Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Unhappy Hipsters

My attention has been drawn to the hilarious website Unhappy Hipsters. I've always loved the way new captions can mine new meaning out of pictures: the Punch caption competitions used to be achingly funny, and the New Yorker competition sometimes approaches that standard.

The lifestyle portrayed and sent up in these "unhappy hipster" photographs (presumably extracted from architectural magazines) is one so alien to me that I cannot actually believe in its reality. Come on, surely no-one really lives like that? Or even aspires to live like that?

I couldn't resist putting up a couple of lifestyle pictures of my own. Captions welcome (probably).

The uncluttered look is about knowing when to stop

Exhausted, after clearing a space to sit down


Martin H. said...

Cluttered, but comfortable enough to induce forty winks. What more could you ask?

Mauro said...

Funny I've been following the blog you mention in the last months. One that really made me laugh was this one http://bit.ly/aLgv5G

Mike C. said...

"What more could you ask?"

Somewhere to put a cup of tea down, other than the floor, perhaps? Clearly never a problem for the Unhappy Hipsters...


Gavin McL said...

I visited a friend recently who works at a university. I remarked at the cosy clutter in his office, ship models, model sailing yachts, text books; old, new and antique, odd bits of boat, papers, stacks of students work and the odd piece of redundant hardware. You could see a couple of chairs, the odd patch of floor and parts of a desk.
I remarked on the general ambiance and he said he had tidied up recently as he and a postgrad had been trapped inside the room for 20 minutes or so after an avalanche of books had blocked the door.
I do like the "look" of these hipster houses but I know what would happen if I moved into such a place - gradually stacks of books would follow slowly at first but in the end they would win out

Kent Wiley said...

Dwell, the magazine that many of these pics come from, is generated in the terminally hip city of San Francisco. One "reads" it at one's peril. They're not selling a product - it's a "lifestyle."

Struan said...

"The milk carton patiently waited until the tinsel snakes came within range."

Glen Baxter is still my favourite for this sort of thing (discovered as a youth in Southampton Art Gallery as it happens). His own site is a fittingly disorganised mess, but this one appeals:


attrib: http://www.flowersgalleries.com/artists/118-artists/3785-glen-baxter/#/section-work/

Today's Swedish word is 'dammråtta' - 'dustbunnies' in USA English. We breed them on a commercial scale.

Frank Harkin said...

I too have been perusing this particular site and as someone who works in the field of architecture I can say that the photos illustrate a difference between how some architects see their buildings and the people who actually use them. Given the 'comforts' of your present abode as illustrated in your photos I get the feeling that an 'architect designed' house isn't for you.

Mike C. said...

"I get the feeling that an 'architect designed' house isn't for you"

Oh, I don't know... If I could afford it (which I can't) I imagine I could find someone to design me something I'd like. A tower for my collection of dammråtta to roam; mazes of interlinked cupboards you could walk into and spend the rest of the day wandering; deep spring-loaded storage pits for newspapers and the Prof's piles of A4; an entrance disguised as a telephone box without any apparent door; digital walls to display a range of custom wallpapers, colour schemes, flying ducks, Christmas decorations, or whatever, according to the whim of whoever was in the room; a convenient object-repelling flat surface onto which only cups of tea could be placed. I could go on.

I sort of had the naive impression that architects were meant to identify, design and deliver based on their clients' needs, but the odd thing with these places is that the occupiers seem to be trying (and failing) to live up to the buildings and tastes they've been sold. I think that's why they're unhappy.


Dave Leeke said...

The rise in both the TV "de-clutter" programmes and the ubiquitous "self-storage" spaces in each and every town suggests that we have become so accepting of what the Japanese call "shindogu" that we would rather hold on to any useless crap that might - just possibly - be useful one day rather than get rid of it . . . sorry, what was I saying? A pile of cds just fell over and I lost concentration for a moment. As the Swedes are so damned good at sorting out spacial problems, perhaps their designers will come up with a Tardis-like solution to this problem - we can send our shindogu out to another dimension and we can live in minimalist surroundings.

Actually, having just bought some Ikea wardrobes, maybe their designers have already come up with that idea - their catalogues suggest that normal people (ie US - people that need their space-saving devices)live frugal lives with very limited need for storage space . . .

Sorry, rant over. Let's just accept that a Zen-like attitude towards piles of books/dvds/cds is inevitable and acceptable.

Don't, whatever you do, throw it away. You will always need it at a later date.

About 6 months later.

Bronislaus Janulis said...

"What more could you ask?

