Casting around for a place to sit and process after a movie, I remembered Moustache was near us - a place that can most accurately be described as an artisanal milk & cookies cafe.
We ordered our cookies and hot chocolate. My companion railed briefly at how “hipsterish” the shop was.
I stirred my Whittakers chocolate stick into my drink. My cinnamon-dusted rhubarb cookie was heated and served with a dollop of custard on top. I’m already slightly defensive about derogatory use of the term “hipster”; I suspect my background makes me hyper-sensitive to anyone scorning anybody, but that’s a tangential issue. I also harbour a persistent ambient chagrin at my bourgeois inclinations.
If you were to ask me to give an example of a hipster venue, I must admit we’re there. Moustache has made a business model by framing nostalgia for a childhood staple as a luxury item. The shop title is presumably a reference to a milk moustache, but the logo is a proper black twirly moustache, reminiscent of the current trend. The interior design is part reclaimed materials, part 60s milk bar. We sat on child-sized wooden chairs, and our table was a little wooden stool. The cookies were very tasty, as was the hot chocolate. We’d just watched the David Foster Wallace biopic. A more unwilling king the hipsters never crowned.
The movie itself evokes some deliberations about a particular hipster mentality; following a brief tiff between the two protagonists, David Lipsky (the journalist, played by Jesse Eisenberg) essentially attacks DFW’s (Jason Segel) semi-rural everyman lifestyle as being an elaborate fakeout, based on the fact that DFW is far too intelligent and self-aware to possibly be ordinary. Lipsky is the consummate big-city literary pretender, and needs DFW to like him, and to be like him.
I suspect that the flavour of hipsters in NZ are somewhat more benign than in other countries. I’m aware that the old school has a reputation of being elitist to the point of hostility, and entire communities of the new school represent an assortment of social and economic problems tied into “disruption” and gentrification.
This is all by the by. I have a lot of time and space to consider and debate these things. But right now, we’re using an overused term to sneer at ourselves for enjoying good food. What part of "hipsterish" is the objective ill in this equation? If not the food, shall we turn our scorn to the decor? The clientele? The conversation? I want to stop feeling so self-conscious about liking things. There is space in my life for someone to sell me an experience that makes me happy.