The Good, The Bad, and The Hipster

Sitting in our second favourite coffee shop (second, because it’s my choice, darlings, and I so rarely get my own way when the Countess Penelope of Arcadia is in attendance), the Countess and I rolled our eyes as we were subjected to yet another Mumford, Lumineers and Sons song, which seems to be a requisite accompaniment to coffee these days.

“Helena,” Penny began, faking actual interest. It was a game we’d played before. “Which Mumford and Sons song is this?”

“All of them,” I replied deadpan.

“Doesn’t it make you want to smash a banjo over some random hipster’s head?” The Countess Penelope asked, channeling the homicidal spirit of Lizzie Borden with vicious glee.

“No,” I said, but if I admit the truth, then yes. Yes, it does. “But if you like, we can mess about a bit. Do you want to have some snobbish fun?”

Penny was always up for a bit of the old aristo snobbery, particularly if it was musical, and at the expense of hipster poseurs, or the like.  Teenage girls who’ve just “discovered” a new musical trend that has its roots firmly planted decades before were an obvious but irresistible target.

Now, I should note that, by the strictest of definitions, I myself could be considered a hipster. But ah, I recall a time before Al Gore’s insipid invention (we call it the Internet, darlings) when people had less access to information and knowledge, and yet, somehow had a sense of what came before, unlike the current generation of hipsters who, despite having the world quite literally at their fingertips, have the memory of goldfish, as evidenced by their lapping up of music or film or literature that is quite obviously (at least it’s obvious to me, darlings) derivative and regurgitated.

And so to ease my indignation by immaturely poking fun of those who know less than I (and really, darlings, the list is enormous) I approached the barista on the sly and asked him very sweetly if he wouldn’t mind playing a couple of songs from my iPod. After an unenthusiastic attempt at refusing my request, he relented and winked at me conspiratorially as he took my iPod from me and plugged in into the PA behind the bar.

I rejoined the Countess Penelope back at our table, where she’d positioned herself for maximum viewing and waited for the farce to begin.

I felt like a film director, or a puppeteer pulling strings on her creation, shaping them to her will. The scene played out like it was rehearsed, darlings, and I could scarcely contain my giddy amusement.

The first song on my Spirit of the West playlist came on, and as “And If Venice Is Sinking” reached the first chorus, two girls dressed in nothing but environmentally friendly earth tones approached the bar in that awkward, self-conscious way that only hipster girls are capable of, and asked if it was the new Mumford and Sons. One of the girls brushed her Deschanel-esque bangs off of her forehead, where they were resting on her lense-less

Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

glasses, and stared expectantly up into the face of the barista, awaiting his answer.

“Lumineers, actually,” the barista said slightly snarkily, scolding them. “Honestly, can’t you tell the difference?”

Penny nearly jumped out of her seat to correct the barista, but as I looked up and caught his eye and saw the trace of a smirk on his lips, I knew we’d found a kindred spirit (of the west, perhaps, but that was yet to be seen) in this quick-thinking coffee colporteur, and so I tugged Penny’s arm and bade her sit back down and told her to keep watching.

“Oh, right, of course,” said the other girl, who was wearing a toque despite the fact that it was 23°C (that’s 73°F, American darlings — warm for Toronto). “There’s like, totally a different vibe going on with the Lumineers than with Mumford.”

“Oh, totally,” agreed Hipster One. Hipster Two perused the CDs for sale on the bar, searching for the new Lumineers album. Finding it, she searched for the song that was ending, to be followed by a little number called “Home For A Rest“.

“Is it on here?” The toque-wearing hipster asked my new best friend, the Barista With No Name, who even looked (because I’m writing this and you can choose to believe it or not, darlings) a bit like a young Clint Eastwood.

The B.W.N.N. squinted at Hipster One and Hipster Two, judging just how wet behind the ears they were, then proceeded to tell them that the song they were listening to was not on the actual album, but was only available on 45.

I held my hand over my treacherous mouth to stifle my approaching peals of laughter. I saw the twinkle in the ice-blue eyes of the B.W.N.N. and knew that I had made a connection.

Hipster One looked at Hipster Two and a moment of awkward silence passed between them before the uselessly bespectacled hipster finally spoke.

“What’s a 45?”

I think I’m in love, darlings.


This is a sample chapter from Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, available in paperback HERE or as an e-book HERE.


15 responses to “The Good, The Bad, and The Hipster

  1. Now I not only have to brush up on my history (American and European—and now I’m thinking of the airspeed velocity of a swallow—) but on my musical taste. I suppose I’ll save my Mumford and Sons concert ticket stubs for twitter and instagram 😉

    • Darling, take anything I say with a grain of salt. It’s not M&S that I object to, it’s their rabid hipster fans who act like they invented that sound. (Sorry, love, the truth is, when it comes to musical snobbery, I can be a bit of a couche-tard). I liken it to people who were absolutely blown away by the film Inception (which is a good film, don’t get me wrong) as if they’d never seen The Matrix (which they clearly hadn’t). Sigh… it’s one of the perils of getting older… take my advice, darling, and never (underscored, bold, italics, in parenthesis) get older. It sucks.

      P.S. – would that be African or European swallows?

      • Well in that case, I will continue to listen to M&S and particularly Babel…although I admit when I listen to several of the songs I think… “which one is this, again?”
        I dearly wish I could have been a fly on the wall (or an intruder at your table) during hacking off hipsters, I agree with all assumptions presented. Speaking of which…I have the entire matrix series on DVD that I have only seen in bits and pieces (Keanu Reeves…I just…can’t quite. Perhaps after a few vodka grapefruits)

        I dont kno—-AGHHHHHHH

    • Alas, my love, we are in different time zones. But if there’s ever a central point between Houston, Toronto and the Midlands, you, me and Hannah should find it and do some serious people watching over a big pitcher of White Sangria. (about a zillion types of alcohol and an itty bitty mix of citrus). Unfortunately, I think any way you cut the pie, the midway point is somewhere in northern Quebec, and nobody wants to go there.

      • Fackin’ geography, and such. I am going to be in New York in Sep/Oct but as I understand it, that’s still pretty damn far from Toronto. Will just have to keep tootling away on that teleporter.

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