Why Get Into Vinyl?

Well, why the hell not?

As the aspiring hipster, the iPod or other radio is not sufficient to play your unique music tastes (or obnoxiously present them to your mainstream friends). How do you cover the gaping hole of inadequacy offered by modern music players? Obviously by going back to 1957. That is, vinyl records, LPs and turntables.

Vinyl is making a comeback. If you were born well after the CD, or can’t remember when songs weren’t available instantly on your JavaGoogles for immediate download or whatever you kids do with computers these days, “record players” (the term is turntable) are as current as flint spearheads. But trust me–just like you may see flip phones or hunting wooly mammoths in a nostalgic light (demographics research is all over the place–we’re trying to cover all our bases), many see the turntable in the same way. The sound provides a warmth removed by the sci-fi-esque dominant digital music, possesses a sound quality audiophiles will rant to you about until you question what else you were expecting when you decided to attend an audiophile convention.

Seriously, it’s a better sound. And you don’t have to go to antique stores either — Amazon has a terrific selection of affordably priced turntables and LPs (but for records I prefer Insound as it has a great selection of modern groups cheap.). And with record of the month clubs like Vinyl Me, Please, you can grow your music collection without leaving the house.

The pretentious connotations are so well entrenched that I don’t even need to go there. Although with the rising popularity of turntables, you may want to get really alternative, and get into cassettes.

The Excuse for Everything

We’ve all been there (maybe we all haven’t. What’s important is that have) – standing in front of some item in a department store, an item somewhat controversial to the existing social order within your group of acquaintances or perhaps society in general. You worry not so much about the price or its practicality, but with how friends, strangers, and Jim the Walmart greeter will judge you if you suddenly showed up one day with such an item. Maybe you bought the item and were judged horribly, exiled from society, and  forced to move to Lhasa and become a Buddhist monk. Thankfully, in these advanced times, no one will ever have to endure a lifetime of chanting sutras and cold heads in the high Tibetan Plateaus because of a salesman assuring you that that plaid jacket and leather pants “just look terrific!” on you.

Are you kidding? Corsets are definitely in right now.

Are you kidding? Corsets are definitely in right now.

How can this be?! you ask, wiping a joyful tear from your eye. With irony. Now, whatever decision you make that would otherwise incur ridicule and shame upon you and possibly merit complete banishment from civilization can be handily explained by the sentence: “I’m doing it ironically.” Stripes and plaid? Irony. Cat with Buddy Holly glasses t-shirt? Irony. Mass human sacrifice? Irony.*

*Warning: “I was doing it ironically” is not a valid alibi in court for slaughtering thousands to make the sun rise.

Calm down haven't you ever seen irony before?

Calm down haven’t you ever seen irony before?

The convention of doing things “ironically,” is essentially a deliberate engaging in an either commonly scorned, overly popular, or ridiculously outdated custom, fully aware of the negative opinion associated with it, in an attempt to showcase one’s complex and vibrant personality, to let free the true individual struggling to escape the confines of their self-doubting soul, through….wearing leg-warmers, apparently. Anyway, regardless of its actual meaning, the socially awkward can capitalize on the phenomenon and free themselves from embarrassment with that magic excuse: “I’m doing it ironically.”

Examples of irony are abundant in modern culture. Take those Buddy Holly glasses I mentioned earlier (the uncultured fool would call them “nerd” glasses). Now these big-rimmed, thick glasses have, for decades, been

It's okay kids. There'll be other dreams.

It’s okay kids. There’ll be other dreams.

associated with nerds, so much so that even a polo-playing, billionaire with a British accent with such glasses could never get a date. But now modern culture has adopted these glasses into the mainstream, almost erasing their original, less-desireable associations along with the hopes and dreams of thousands of would-be Buddy Holly look-alikes. Will this new popularity, and consequent non-ironicy, force Buddy-Holly-glasses wearer into a more drastic representation of the nerd? Will people be encouraging acne, total knowledge of ever Lord of the Rings character, and lack of athletic ability? If so, I’ll be very popular in the next few years.

