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BOOKS Hipsterdom takes a hit

Think hipsters are harmless uber-trendies who are just a jokey part of modern urban culture? Gregory Pierrot's book will make you think again, says MIK SABIERS

Decolonize Hipsters
by Gregory Pierrot
(O/R Books, £14)

DECOLONIZE HIPSTERS, the opening salvo in a new series of handbooks, places hipsters at the vanguard of a movement that starts with gentrification but ends with gifting Trump the White House and giving rise and misguided succour to white supremacists.

Gregory Pierrot opens with a simple reflection of his love of indie music, a hipster cliche in itself, but correctly goes on to question the real diversity of the crowd that he is part of.

It is the start of an insightful analysis and takedown of hipsterdom and one done for all the right reasons. Whether looking at the origins of the term to a detailed investigation and diatribe on its  modern equivalent, it’s full of nuggets of nous and knowledge.

There’s an illuminating lesson in the origin of “hip,” with slavery, the African diaspora and how jazz crossed the Atlantic to France all thrown into the mix. Then, quoting Karl Marx through to Lemmy from Motorhead, Pierrot fleshes out the essence of modern hipsterdom and its pernicious contemporary manifestations.

He highlights Vice, which rose from punk fanzine to mainstream hipster bible, but with multiple flaws, including some with very disconcerting fascist undertones from one of its founders who then went on to form the Proud Boys.

He also charts the response to the murder of George Floyd and how Black Lives Matter has not only blown a hole in hipster standing but has also provided hope for change.

Fast, furious and best read in one sitting, this gives much food for thought —  and not of the type immediately Instagrammed rather than actually eaten.

In your face for all the right reasons, it’s full of fun and thoughtful facts, interesting anecdotes and parallels that all lead in the same direction — how hipsters steal, suck up and squander what they should hold dear.

It also highlights clearly and simply how the — invariably white — hipsters have stolen from black culture again and again, whether that be jazz in 1930s America through to 1970s English skinheads imitating Jamaican rude-boy style.

And they don’t just steal style, they steal the very homes of the poorest, identifying neighbourhoods and then migrating there en masse until the locals are left with no choice but to scarper to less salubrious sites to once again lay the groundwork for the next hipster invasion.

This is a quick and thought-provoking read that eloquently sets an agenda, justifies it and demands that action is taken. Read it, think again, and make change your goal.

 

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