We asked this important question of long-time (and we mean long-time) De Beauvoir resident, Jeremy Hornsby. He leapt to the challenge with enthusiasm, alacrity and tongue firmly in cheek. Read the results of his in-depth review of the question here. Ardent researcher that I am, I was pleased to discover that I had a great deal to go on. Starting with wool. Well, a house of wool to be precise.
A short while ago, a De Beauvoir dwelling was completely encased in wool – woollen wall coverings, woollen floors and presumably woollen saucepans sounding woollenly welcoming as they bubbled on the woollen stove. Hmmm. I assume it was an advertisement for – er, wool. The house was, no doubt, an impressively hipster concept – a simultanagnosia, in fact, that focussed on the material rather than on the house as a whole.
Then there are the three girls who rent the house next door, whose deliveries of designer lingerie we regularly take in while they are out hipstering.
Nutribullets and other stories
This Christmas, I bought my wife, Jay, a Nutribullet. This was a concept with which I had been unfamiliar until I chatted to three other girls on the Overground (an extremely hipster form of transport, providing, as it does, the opportunity to do one’s morning jog from one end of the carriage to the other while sipping one’s herbal yoghurt). These young ladies introduced me to the notion of a spiraliser, which in turn led to the Nutribullet, as you might imagine. On receipt of her Nutribullet Christmas present, Jay said ‘Hmmm.’ So, when one of the girls from next door came to collect the latest consignment of underthings, Jay seized the opportunity.
‘Do any of you girls have a Nutribullet?’ she asked. ‘Yes,’ came the reply, ‘we have one each, but mine has broken ….’. She didn’t have to say any more. Jay’s brand new Nutribullet was hers. The point of this diversion is obvious: three girls, each with her own Nutribullet! How hipster can you get?
Books, pavements and art
Then there is our very own new hipster bookshop, Burley Fisher Books, on the other side of Kingsland Road. They have titles on their shelves like Trans, sell a variety of coffees, are very laidback, and put on talks about things. They even sold me the new Ladybird book, The Hipster.
This states that ‘Hipsters like to collect old things that are unfashionable, because that makes them fashionable.’ This is a difficult one. De Beauvoir pavements are often littered with discarded garden chairs, office furniture, dangerous-looking electric fires, mangled toys and gas-fired TV sets, all of which seems to indicate the opposite of what the Ladybird book says.
On the other hand, these tatterdemalion items tend to disappear quite quickly, leading to the inevitable conclusion that 50 per cent of De B is hipster and 50 per cent is not. The aforementioned book also declares that hipsters like Art. I am reliably informed that a gallery on Southgate Road recently displayed the tangled remains of a crashed car as an objet d’art, and that’s clearly very hipster indeed. As is Field to Fork, the newish food emporium nearby that is staffed by Ukrainian ladies and sells kale.
Without doubt, De Beauvoir’s Capoeira class would appeal to parents wishing their children to develop into hipsters and to learn how to kick the neighbour’s annoying dog to death. As they get older, these children can develop their hipsterism at the Light Yoga Space, where they can enjoy ‘chanting, kirtan, satsang pujas, and drop-in meditation.’ Who wouldn’t?
The OED defines hipster as ‘a person who follows the latest trends and fashions’. One assumes that these people are already to be found wherever the latest ‘centre of the universe’ is located. Which is to say, firstly in Shoreditch, then, incredibly, in Hoxton (the former thieves’ kitchen of London where none dared walk alone), and now along the Kingsland Road to Dalston.
Hipsters move on and out
Given all the publicity that seems to attend Dalston, Jay went to find ‘Dalston Cool’. I’m sorry to report that she failed in her mission. It appears that it’s now located in Walthamstow and will soon be relocating to Leyton. However, we all know that Hackney in general is considered pretty hipster and De Beauvoir is definitely in Hackney, not in Islington, as the estate agents are now happy to have it. One estate agent was selling flats in the north-west corner of De Beauvoir with a huge noticeboard announcing that the flats would have ‘An Armani-suited concierge’. Is that hipster? I’m not sure.
But should there be any doubt remaining about De Beauvoir being hipster, let us consider that among the other delights featured on the De Beauvoir Deli’s website, the ingredients of their gin and tonics include Darjeeling tea, juniper, coriander, cassia bark, angelica root, grapefruit peel, artemisia, made from wormwood, mugwort, tarragon and fresh lime.
Now, if that ain’t hipster I don’t know what is.
And finally, there are the De Beauvoir Deli hampers. Last Christmas, The Times featured a double-page spread of gift hampers. Among them was the De Beauvoir Deli version. And the strapline above it? ‘For the hipster wannabe’. Case made?