Belfast Telegraph

How the anti-hipster mob failed to show their class in cafe attack

By Lindy McDowell

Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your Coco-Pops. As revolutionary slogans go, it's not quite aux armes citoyens, is it? But spurred on by the horrid decadence of a cafe in London serving up the likes of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes with your choice of milk (soya? almond?) and assorted toppings (cranberries? peanut butter chips?), a crowd of enraged protestors have marched on that establishment demanding equality, justice and, presumably, a return to the reassuring proletarian solidity of the traditional Full English.

The cafe, called Cereal Killers, has been going great guns since it was set up some time back by a couple of twin brothers, the Keerys, from Belfast.

Based in the one-time exclusively working-class Brick Lane area, it caters for the sort of well-heeled clientele who think nothing of forking - or spooning - out five quid for a bowl of snap, crackle and pop.

To the protestors on their now-annual demonstration against the "gentrification" of the area, what they see as these cereal offenders are inevitable grist to the mill.

No one was actually hurt in the attack, which included a smoke-bomb being thrown, windows daubed with paint and much baying and howling by masked protesters waving flaming torches and pig heads (presumably plastic) on poles. But it can't have been pleasant for staff and customers.

Like something from the Middle Ages is how one of the cafe owners sums it up.

Now, I do see how the cereal cafe business might elicit some contempt. One of the specials on their menu - and I cringe as I write this - is Unicorn Poop. (Ricicles, marshmallows, semi-skimmed milk, since you ask.) But each to their own.

And as the Keery brothers point out, if people weren't happy to pay their breakfast prices, they'd soon go out of business. There is a demand for what they serve up.

As for gentrification ... Rice Krispies and strawberry Pop Tarts? It's hardly Downton Abbey's kedgeree, is it? Interestingly, the anti-gentrification protestors see the new enemy as not just the usual gather-up of capitalism, Establishment, bankers and global multinationals, but now also hipsters.

Those bushy-bearded boys, in other words, who dress like DH Lawrence and who have, until recently anyway, been seen as fashionably cool as coconut milk frappuccino.

(Where does this leave Lefty, but also hipster-ish Russell Brand?) During the mayhem, some roaring protesters (they'd obviously had their Weetabix) wore signs identifying themselves as "Hipster Police". Posters for the march had warned "Hipsters Beware".

Tweeting disgust at such targeting, the Cereal Killers cafe Twitter feed later declared "#hatecrime".

Hmmm, really? Hipsterism. Up there (or down there) with racism and homophobia? The protest doubtless reflects an anger - in many ways a justifiable and understandable anger - that working people are being priced out of London.

And that traditionally working-class areas are now being encroached upon and the metropolis is becoming more and more elitist and unaffordable.

However - and it is a big however - hounding and intimidating working people trying to make an honest living is a despicable way of expressing that anger.

Plus, as always happens in these cases these days, it's almost inevitable that some of the protestors will turn out to be trust fund toffs just out for a bit of a riot for the hell of it.

Which is why, in this instance, squirm though we may at such hipster brekkie options as Chocopottomus (Coco-Pops, Krave and chocolate milk), the time has come to take a stand.

Je Suis Sugar Puffs.

Water the chances Mars is safe for us?

Nasa announced it has found evidence of flowing water on Mars. Where’s a plumber when you need one?

It is a fascinating find and a step forward in man’s outreach towards the extra-terrestrial community. But I’m still a bit unsettled by the thought that more caution may be required as we explore this marshy unknown.

There is no guarantee that alien life, when we do finally track it down, will be pleased to see us. I’m not just worried that it will turn out to be slimy, boggle-eyed, clawed creatures with higher intelligence and better weapons. Dangerous bacteria in underground Martian water could be dodgy enough, too.

Public transport drive is a dead end

Is anyone even remotely surprised to learn that, in spite of the fact that a blue fortune — more than £1bn — has been spent on trying to get us to leave the car at home and use public transport, bus passenger numbers have been falling?

Car drivers have been demonised, fined and penalised, while roads have been carved into bus lanes here, cycle lanes there. And still there has been no substantial move over to public transport.

Maybe if the transportation chiefs and planners got out a bit more and sampled the morning/evening rush-hour commute for themselves, it might enlighten them as to what it’s really like in the real world.

But then — the chances of that?

Belfast Telegraph


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