of clowns and hipsters

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yesterday, when i took the dog out, i saw a man on the towpath. in a top hat. on a unicycle .

that’s right. my sleepy hamlet is being invaded. but by whom?

screen print elaine axten circa 1981

clowns? in the neighbourhood? dear god, no.

now, like a certain blogger at lucy’s football i am a bit creeped out by clowns, hence the freaky screen print made back when i was a student. six separate colours. a serious committment to expressing my clown fear. so the question is, have we been invaded by CLOWNS or is this the beginning of the hoxton creep that i have been predicting? clowns and hipsters being not completely separate categories as far as i can see. a venn diagram would bear me out, i’d be willing to bet.

here’s nathan barley from the prophetic 2005 series of the same name, set, naturally, in hoxton.


n. barley – the hipster’s hipster.

ten asked if the invader had “starburns”. starburns being the would-be interesting character in community who styles himself thus;


(here’s an instructional video as to the etymology of starburns for non US readers)

and if you haven’t seen community yet, i beg of you, just go buy the box sets. it’s very funny television.

so, yes. back to the “hoxton creep”. my prediction is that the hipsters, having colonized the entire near east, as well as pushing through the blood brain barrier represented by the north circular, the river lea, and the olympic park in concert with many other non residential elements, will leap over the hasidic enclave in stamford hill and begin to colonize tottenham. there are some other people living on stamford hill, but even if all other housing was taken over by hipsters, stamford hill is europe’s biggest hasidic community, so they’d never be the dominant aesthetic. you can’t compete with two and a half thousand people dressed entirely in black, the men with massive furry hats and shiny coats and the women with their wigs and strangely unfashionable black quilted jackets and over the knee black skirts, no matter how outlandish your clowny costume.

at the moment there is little in the way of bohemianism in evidence around the  riviera, but tottenham’s a fairly cheap area by london standards, and i have heard tell of people living in WAREHOUSES near here.

yes, you see?

as an aside, there happens to have been (don’t know if it’s still there) a CLOWN SCHOOL on hoxton square, the  epicenter of hipsterism. the very idea makes me squirm – a whole school of people learning CLOWN SKILLS. unless, of course, you are going there in order to round out your diamond thieving skills. that seems more sane to me.

that other hipster comedythe mighty booshmay have started life set in a zoo, but it soon decamped to a shop in hoxton called the nabootique, after it’s owner, the wizard, naboo. our hapless heroes spend many hours manning the shop which doesn’t sell anything anyone would want. the essential hipster shop. i couldn’t find any very relevant clips, though whole episodes are available on youtube, but here’s a little taster for if you haven’t watched the whole series several times…

because if i can’t use this blog to endlessly fan on about the mighty boosh, what’s the point of anything?

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8 thoughts on “of clowns and hipsters

  1. I had a friend who was a clown, not just somebody who said they were a clown, but a working clown, who worked for the Barnum and Bailey Circus, on of the larger circus companies in the world. He was a bit weird at times, but had some talents that were entertaining and useful. He was a ventriloquist, he was a very accomplished magician, and he could tell the best stories. I haven’t seen him in years, he was in his 80′s more than a decade ago, but he was a man with a warm heart, a very giving man, who loved children (he was a foster parent, a good foster parent) and would work for free if it was for a good cause. He overcame my dislike for clowns, and from that point i could clearly distinguish real clowns from the people who act like clowns but haven’t a clue. BTW, if you hate clowns, be forewarned, they gather several times a year in various resorts for conventions. They create mayhem during those times at those resorts trying to out do each other and play pranks on unsuspecting tourists.

    • it’s just brilliant, isn’t it? i love all the film and tv references. and i love abed.

      i wouldn’t have known about it if amy hadn’t mentioned it in passing on twitter, and i thought – lemme check that out. mind you, i think abed’s love of cougar town is misguided. i watched it, very thin by comparison to community.

      i loved that M*A*S*H* episode.

  2. YAY STARBURNS! Boo, clowns. *shudder*

    I like Cougar Town. Not as much as Community, but I like it.

    I would not like someone riding around in a top hat on a unicycle. Not at all. I would secretly hope in my heart of hearts he hit a rock and fell over.

    • i liked cougar town ok, but i watched it back to back, and it wasn’t up to it. whereas community IS.

      i wouldn’t have thought that much of it if i’d seen it in bethnal green. not that the place was hooching with unicyclists, but it would seem of a piece. here, it just seemed like foreshadowing.

  3. (ex mia_oia – had to get a new name so I could follow a couple of blogs) Clowns scare the Bjeezus out of me too! That painting is incredibly evocative. Here’s hoping there’s not a clown invasion any time soon. x

    • you’ve been missed, hinny! glad to have you around again.

      clowns are pretty powerful as an image – the weirdness of having the real face right there in plain sight and saying something quite different from the painted on face. *shivers*

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