The proto-hipster


There was an article in one of the weekend papers about Jamie Oliver's current American TV show, in which he troops around the States asking untermensch fat people why they don't think like him. Would we Brits like it up us if some unknown (to us) US TV chef turned up here and wandered around telling us how utterly ghastly our food is? Anyway, of course I can see where he's coming from in trying to educate people about healthier eating - as a bit of a libertarian, the thing that makes me twitchy is his insistance on trying to have laws put into effect regarding people's eating habits. The state shouldn't really be allowed to enter our homes and tell us what to eat. These nannyish laws will only get worse over time, probably leading to the banning of certain fatty foods, which will then deprive normally healthy people of the right to eat tasty naughty treats every now and again. So I feel Jamie is perhaps a little misguided in his crusade, although I don't suppose there's much we can do to stop him now, so large is his 'personal brand'.

It got me thinking about Jamie and how he burst on to our TV screens back in the late 90's. I was a young chap living in an amazing warehouse apartment in east london at the time, and his show did have a certain echo to how we lived (even though of course we scoffed at his tryhard coolness, his love of Kula Shaker, Dodgy and Toploader and stupid mockney accent from the outset).

I hadn't actually thought of it till now, but I think I may have identified Jamie Oliver as the
proto-hipster. He was the first UK media representation of what we have come to see (and revile) as hipsters. The festishizing of the 'London lifestyle' in it's entirety, the ironic t-shirts, the bike (moped then, but would surely be a 'fixie' now) the mockney accent, the wonky haircut, the whole 'none of my mates seem to have real jobs, yet we can afford to swan around having really casual dinner parties in amazing apartments'. I don't begrudge his success, he's obviously a hard working family guy, but Jamie was the man who brought hipsterism to the masses for the first time, and for this he should be sent to an eternal purgatory of turkey twizzlers.

8 comments:

Susan said...

I always thought hipster was a sort of late '60s and '70s word - like 'cool dude man' sort of guy, who probably wore hipster trousers, though lately they seem to have got much lower and been attributed to the late Mr McQueen.. not Steve - ah, 'cheeky chappy' is that what you're getting at? Jamie is definitely one of those.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Jamie Oliver is HUGE over here (Romania), and whilst this is puzzling it also makes me very proud. He's considered genuinely cool. All power to him.

worm said...

susan, if you google 'hipster' you'll see what the current incarnation is. If you ever venture into east london (hoxton/shoreditch) you will see the hipster in its natural habitat

gadjo - when I lived in germany I too was amazed to find that he is probably more popular there than he is in britain. I suppose that johnny foreigner has the benefit of not hearing his horrendously grating mockney accent. Well as far as british cultural ambassadors go, I'm happy for it to be Jamie.

Gaw said...

Like David Cameron, Jamie Oliver has legs that look like peeled prawns. I merely note the fact.

worm said...

precisely Gaw, precisely. QED

Susan said...

Of course, Wikipedia always has the definitive answer..

Brit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brit said...

I always thought of those awful Oliver ads where he has his mates round to his apartment ("Oh no! The herbth! They've fallen out the window!")for some pukka grub and some serious Toploader singalong-ing were a sort of anglo take on Friends, but without the humour.