Hipster credentials, revoked
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m probably the antithesis of a hipster, or what currently passes for hipster these days. That’s the inevitable byproduct of growing older, I guess, and I’m so old that my definition of “hipster” goes back to guys like Cab Calloway, Slim Gaillard and Slam Stewart. But rather than be some butthurt old hippie about it, I think it might be better to remain open to whatever is forming and shaping the evolving hipster aesthetic. Well, mostly, except for this yacht rock obsession: Please kill me first if you’re going to foist Toto and Christopher Cross in my general direction. But if you kids really want to fall down a rabbit hole of stupid, feel free to chat me up about the blow-dried universe of smooth jazz.
So this evening I was hanging out with my pal Ian, whose late dad Nick the punk-rock guitarist and Ventures and Throbbing Gristle and Dennison’s Chili enthusiast was an old friend and icon, until he passed away in 1989, a few months before Ian was born. Me and the kid hunkered down in the corner of the patio at a midtown coffee joint, and I tried to force him to listen to “Happy Egotist” by Womb, arguably the shittiest rock record ever recorded, 17 minutes and 17 seconds of Manson Family retardation and mutant asshole rock about a car wreck, kind of like Rashomon for glue-sniffing Brady Bunch rejects.
The kid commandeered my laptop and pulled up some French zombie shit with a nice throbbing electronic beat that cracked a cold beer for my inner happy camper; the visuals were the sort of runway fash-fash glamwank that might get a drunken Lindsay Lohan jilling off furiously, except it had way more dudes in it than femmes so that would be a wash. Nice. (And, yeah, if this is way past its sell-by date fedora to some of you sneeros, no biggums; like I said, I’ve got zero hipster cred, so consider me your clueless grandpa rambling, much doo-wacka-doo about nothing.)
Next up was some nice glammy boys from, I think, San Diego. “I’m gonna get you fired up on this Three One G shit,” the kid says. I’m not utterly convinced; while the vid has some laugh out loud moments, like with a small dog — what my former father-in-law the chowchow enthusiast used to call an hors d’oeuvre — getting hammered repeatedly as it pops up (so sue me, PETA, for laughing), it’s also got the usual bunch of lads posing in rawk-star moves, which isn’t quite as novel if you lived through the ’70s and were into all that English homo-rock swill like I was, because, well, having done enough shitty drugs while listening to Sparks and Roxy Music at ear-bleed volume, and that was before the whole punk-rock thing turned up the intensity and incoherence turned me into a complete vegetable, and it’s just another rerun, albeit quite a cool one.
The kid pulled up a couple more videos, including one with a bunch of hipster mouths chewing on hipster hot dogs, and another one that, well, I forget. It’s all good fun, but like I said, I’m old, so even though I’m amused, I still gravitate to old videos with static visuals, or spinning 78s, accompanied by the music of Blind Blake, or maybe something with Mississippi John Hurt on some 1960s TV show, or Lightnin’ Sam Hopkins in a documentary. That’s what really feeds my heart these days.
Funny how your tastes change when you grow older, no? —Jackson Griffith