Sunday, January 27, 2008

Curse The Internet

Nathan Barley anyone?, originally uploaded by macdermog.

I am in need of a new collective noun. I need to know what a packed mass of hipsters might be called. At present the best I can come up with is either "an hauteur" or "a pretension". Other suggestions are welcome.

I was presented with this knotty little problem because of a trip to my local coffee shop this afternoon. As I've worked both days this weekend I've been in serious need of caffeinated refreshment and as is usual I took a trip to Flat White, a lovely little coffee shop that's been making great coffee in Soho for about 2 years. I've been a customer of theirs practically since they opened.

I am used to seeing the same grizzled, battle-weary faces of post-production types like me who are pulling similarly ridiculous hours and are there for the same reason, i.e. to get a ten minute break from our workstations and to get a good cup of coffee. At the weekends you get a few others who have come to Soho shopping but it's normally still pretty civilised.

This has all changed thanks to the BBC. On Friday they ran this piece on their news website. I was talking to the guy who owns Flat White about it yesterday and he told me that the traffic to Flat White's website that this piece had generated was such that it had taken out their server on Friday afternoon. It appeared that Flat White had created a buzz for itself. Saturday seemed busier than usual in the cafe but today was unreal. I have never seen so many low-riding skinny-fit black jeans paired with white trainers, emo fringes and assorted keffiyeh knotted around skinny necks, desperately trying to out-cool one another with their 'phones, gadgets and apathetic disinterest. I felt suddenly trapped in an episode of Nathan Barley. To be surrounded by a cafe rammed with self-facilitating media nodes is pretty nasty.

My one saving grace was that because I am such a frequent customer the staff know me and this meant that once I'd fought my way through the massed ranks of trustafarians and put in my order I could then beat a hasty retreat outside to wait, knowing that when my coffee was ready I would be waved at through the window to come and collect my brew. I am hoping that the notoriously fickle venality of this new group of empty-headed toss-pots will last but a couple of weeks until the next hot place is annointed by their hive mind and they vacate, like a swarm of distressed-denim clad locusts. I am keeping my fingers crossed, I want my cafe back.

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