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'?
Now this is an expression much bandied about by my offspring and young colleagues so I decided to do my own research. I checked Wikipedia for the most recent definition which led with: 'The hipster subculture typically consists of white millennials living in urban areas.'
Two of three boxes ticked then: I am white, and up until six months ago I lived in relatively urban west London and I still get the train into Central London at least twice a week to spend time in uber-urban neighbourhoods like Kings Cross, Soho, Covent Garden and Hoxton. My kids are millennials so maybe I qualify by proxy.
Wikipedia continues to explain that the 'hipster subculture' has been described as 'a mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behaviour broadly associated with indie and alternative music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility (including vintage and thrift store-bought clothes), generally progressive political views, organic and artisanal foods, and alternative lifestyles.'
Many boxes ticked here! I have definitely 'mutated' having been married to my trans-Atlantian husband for 27 years. We are the epitome of a cultural and geographic melting pot - he is a Jewish Canadian musician, producer and academic and I am a high-days-and-holy-days Christian comedy producer, writer and performance coach.
We eschew fashion for our unique brand of eBay chic combined with occasional 'Primani' purchases and some of my wardrobe archive has now graduated as 'vintage' in its own right. If in any doubt about matters of style I defer to my personal stylist (23 year old daughter) who has banned the serial purchase of striped Brittany tops (not very successfully) and the colour beige (successfully). She also has first divs on my personal vintage collection.
In terms of subversive politics I radically didn't spend £3 to join the Labour Party preferring to position myself as a progressive socialist and I really admire the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Pretty rad eh?
Food wise is where I really mix it up - Morrisons is about as 'artisanal' as it gets when it comes to supermarkets (Ant and Dec have a lot to answer for...), and Aldi is a voyage of discovery and wonder. Not sure if going to a farmers market is considered 'alternative' enough these days so I am considering roadkill and foraging.
Where I score pretty high in the hipster stakes is the 'alternative lifestyle' - yeah, I rock this one! For a couple of 'baby boomers' as our generation is often described, my husband and I appear to have far more in common with new young radicals than our contemporaries. He lectures in popular music having played and produced it for 30 years and I gave up a lucrative PR career to pursue my passion for comedy. No time for that cruise down the Rhine this year...
It seems that we 'baby boomers' have much in common with today's hipsters. Born post World War II from mid 1940s and into the 1960s, unsurprisingly baby boomers considered themselves/ourselves as catalysts for social change having benefited from not living through wartime hardship. This era gave cultural birth to the 'teenager' with a range of privileges unknown to previous generations. We had the world at our feet.
Hipsters have survived political austerity and subsequently made thrift and vintage part of their whole shtick. Described as 'affluent or middle class young Bohemians who reside in gentrifying neighbourhoods,' hipsters are simply doing what baby boomers did 50 years ago - it's just a new take on the process of urban survival and renewal.
Despite my working class roots I identify as middle class by dint of education. I am a 'middle-aged maverick' which is similar to a 'young Bohemian', just older, and have recently moved to the up and coming gentrifying neighbourhood of Medway in Kent. If you don't agree with this, just watch...
Having done my research I wasn't sure that being a hipster amounted to much. Indeed Wikipedia records that the term is often used as 'a pejorative to describe someone who is pretentious, overly trendy or effete. Some analysts contend that the notion of the contemporary hipster is actually a myth created by marketing.'
Who'd have thought it eh? Baby boomers, Millennials, Generation X.... what next? Having spent over 25 years marketing other people's products in my previous career I know how seriously all this stuff is taken. We are put into convenient little boxes that give credence to the amounts of money spent on research and advertising when all that's really needed is a good dose of reality. I try not to define myself any more - so it's just a shame that the marketeers do. I had to take my birthday off Facebook because of adverts trying to sell me incontinence pads alongside my profile.
For what it's worth I am proud to be a 'hipster replacement' and maybe I will grow that beard after all...