By Craig Butt and Aisha Dow
April 07, 2014
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Little Mule Company sounds like hipster heaven – a laneway cafe that not only makes a mean cup of coffee but also sells and repairs single-speed ”fixie” bicycles.
”The majority of our clients are city workers, but we get our fair share of the hipster crowd as well,” the cafe’s barista and coffee roaster Chris Legge says. ”They all rock up on their fixies and tie them up out the front and have a short black.”
Just don’t call them hipsters. ”Most hipsters will tell you they were rolling up their chinos and growing their beards before it became cool,” he says. ”I think most hipsters generally deny their hipsterliness.”
Little Mule is one of almost 150 hipster haunts identified on a new map showcasing some of the cafes, stores, bars and entertainment venues of Melbourne that are popular with the crowd.
The map is the brainchild of Maia Sauren, who worked with a team of volunteers (hipster and non-hipster) on the project.
She says the team had set criteria for determining what’s hipster but that adding locations to the map was more of an art than a science: ”You don’t really know how to define somewhere that’s hipster, but you know it when you see it.”
But what is a hipster? Common stereotypes for the hipster male include sailor tattoos, John Lennon glasses, unkempt facial hair, vintage clothing, facial piercings and skinny jeans.
Melbourne University popular culture researcher Lauren Rosewarne defines ”hipster” as liking things that aren’t fashionable.
”It is chasing the not cool before it becomes cool,” she said. ”It’s an anti-cool, but now anti-cool has become re-appropriated by the mass market and re-sold as cool. It’s a tricky beast.”
She said the hipster label was used against people who probably wouldn’t identify themselves as such. ”Hipsters themselves are not using the word.”
Hipster places exhibit these same qualities. Some of the businesses on the map declined to comment once the h-word was mentioned. It appears nothing destroys hipster cred more than being associated with hipsters.
So does that defeat the purpose of the map?
Dr Sauren is unperturbed.
”The moment more than two people know about somewhere, it has sold out and has lost its hipster status,” she jokes.