July 16, 2013

the h word.

friday night i went for a spontaneous dinner at thekla’s house.  we ended up being a group of four girls and the night got quite fun and more than a little raunchy for an evening without tequila. banter flew back and forth and at some point thekla shouted at me (yes, we even got to a shouting point without tequila) “oh my god, you are a total hipster!”
silence. that really hurt.
whether i am a hipster on the grand scheme of things or not, living in cape town and being called a hipster wasn’t okay for me. look, i don’t mind the concept of things organic, artisan, and authentic, but the hipster breed in this city is something else altogether. so i told thekla if she wanted to call me names, she had to call me an original hipster.
when i lived in williamsburg 10 years ago everybody was already a hipster, before the term and definition had even made its way over from portland.

skinny jeans? check.
skinny artist boys in skinny jeans? check.
charm bracelets and lockets? check thanks to inheritance from my mother.
vintage something? paisley blouses from a flea market in rome, ironic mickey mouse t-shirt from avenue b, old motorcycle boots worn with mini-skirt in august.
mexican peasant skirts and leather sandals? handmade on a mexican curb side.
check, check, check, and check.
farmers’ markets with ugly organic tomatoes and homemade lemonade? every sunday.
eating “gourmet” burgers in a little hole in the wall? that’s what the east village is for, check please!

in addition i smoked gauloises at that time, which was more hipster than growing your own tobacco in new york. gladys and ipek did the knitting, marie organized stripy socks for us at her job in the sock company.  we also had julian, the cat. he was awesome and liked to sleep in the rice cooker. if i would have had my way his name would have been norbert and i don’t think you can get a more hipster name than that. we took pictures of him constantly and while people liked our cat pictures, they did refuse to eat at our place after seeing him in the rice cooker.

before lomo and instagram we had the original old school camera – the polaroid. i must admit that i have been taking selfies long before the term was coined and pictures of my shoes too. there are already many unflattering pictures of me with a protruding nose due to the awkward selfie angle, so these days i try to limit their exposure on the internet. personally i think most people’s shoes are not that exciting and only warrant a picture if they are louboutin or dangle above a volcano.
we listened to the strokes when they were the first band with a the and saw them live when they were still playing in bars. the same went for a whole lot of indie bands that by now have come and gone or landed a gig at rocking the daisies.

no offense, or take it if you must, but south africa is lacking a bit behind with certain things or gives them a let’s call it interesting angle. it seems a bit like playing telephone. americans, those silly people, whisper hipster and south africans hears wears ugly jerseys and thinks their cat, overpriced craft beer and coffee makes them a better person. i don’t want to wear an ugly jersey with a horse head that was hand knit by someone else’s mother and pretend it is cool. an ugly jersey by any other name is still an ugly jersey. my uncle has been making moonshine in his basement since forever so i call moonshine the new craft beer. and when it comes to cats…well, i like cats. i also like dogs. i think bats are cool. and giraffes are the most awesome of all animals. cats were never my  thing to write home about. if you are a fan of origin, truth & co. rest assured i am too. however most days i am perfectly fine with instant and when i lived in new york filter coffee from the corner deli was my favourite. if you think cat poop coffee is thing to drink i may just silently applaud someone with brilliant marketing skills who turned that shit into gold.

the thing is that i grew up in the 80s and a lot of things considered hipster in this city tend to go back to this era of unfortunate style choices. so to almost anything you throw at me, i can say been there, worn that. i already wore jerseys in unfortunate colours and prints as a child, so i am very happy to stick to black cashmere these days.  i learned when i was 8 years old that to pull off bangs you need to have a certain shape of face. if you don’t have said shape you will look scary or scared. or both. if you had to wear big glasses as a child and were teased for it, you are happy for the advances of modern days and the contact lenses that come with it. you won’t go out and spend a fortune on a pair of xxl bamboo frames. call it whatever you like, but this was not a good look back then and it ain’t a good look now:

on a final, very personal note, love it or hate it: i have been wearing my hair up in a high, somewhat messy bun since 2001. it wasn’t chloë sevigny, it was me who did it first. 
that and my onesie make me an original hipster if you care to call me such.

peasant blouse home made and shovel for organic 
gardening in the sand pit. 
rocking my christmas onesie and my brother's vinyl.


  1. This is the best! Can we take a moment to talk about those last two photos? AWESOME! And totally "h" word ;)

    1. That was all my Mum's doing - clothing and hair cut, I can't take credit for that :)

  2. I think sometimes hipster is a compliment...and sometimes it isn't. A friend of my boyfriend's constantly goes on and on about how much he "hates" hipsters AND HE IS SUCH A HIPSTER HIMSELF!!! Obviously I'd never tell him that.

    1. Agreed and I don't mind it in an international context so much, I just think South African hipsters are a whole other breed. My friend is doing a story about hipsters in Portland, I will be curious to read her finding on the other original hipsters.


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