Daily Rumination No. 5: Hipster Bulbs

Hipster style continues to spread throughout Australian cafés and eateries, homogenising menus, decor and more. Where the egg was once king, avocado now rules supreme. Never has non-conformity been so mainstream.

In recent times, I’ve noticed the increasing installation of hipster ‘subway tiles’ as backdrops for café counters. Undoubtedly you’ve seen them before; they’re generally white with black grout, reminiscent of New York subway stations. Click here to view an example. In Australia, David Jones has even started using them in their in-store cafés and restaurants, elevating the horizontal tile to full-blown capitalist status.

Well, now there’s another new thing and I have decided to call it the ‘hipster bulb’. See the example in an image below, which my wife pointed out today.

This photo was taken in daytime and you can see quite clearly that the hanging light is surrounded by many more downlights above it, which whilst not as fashionable, offer vastly superior illumination.

So, in a room that has numerous windows (out of the frame) to allow natural light and also downlights for consistent indoor lighting, what is the purpose of this hipster bulb, with its space-encroaching shade and dangling cord? The only answer is wanky decoration.

You may ask why this is even worth consideration, let alone discussion on a blog. Whilst housed in attractive fixture and with a kind of industrial Edison chic, I argue that this hipster bulb contradicts the very values of pure ‘hipsterdom’. It’s there because it’s orange and interesting. To be a genuine hipster, one should shun that which is material and aim for only the bare essentials (which also often means being barefooted, unfortunately).

This hipster bulb is a useless extravagance to communicate the commercial brand of hipsterdom and is also, perhaps most importantly, a waste of energy. How can organic, gluten-free, vegan, renewable hipsters deal with this?

If you’re a hipster and you’re reading this now, I strongly encourage you to inspect the decor of your favourite coffee shop. If you see something that flies in the face of your all-natural, minimalist ideology, vote with your bare feet and have your single-origin latte with almond milk somewhere else.

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