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Urgently needing a hipster replacement

By Paul Ainsworth

I can’t be the only one who has noticed a disturbing rise in an urban menace that is plaguing the streets of South Belfast, particularly around our picturesque university area. Regular readers of this column will know I have little tolerance for the spide contingent, who eyeball me threateningly from underneath their ruler-straight gelled fringes as I walk past, or who pester me for a “feg” and address me as “here mister”.

But give me a city full of barcode moustaches any day compared to the growing numbers of ‘hipsters’ who swan about, from Stranmillis to Shaftesbury Square, with a look of what they assume is uber-detached cool, but what is actually undeserved arrogance.

Spot these colourful, middle-class creatures by sight and take the time – really take the time – to study their questionable attitudes to fashion, and I guarantee you’ll be a hipster-hater in no time.

Now before I unleash my inner rage, I’ll admit I’m no style icon myself – never was – but I thank God I never had the urge to squeeze my legs into a pair of pencil-thin purple, skinny jeans, plonk a pair of “ironic” thick-rimmed glasses onto my nose, and flick my fringe into a gravity-defying quiff, all while keeping a look of condescending nonchalance on my bake!

You see hipsters think they’re better than you…yes you! They mock you as a “sheep” without a sense of identity, despite the fact they hang around in herds and copy each other’s styles, you know, like sheep.

They also like the coolest bands and bars, but the minute you or I express an interest in one of these musical pioneers or watering holes, they move on to the next one… these pesky trend-setters are always one step ahead!

And, of course, most irritating of all, is their love of irony. They like certain music, films or art….but only in an ironic way. It’s so ironic it doesn’t even need to be called ironic.

Deluded eejits that they are, they believe they’re part of some sort of “counter culture” akin to the mods, punks or even hippies. But they’re nothing but a shallow, style-obsessed hotchpotch of the most annoying aspects of all previous youth trends rolled into one pointless trend.

They may even believe they’ll live forever in an eternal, halcyon bliss of multi-coloured parties, and hanging around in cliques smoking and simply “being cool”. Thankfully, observers of the species have found that the hipster fad barely lasts beyond the first semester of their second year at university.

And come graduation you’ll hopefully find a bloke who once sashayed about Botanic Avenue in tight denims, a pork-pie hat jauntily tilted on his high haircut, and a completely unjustified beard, wising up and wearing a sharp suit, ‘sensible’ short back and sides, and swinging a briefcase where he once swung a checked, vintage man bag.

And for those who don’t grow out of the trend, and defiantly keep that hipster sneer and Buddy Holly specs beyond their early 20s, we can rest assured that for these coolest of cool individuals they can look forward to wondering why  they can’t make real money from their “ironic” fashion blog, or why no-one wants to view their awful photographs in some dank, back alley “art gallery”.

So if you find yourself wearing glasses when you really don’t need to, or feel a worrying tight feeling around your ankles, then step away from those primary coloured clothes… though it may already be too late.

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