity of an artist change your opinion - massive albums are normally massive for a reason and if one was to completely discount pop music they would live a very sad existence indeed.

But when it's probably true that 1/10 babies will have been conceived while Justin Timberlake plays (40% of these are from Lovestoned), that you could build the bikes in This Charming Man out of the iron-oxide in tattoo ink which has been used to write lyrics from it on mid-life crisising fathers, and that the average person has listened to 21 seconds to go for at least 22 seconds of their life, the offending artists lose something crucial. So carry on wearing low V-necks, Horace, you've got my backing. But perhaps a shower?