We all know the quintessential hallmark of hipster-hipsterness is black plastic framed glasses. But let’s face it, you wouldn’t be here if you were the average hipster, you’re looking for the next hipster trend. You want to leave Kevin and his case of PBR in the dust on your way to a whole new meta-hipster plateau.
It’s time to trade in your plastic frames for wood ones. But not just any wood, you want reclaimed hipster genius. Head straight for refurbished skateboard wood frames. You may mastered the ollie back in the day, but your refusal to jump on board with mainstream health insurance would make practicing your laser flips and the resulting broken ankle an impossibility. Who can afford the deductible for that?
The normals are into carrying pocket knives and multi-tools, so what does a hipster do to really separate themselves from the flock? Carry a large Scandinavian forest axe on their back at all times of course!
Axes have been hot amongst a select group of urban lumberjacks for the last year or so, but this trend isn’t even close to reaching its full potential. Until you see that one dude named Kevin who still drinks PBR and rides a fixed gear bike sporting an axe you can wear yours with pride. Don’t just waltz into Wal-Mart and grab a fiberglass handled Fiskars or worse yet a Bear Grylls survival hatchet with nylon sheath. Make sure you buy one that was hand forged by a local artisan, maybe the guy who made your scythe. Bonus points if you make your own handle from native organic free-range hickory, or better yet ironwood.
Since the original posting of this important trend, Axes now have hero epic status. Ax Cop ALWAYS has his ax. What will you say when people ask you about your axe? (and you know they will, which you’ll love). “Why am I carrying an axe? Perhaps a better question is why aren’t you?”
Everything old is new again. Except for technology, which is why hipsters so adore old tech. It will never be new again and that will keep it out of the grubby little hands of the normals, with their Samsung Galaxy S4s. From Polaroid cameras to giant 1980’s boom boxes, we love to show people just how much we admire the craftsmanship of aging silicone-based mechanisms. But why have we stopped there? There’s a whole world of possibilities. Today’s focus: retro web browsing.
There’s multiple levels that you can take this, but to get the edge on other readers I’d recommend taking it to the only level elite hipsters know. The NEXT level. The ultimate primer here is, of course, the only true computer authority of consequence in the 90’s: Stewart Cheifet, host of Public TV’s The Computer Chronicles. Any and all references to this show are your instant pass to uber-hipster-geek-hero status. Thankfully, The Internet Archive has lovingly preserved many episodes. It’s imperative that you watch all of them. Added bonus if you can organize a viewing party at a local sports bar. After you’ve bathed yourself in wave after wave of mid 90’s tech terminology, you’ll be ready for the next step. The hardware. You’ll still need to be portable (so people can see you using it and ask you about it), and it still needs to be able to run Windows ME (to be ironic). But it needs to be oldish, something from either Compaq or Tandy would be ideal. Never rock an IBM as that practically screams that you’re a corporate sellout yuppy dink. If you can get your grandpa’s Osborne to surf the web, you will shame even the most ancient and venerable paleo-hipster techguru. You’ll probably also need an acoustic coupling modem.
Now that you have a new old notebook (never call it a “laptop”) and an operating system that boasts 37% uptime between bluescreens, you’re ready to proceed onto selecting a web browser. Now your first inclination is going to be to jump right into Netscape Navigator 1.0. Wrong. Kevin (to remind new readers, he’s like an OVER detector), is already running that with pride on public transportation, playing a web-based emulation of Oregon Trail. So lame. But I digress, Kevin just gets under my skin. You need to jump right to Netscape Communicator. It’s old enough to be interesting and different (which you love) and new enough to actually work. If you have the initiative to dive further into obscurity, which I’m sure you do, because you’re here, maybe try your hand at earlier browsers like mosaic, lynx, and the ultra-niche web alternative gopher.
