M y name is Ashley, and I’m at risk of becoming a hipster.
I’ve been accused of being a hipster, though never with any real conviction. Mostly, I think the accusers want to get a rise out of me (Have you ever seen me wear a fake mustache? Have I ever put a bird on anything? NOPE.) Besides that, I’m not sure I understand why this is even an insult or why we hate hipsters so much. They’re mostly harmless.
But the label will one day stick to me with the adhesive strength of truth. I will be a middle-aged hipster.
You, rad readers, could also be at risk.
One of the universally agreed-upon characteristics of a hipster is a taste for music “you’ve probably never heard of.” I’d argue that there’s no problem with that, as long as you’re not acting all superior about it.
This reasoning is probably an early symptom of hipsterhood.
And wait. I just realized I’m writing this while wearing a Kanine Records T-shirt. That’s a Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based indie record label you’ve probably never heard of. Uh oh.
I don’t consider my music collection to be obscure. True, there’s a lot of underground and indie stuff the average listener might not have heard of, but it all reaches a large enough audience. These bands do tour and sell records. There’s a decent chance you’ve heard of them. They haven’t disappeared into obscure history — yet.
(Another abrupt pre-hipster realization: I’m listening to White Rabbits and G-chatting with someone about Bon Iver. In the aforementioned T-shirt.)
The key word is “yet.” By the time I’m in my forties, I’ll still be listening to and referencing bands like Grizzly Bear. They’re popular for an indie rock band, now, and they make stunning music, but mentioning Grizzly Bear 20 years from now will probably be on par with James Murphy’s name-dropping in the aging hipster anxiety-fest “Losing My Edge” — “Human League, the Normal, Lou Reed, Scott Walker, Monks…”
But when the references are dated, then we all have to fret about hipsters vs. has-been hipsters.
I don’t mean to insult Grizzly Bear, because they’re fantastic, but will most people know their music in 2032? For that matter, what about other indie success stories?
I’m starting to wonder if I’m already a hipster. Does sticking moments of self-awareness in parentheses make me a hipster? Am I having an existential crisis? Is thinking you’re having an existential crisis a hipster thing? Why do we even care if we’re hipsters? Would James Murphy even think I’m cool?
Sweet Pavement, I need a drink. Someone get me a PBR.
Now be a good hipster and follow Ashley Dean on Twitter: @AshaleyJill.