Having a 10 year old ADHD, Obsessive-Compulsive with a few other issues, in the house, with a penchant for trash, I need both a place for the tea, whiskey, etc., but some place to park my ageing carcass that doesn't involve excavation.

High architecture for me would involve fewer zombie raccoons rattling around in the attic walls.

However, I am feeling inspired by the clean spaces ... time to do something with the seven feet of CDs, that are finally in the computer. Specially since the Danish Dust Bunnies finally cornered the CD player and had their way with it.

Mike, you obviously know when to stop.Looks quite uncluttered.


Mike C. said...

"you obviously know when to stop.Looks quite uncluttered"

Well, of course -- we had tidied up for Christmas, after all!

CDs are a problem all round, aren't they? They stack so easily, but have no stability once the pile gets over a foot or more. Most custom racks look too ridiculous (we have several that appear to have been designed in 1954). If I could believe Spotify would improve and survive, I'd be very tempted to dump 80% of mine.

"Zombie raccoons" reminds me of the dormice that held nightly shrieking sessions in the walls of a French gite we rented once. It was like the local fairies and goblins had got into S&M and were throwing an all-night party...


Dave Leeke said...

I'm afraid that after years of my zen attitude to leaving piles of cds around the floor, various rooms, the car etc my wife forced me into buying some cd racks from the dreaded Ikea. The five columns hold some 900 cds. Unfortunately this isn't enough storage space so they are continuing to build up in the old familiar places. The racks do look quite nice and give an ordered effect.

Notice it is just an effect.

Frank Harkin said...

"I sort of had the naive impression that architects were meant to identify, design and deliver based on their clients' needs...." Naive indeed for some architects. They don't give the client what they want; their business is to give them what they didn't know they wanted.

Bronislaus Janulis said...

Spotify? I'm such a digital disaster, as only recently was I told of Pandora Interweb Radio, which I'm enjoying quite a lot. The late 60's and early 70's seem a "golden" age of music, Led, Cream, Eric Burden, Jimi, Doors, ... Led Zep even named a song after me ... it was such a golden time.

Could my age be showing?

Mike C. said...


I mentioned Spotify a few posts back -- it's a free online, on-demand music streaming service. It may be UK based, but I'm sure there will be US equivalents (is that what Pandora is?).

It's not comprehensive but great if you're into musical exploring. I've spent a lot of money over the years trying things out, hence the tottering piles of unlistened-to CDs. Now, I can just check it out on Spotify.

I imagine we're similarly aged (I'm 56) and it's undeniable that we lived through rock's Golden Age -- I sometimes feel sad for my daughter, 15 and so keen on music but growing up in the derivative dog days of pop.

I try not to live in the past, though, and part of the motivation of my musical exploring on Spotify is looking for the contemporary growth points (sometimes they're looking to the past -- Brit saxophonist John Surman's interpretations of Dowland's music are well worth a listen).


Bronislaus Janulis said...

Pandora is internet "radio"; streams music based on "stations". If I enter Eric Clapton, it will play Clapton, and some Duane Allman, some Led, etc. I have it on my iPhone as well, though I'm quite new to it.

I'm 59, and we're definitely "golden".

I just entered a John Surman "station" ... thanks! Very interesting. A completely pointless aside, one of my musician friends named his son Dowland.

Isn't it the job of old ones to decry the poverty of youth?

Pandora just segued from Surman to Anthony Braxton. Very nice!


Mike C. said...

The beauty of Spotify is that you can look up, list and listen to entire albums. Free!

Although I think I heard a decent cross-section of the rock / pop /folk of the Golden Years, a lot of other interesting music passed me by. So, I'm sitting here with the ECM catalogue, working my way through it by moods and associations (everything from ECM seems to be on Spotify) -- Anthony Braxton to Dave Holland to Kenny Wheeler to Bill Frisell and ever onwards.

It's too good to last... (and I hear Time Warner are going to pull their albums). Yes, I'm a bit sick of the British Gas advert, but for now I'm one happy hipster.


Bronislaus Janulis said...

Spotify is NW Europe, Pandora is US only, and I haven't explored albums yet, if they have them.

For contemporary music, my 34 year old burns CDs for me (how quaint ...), but now I have to dump them direct to computer.


Kent Wiley said...

Bron, you might also enjoy listening to Radio Paradise, ie radioparadise.com. It's an internet stream, which you can find on iTunes, unlike the Pandora thing, no input from listeners other than a place to leave comments about the selections. It's rather diverse, but I still have to go elsewhere from time to time: wfmu.org, also to be found on iTunes in the radio section.