Slings, arrows, and naming names

Who are Tim Mays, Sam Chammas, Chuck Patton, Paul Horn, Dave Good?

The venom is no surprise.
  • The venom is no surprise.

Dear Hipster: Your list of great albums sucks. You suffer from a lack of taste. Go back to making jokes about mustaches and Cap’n Crunch. — Ethan

Hipster: Nice work leaving out Paul’s Boutique, hipster. You had one job.— Dan

Dear Hipster: Surfer Rosa is clearly better than Doolittle. Preferring Doolittle is the surest sign of a weak, hipster mind; the indication of a follower, not a leader.— Anonymous

Dear Hipster: Not a bad list of hipster discs. All wrong, of course. Nonetheless, you did your best, and I don’t fault you. — Pope Clement the Hip

This comes as no surprise, and all I can say is:


DJ: Besides you, are there any notable hipsters in San Diego you’re at liberty to identify? Lurking somewhere, in the vicinity of the heights, the hills, or the parks (north or south); maybe right off of 30th street, but not too far east, perhaps in La Mesa. I need some names and faces, or more to go on than the abstract profiles and characteristics that have been sketched over time in this column. — David

We laugh about it now, but back in the late twenty-aughts there was a high-level conspiracy to root out hipster subversives who had allegedly infiltrated otherwise polite society. Clandestine committees formed, issued subpoenas to trendy locals, and generally made life difficult for the hipper set. One minute, you’re innocently walking along 30th Street, headed for a bitter craft ale of some sort, looking au courant in your skinny jeans, fedora, and mustache. The next minute, boom, some wannabe plasters your picture up on a hipster-ridicule-themed blog somewhere.

It was all downhill from there. Blacklisted from lucrative bartending gigs, no longer relied upon for restaurant recommendations, and somehow there are no longer any available appointments at the local tattoo parlor.

Yup. Dark times, indeed, during the Flannel Scare. Once the Un-Ironic Activities Committee had zeroed in on a hipster, the only way to clear his reputation would be to name names. Needless to say, fingers were pointed — not by me but by people I knew at the time. It wasn’t pretty.

Ergo, you must understand my reticence to name names, even in our more enlightened times. Certain local luminaries deserve credit for blazing the trails for what became today’s hipster scene, e.g., Casbah founder Tim Mays, for giving future stars a stage; or Sam Chammas, the ingénieur behind Live Wire and the Whistle Stop, for laying the foundations for a generation of contemporary craft-beer dive bars. Chuck Patton saw the whole hipster coffee thing coming a mile away. Paul Horn has probably made more hipster jokes than any other San Diegan. The Reader’s own Dave Good is the Platonic ideal of a homegrown hipster hero in many aspects.

And yet, those aren’t the hipsters you’re looking for. Just because these pioneers laid the foundations of today’s hipster scene, for which I eternally tip my hat, the most important local hipsters are the nameless bartenders, baristas, tattoo artists, scenesters, fixed-gear bicycle aficionadi, rockers, DJs, artists, freelance alt-weekly newspaper columnists, and full-time barroom-trivia hosts — they’re the ones who keep the dream alive all day every day.

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