Next step, get to the nearest cybercafe. The problem here is that wireless high speed internet is ubiquitous, so there are no longer places that refer to themselves as cybercafes. So basically, just go to any cafe. Stride determined to the barista and ask loudly, “is this a cybercafe?!” She’s likely a millennial who has never realized that there was a time in humanity’s past that there wasn’t fast, free, wireless internet everywhere, so she will look at you like you’re from outer space. Awesome. Carefully explain that you need to get hooked up to the “world wide web” (use quote fingers for added flourish) with a baud rate of at least “14.4k” (use those exact words) and inquire where the jack is for you to connect your modem. Once you’ve booted up go to the Internet Archive’s wayback machine and furiously start clicking your roller ball mouse. As soon as you are sure everyone is looking at you, pull out the retro phone handset from the modem and bathe them all with loud hideous squealing. Wipe the phone quickly with a moist towelette and jam it back into the modem. Next, pull a vintage dot-matrix printer from your rucksack and loudly print off an ascii art portrait of Spock. Ripping off the holes strips on the side of the freshly printed masterpiece, tack it (never staple) it to the faux painted wall next to you. After that, open up Eudora and punch out a couple of hurried electronic mails (don’t call them emails) to a few of your retro brethren. You are at the summit of hipster nerd power.
By now a crowd has gathered and the questions will start streaming (ha) in, which you’ll love. “Why don’t you just get a tablet?” Throw up your hands in disgust. “Right! Like I’m going to line the pockets of of the mega-rich corporate thieves turning out technology from child slavery camps** in Taiwan when there’s perfectly good stuff out there on ebay!” They will be shocked by your hostility. Perfect. “My phone has 2,600 times the transistor count of your ‘notebook’,” a smug half-hipster wearing orange non-prescription glasses will snap back. Don’t give him an inch. “This is a 486 DX! It has a math co-processor! It’s pre-pentium!” He will tilt his head quizzingly and realize there’s no point in arguing with you. And he’s right. Because you’re right. Even if you don’t know why.
Imagine this, you arrive slightly late to the marketing meeting. Everyone looks up from their tablets, notebooks, and smartphones only to see you patiently preparing your work area. First, extract a curious bottle filled with a brown substance from your canvas rucksack. Next, pull out a small knife (I’ll explain in a moment). Then, some very old-timey looking parchment. And finally, the pièce de résistance, your hand-fashioned quill!
Your co-workers will marvel at your crude writing implement as they gaze at the large swan-feather with wonderment. Then the questions will start pouring in, which you’ll love. As you examine the tip of your quill and begin to shape it with your quill knife you can answer them dismissively. “Yes, it’s a quill, it’s from the primary left flight feather of a female trumpeter swan that lost it in her annual moult.” As the onslaught of questions continue you can carefully uncork your jar of cuttlefish ink and dip the quill liberally. Scribe the date in the upper right hand corner of the parchment in your best calligraphy. If there is any actual marketing discussed at tomorrow’s meeting, despite the enormous distraction your quill will provide, you can write meticulous notes. As you finish each page roll the parchment and affix it with your own wax seal. If you are in a haughty mood, use the tip of your quill to gesture at your co-workers, nothing is more demeaning than being put in one’s place with a feather.
There are all kinds of reasons this trend is emerging. As you should know by now, hipsters are all about doing something BEFORE anyone else is doing it. Well I’ll have you know that the quill was used BEFORE the invention of the dip pen, the metal-nibbed pen, the fountain pen, and, eventually, the ballpoint pen. It’s five generations back! Perfect! The ink alone will provide you with at least 37 minutes of dialogue on the rarity and difficulty of extracting cuttlefish ink and the importance of their brown ink vs. the black of octopus and the blue-black of the common squid. Also, as they thumb away on their lame iPad you can tell people that quill pens were used to write the vast majority of medieval manuscripts, the Magna Carta, and the Declaration of Independence.
Don’t just buy a lame Harry Potter writing quill on Amazon , find your own. It will give you an excuse to go on a hike and commune with nature (always hot). Get on this one tomorrow, because it won’t be long until you see that one dude named Kevin using a quill at Starbucks to write haikus.