Hipsters. Word on the street is that they’re everywhere. The only problem, as far as I can see it, is that there doesn’t seem to be a concrete definition of what actually makes one a hipster, and no-one will ever admit to being one, so you can see why I’m a little confused on the whole subject. When does one cross the line from being generally artsy and non-mainstream to being branded a too-cool-for-school wearer of skinny jeans, leather shoes with no socks, ironic shirts and elaborate
facial hair? Yet as so often is the case with catchy but ill-defined terms, their vague nature doesn’t stop people throwning them about with gay abandon, which is what I found whenever someone I knew would refer to Ezra Pound. Apparently it was a “hipster bar”, a venue shrouded in ultra-hip mystique and patronized only by those mystical creatures known as “hipsters”. So you can see why, when on route to check it out with some friends on Friday night, I approached the whole thing with a little trepidation. Would I not be cool enough and be turned away before I was even allowed inside, or would the simple act of going there actually make me a hipster? This latter question was of particular concern, as I really don’t have the legs to pull off skinny jeans.
Named after the American early modernist literary figure, Ezra Pound is tucked away down a discreet alleyway in the heart of Northbridge, making it harder to find and thus much cooler (if one follows hipster logic). Once in you’ll find a long inside section with adjacent alleyway seating
decked out in the minimalist, retro-chic that is all the rage these days. You know the deal, lots of exposed wood and brick, eclectic recycled furniture etc. It’s pretty much the interior design equivalent of someone that spends half an hour in front of the mirror perfecting their bed-head hairdo; they’ve taken a lot of time and effort to make it look like they don’t care at all. That being said, I like it when it’s done well, and Ezra Pound manages this while giving the whole thing a cool, grimy, urban edge by coating the alley walls in slick graffiti art. Drinks wise they mix a mean cocktail and have a good selection of wines, beers and spirits, with a particularly quirky highlight being the long-necks that come served in brown paper bags, homeless person style.
Stopping there for a few drinks before heading off elsewhere, I can definitely say that I enjoyed the place, yet unfortunately the visit did little to clarify my hipster conundrum. Yes, when viewed in a certain light, the décor and mimicking of homeless chic could be viewed as pretentious, but the whole point of having small bars is that they do have these little quirks that give them personality and set them apart from other places. Now does the fact that I liked them make me a hipster? I don’t know, but what I do know is that as much as everyone might seem to sneer at them, if Perth is to continue its development from hick town to happenin’ cosmopolitan hub then we actually need hipsters, much as everyone might hate to admit it. After all, they’re the ones that open cool little bars and cafes, that are in to cool music and cool fashion, and if a city is to ever become truly cool it needs to be
inhabited by people who truly believe that they are (regardless of whether it’s true or not), and no-one can deny that hipsters certainly possess this quality above all else.