The Death of the Australian Hipster

Posted on Sep 26, 2013 in Word on the P Street

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Dear The Internet,

Goodnight, sweet hipsters; may flights of fixies sing thee to thy rest

Sure, summer is coming, but can you feel that chill in the air? If you concentrate, you can sense an unfamiliar coolness blowing through Brunswick, through Coburg, through the last enclaves of Collingwood. It’s a breeze as yet, but there’s a sense that a storm is coming.

It might be nothing but seasonal fluctuations, or migratory rental patterns gently pushing populations further out – like global warming forcing mountain goats to higher altitudes – but perhaps we are looking at the beginning of a mass extinction. It may not happen this season, it may not happen next, but I fear that we are witnessing the Death of the Australian Hipster.

While at a pertinent pub on the weekend I was shocked to notice the sudden upsurge in clean-shaven faces. Maybe 20% of the male clientele had checked shirts, and the number of dames in floral print dresses could be counted on one hand.

And sure, anecdote is not data: but there are some clear external signs that the species are on the wane. The Harvest Festival was cancelled last week due to slow ticket sales – meaning that people are inexplicably unwilling to drop money to see Neutral Milk Hotel. People are going nuts over the EDM content of Laneway rather than whining about the lack of white boys with guitars.

And sure, you might scoff and sneer and talk about how it’s a good thing that these poseurs are vanishing, but that’s because you haven’t thought this through. Sure, it means good times for manufacturers of bike gears, but almost every other industry will suffer.

Cafés will crumble as demand for double-Fair-Trade-shot soy lattes tanks. Small bars will languish, un-hung at. Short film festivals and artisan bakeries will fall like ninepins.

But most importantly, this means an upsurge in the related populations. Hipsters don’t vanish into dust, after all: they join related subcultures. And what subcultures most enthusiastically welcome educated middle class white people with a vague sense of entitlement?

That’s right. Hippies and yuppies.

Do we really want our streets filled with unwashed dudes with acoustic guitars jamming on the vibes, man, and/or bellowing into their phone about the cans on that chick they totally banged after racking a few up at Spice Market?

That’s not the inner north I want to live in. And I trust it’s not yours either.

So we need to create a more hipster-friendly environment. We need to create more community gardens, more experimental music venues, more grants for first-time screenwriters. We need to extend free wi-fi to every café between the Yarra and Reservoir. We need to subsidise boutique breweries to help lubricate social interactions and guarantee a new generation of hipsterlings.

Because once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

Until the next VCA intake, at any rate.

Yours ever,

APS