P.S. – There’s only one thing that cannot be excused with that wonderful irony: crocs. I don’t care if your great-grandfather on his deathbed gave them to you. Crocs are not okay.

Are You a Hipster?

Judging from their faces, I just lost my key demographic.

“‘Incapable of understanding?’ So we’re stupid? You just lost your Uzbekistan audience.”

The first rule of being a hipster is: Don’t talk about being a hipster. For those who haven’t seen Fight Club: “The first tenet of being a hipster can be explained with Scripture, for it is written: “They shall know you are hipster by your subscription to vinyl of the month clubs.” Certain portions of my demographic (namely, southwest Uzbekistan) are incapable of understanding either of those references, so I’ll state it bluntly: You are not a hipster if you say you are. In fact, the true hipster, that shining model of alternative perfection, that god of vinyl, that king of pretentiousness, will never once utter the  self-description of hipster. It just doesn’t happen. Indeed, they’ll even deny it vehemently, waving whatever they were pickling last in anger.  It’s not that the entire city of Portland is in denial. No, 93.78% (the percent has a decimal, so you know it’s true) of the real hipster population is well aware of their hipsterness–they just won’t admit.

I was told there'd be organic coffee?

I was told there’d be organic coffee?

The trouble is, if you admit you’re a hipster, you admit that you are part of a relatively large subculture; a fact which inherently contradicts your individualism (your individualism basically is a carefully subscribed to set of rules defined by said subculture, but shh). However, if someone else describes you as one, you aren’t saying you’re a part of some arbitrary societal paradigm: they are. If you are “hipsterized” by someone else, then you’re only “falsely” grouped into that hipster paradigm by a product of mainstream society, a victim to the thoughts of the “totez un-deck” majority, but not a martyr-by-suicide like you would be if you  classified yourself as such.

Never, never, even upon pain of death, admit to being a hipster. The second you do is the second you no longer are one. To conclude, please enjoy the wisdom of that great Canadian sumo wrestler Oscar Wilde*:

“I want my food dead. Not sick, not dying, dead.”**

*fact checker on honeymoon.
**quote relevancy checker is the fact checker’s wife.

Quick Tips for Hipsterizing Your iPhone

Lots of people have iPhones, including you. But you’re not part of that mainstream consumerist culture! So what that you waited hours in line for its release — you were there ironically. Then how do you prove to the world your iPhone is an extension of your personality and not that of a predetermined boxed corporate image like everyone else’s is?

1.Change the time to military. Not only will be people be confused when they borrow your phone for the time, they’ll also start seeing you as “counterculture” and a “mysterious outsider.”

What could be more ironic than no case at all?

What could be more ironic than no case at all?

2. Buy an ironic case for your iPhone (if you don’t have an iPhone, make getting one step 1.) Examples of these ‘ironic’ cases include: the back of an iPhone, a cassette tape, a cat with glasses, and a triangle, preferably with some sort of starry/galaxy background or wilderness.

3. Whenever in public, make sure someone sees you checking Pitchfork.

4. Never use Siri.

5. Don’t have any of those, “mainstream” apps like Facebook and Twitter. Instagram is okay, but not as required anymore.

6. For the more advanced, consider strategically timing reminders like: “remember to pick up artesian soaps from Sal” and “finish making your artesian guitar picks and grab your locally made, artesian guitar to play at an auction supporting the preservation of the Amazon and the Artisans of America organization.” Note: it doesn’t matter if you actually do these things, or are even acquainted with someone named Sal. What’s important is people think you are.

Follow these simple tips and in no time your iPhone will escape the masses of its standardized, conformist brethren, and you along with it will undergo a deep, meaningful and revealing personal growth that stemmed from buying cases imported from Shanghai on Amazon.