When is there too much hip in a hipster hotel or when are we too old for a hipster hotel?
Is it when the two men behind the reception desk appear to me to be inappropriately dressed? They are wearing a simple uniform of black trousers and white shirt. A uniform that has always looked smart until today. The shirts appear to have come directly out of the laundry basket. They are wrinkled and creased and have shrunk dramatically. The long sleeves are now somewhat less than long. The cuffs will not button and are left open and flapping, all the better for showing off the sleeve tattoos. If the collar was ever designed to be buttoned around the neck, those days are long gone. Inches separate the two ends, and the button below is also undone. The sleeve tats are clearly much more than sleeves and continue up the chest and neck. I am only grateful that the black trousers, while pleasantly tight, cover everything they are supposed to. I presume the whole effect is planned by the designer of the uniforms as both men look identical. Their beards look identical. Even their hair looks identical, a little too long and ungroomed, as if they have just stepped out of the shower. Whether together or separately remains unclear.
Is there too much hip, or am I just too old? I know Ed is longing to make the obvious comment here, but I will insist on my power of veto. The two men, it must be said make a clear case for the second argument, by being utterly charming, amusing and completely without any of the attitude which might come with the look.
The room too begs the same question. Over recent years I have come to embrace the use of concrete on floors and more recently on walls. It can be a great look. But this is the first time I have seen it on ceilings
It is unnerving. Lying in bed I stare up at it, unsure of how the builders got the concrete to stick to the ceiling while making it perfectly flat. I wonder how heavy it is and what would happen if it came crashing down in an earthquake. Does Montreal have earthquakes? I might survive a plaster ceiling coming down on top of me, but concrete would be certain death. My obituary would read “flattened by a concrete ceiling” an unexpected and unwelcome ending, totally without glamour.
It will not do at all.
As I lie there with these thoughts running through my mind, I also notice that there is nothing on the ceiling; not one sprinkler head or fire alarm, presumably because it is visually messy to attach them to concrete and run the necessary pipes and wires. Most hotel room ceilings are scarred by numerous sprinklers and fire alarms, ugly little things which no one has ever been able to make attractive, but all of a sudden I miss them. Surely this is too much hip.
The furniture while minimalist, definitely grabs my attention. At first I think the two chairs are plastic and tacky but closer inspection proves them to be made of leather.
Now I think they are incredibly stylish. One is a rocking chair, but the back is so low that it offers no back support. I dare not rock in it for fear of tipping over backwards. A bit like Graham Norton’s red chair (if you don’t know what I am talking about you MUST watch the Graham Norton Show.) Death by rocking chair might sound slightly better than death by concrete, but it is not high up on my to do list.
And finally the bathroom. I was worried that this hotel would go for the ultra modern open bathroom, a concept that is definitely too hip for a man of my age. I appreciate my privacy and at first I thought I was going to get it. The walls facing the bedroom are for the most part real walls although there is a floor to ceiling window at the end of the shower but that I can live with. But the door from the bedroom into the toilet is also glass. True it is frosted, but when I am sat on the toilet with the light on I am lit up like a Jeff Koons art installation and balloon art has never been my thing.
So, have I answered the question? In my own defense I did choose to stay in this hotel. I picked it because it looked hip, interesting and different. And it is. Strangely enough it is the hotel hipsters that run it and frequent it that don’t look different. They don’t stand out from the crowd, they are the crowd. In my day being hip meant being creative and not blending in. So perhaps the question should be “Is there enough hip in hipster.”
And as for the questions ” Am I too old?” I had hoped the answer was “no”. But then I just used the phrase “in my day”. Sadly that answers the question perfectly,