Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hipster Update

Hipster, 2014
When I hear the word "hipster," my mind immediately conjures up an image of a young man wearing tight pants with narrow, pointy-toed shoes and living in Brooklyn.

That is so 2008.

In the airport yesterday I saw an updated version of the hipster.  He had the beard (check) and the sneakers (also check), and his ensemble included two other of-the-moment elements.

First, he was wearing a pork pie hat.  As you can see, it is a round-looking, short-brimmed, flat-top model.  

Pork pies have not been popular in my lifetime, but they are definitely making  a comeback.  I believe they originally were associated with Buster Keaton, a movie star before the day of movies in color, or even talkies. I gather the style was popular during the Depression.  

You see a fair number of pork pies on the street these days, but they are not forgiving chapeaus.  On the wrong head -- particularly with short pants or a skateboard -- one of these hats can make its wearer look like an impish little kid in a Saturday morning cartoon.  My advice to hipsters is to be very careful with this look.

The second distinguishing thing about the young man was that he was carrying a ukulele.  Ukes are everywhere these days, perhaps because they conjure pleasant memories of music heard during family vacations in Hawaii.

Paul McCartney (no hipster, he) has incorporated a ukulele number into the playlist on his current tour.  Next week there will be a Wine Country Ukulele Festival in St. Helena, if you happen to be in Northern California and of a mind.

I suspect young people are taking up the four-string ukulele because it is portable and makes a friendly and agreeable sound, and maybe also because, unlike a guitar, it doesn't require a backup group, an enormous amplifier or even a great voice to get its point across.

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