Beaching and Moaning: Non-necessity is the Mother of Reinvention

Firstly, you may have noticed that the advertisement for valued (and only) BSNYC/RTMS blogular sponsor "Just Coffee" has changed. This change is to reflect the fact that they have decided to honor me by offering a proprietary BSNYC/RTMS "blend." It looks like this, and you can obtain it by clicking on the ad or on the word "here:"
While I initially suggested simply stealing the beans from poor farmers in order to keep costs down, it turns out that Just Coffee is one of those "fair trade" operations, so I decided to humor them by letting them engage in their standard "woosie" business practices at considerable cost to me. While a BSNYC/RTMS-branded coffee blend may seem like yet another in an endless series of shark jumps, the truth is that blogular sponsorship is a necessity ITTET and I am grateful for Just Coffee's support. Also, given the fact that I would gladly claw the face off of a fellow human being in order to keep bringing readers the best free blog I can every day, I think promoting a fair trade coffee cooperative in Madison, WI is a vastly preferable alternative. (Such enterprises are not exactly pumping sludge into the Gulf of Mexico.) Plus, if you enter coupon code "BSNYC" on your Just Coffee order, you get 10% off--that amounts to a whopping $5,300 if you order 1,000 5lb bags, so you really can't afford not to do it.

Speaking of promotional activities, one strange component of being a blogular "curator" is that I am occasionally contacted by "PR" people and invited to product launches. Amazingly, some people find new products so exciting that they will wait on line for 36 hours in order to purchase them, and it is this misguided impulse that PR people tap into in order to lure bloggers to these launches and help them sell their client's product for free. Most recently I was invited to the "Pop Up Store Opening Party" for something called Alite Designs. The party will take place tonight.

I rarely attend even guileless social parties, let alone contrived ones designed to sell something, and so I will not be at this one. However, I was intrigued and amused to discover that Alite is in fact a "hipster" outdoor company, and that they appear to be to L.L. Bean what Urban Outfitters is to the Gap. If you're wondering what makes "hipster" outdoor living different from regular outdoor living, it's pretty simple: whereas most people try to take advantage of outdoor excursions by doing things like walking around and enjoying nature, "hipsters" just do the same thing they do in their gentrified faux dive bars, which is sit around and get drunk in a sad attempt to overcome their inability to relate to each other on a sincere and honest level:

They also lie awkwardly next to one another, each hoping that the other will initiate sex:

(All You "Hipsters" Neglect My "Ween")

Nobody ever does, which is a major downside of being part of a follower "culture."

The upside, of course, is all the ironic jamborees:

Alite's spirit of irreverence is also reflected in its staff bios, which include the obligatory "wacky" retro pop culture reference-themed question (in this case in the "Sesame Street" referenceway):

I'm assuming the animals coming out of their heads are supposed to represent "spirit animals," though I'm pretty sure in reality they all share the same one, which is a chipmunk in tight jeans trapped in an emotionally crippling state of eternal childhood.

Of course, like any company, Alite needs publicity. If they were a normal outdoors company, they might do something like sponsor an expedition. However, "hipsters" are not exactly known for their hardiness and planning skills, and a trendy Alite-sponsored mountaineering party that sets out to tackle Everest "at like 2:30-ish" would no doubt perish before finishing its first carton of American Spirits.

Realizing this, Alite have instead harnessed the awesome marketing power of urban cycling, and have engaged in a "collabiation" with none other than Outlier (the "hipster" Rapha), makers of impressively expensive shorts and pants. In the time-honored "hipster" tradition of inventing something unnecessary that already exists, their "collabo" has yielded a revolutionary new beach bag:

So groundbreaking is this bag that the PR person implored me to refrain from mentioning it until the above-linked Coolhunting post about it "dropped"--which, having been "cockblocked" myself by that yutz from the Times, I was more than happy to do. Now, though, I am presumably at liberty to share with you this incredible new satchel:

In telling me about the bag, the PR person alluded to some "secret" beach Outlier had apparently discovered, and indeed the Coolhunting post mentions "a NYC seaside hotspot accessible only by bike." Since there is no area beach (or really any place anywhere) that is "accessible only by bike," my guess is that the Outlier crew have recently started exploring the Rockaways and, like Columbus "discovering" the New World, have taken full credit for the find despite the presence of other people who have lived, clammed, and sunbathed there for centuries. At this rate it is only a matter of time before they discover Atlantic Beach to the east, become seduced by the whole "Flamingo Kid" aesthetic, and pool their resources in order to rent an ironic "hipster" cabana. (Gold chais buried in chest hair will become all the rage, and cabana boys will become Messengers 2.0.)

In any case, after discovering a beach that non-"hipsters" already knew about, Outlier then set about inventing a style of bag these non-"hipsters" have long been using to take their stuff to the beach--this being a tote bag. Unlike a regular tote bag, though, this bag is "designed to carry a towel, sandals and food while staying securely strapped on in transit"--which was, I thought, the point of those giant messenger bags they already had. It seems to me most of the messenger bags I see these days are large enough to carry not only a towel, sandals, and food, but also at least six pairs of Kadima paddles and plenty of sunblock to protect their pallid flesh and costly sleeve tattoos from the damaging rays of the sun. I guess they just don't look "beachy" enough, and we're entering into a bold new age of "hipster" resort wear.

Granted, as a blogger currently flogging his own coffee blend I shouldn't be critical, and the truth is I wish Outlier nothing but success. (As for Alite, I'm largely indifferent to their success or failure, though I do get the sense their "spirit animals" aren't so much guiding them as simply humping their legs.) Still, it's difficult not to comment on the manner in which "hipster" companies seem to take activities and products that already exist and then re-package and re-present them as references to those activities and products, so that your outdoor excursion or beach day becomes a stylized homage that is easily photographed for social networking.

Of course, if you're a hoary old brand like Cinelli that has suddenly found itself a "hipster" favorite, instead of reinventing something you have the luxury of simply mining your own past. For this reason, Cinelli is re-issuing its once cutting-edge but now impractical and useless Laser:

I can't wait to see these headed out to the beach.

But what if you don't have a suitably "cool" beach bike, let alone a bag to go with it? Well, you can always rent one on Craigslist:

Want to rent fixie/SS for the weekend - $60 (15 Hawthorne)
Date: 2010-06-23, 7:43PM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

I'm from Texas, here in the Prospect park area for the week and I'm looking for a fixie or single speed to rent. Nothing fancy, just a beater with an oiled chain. I'm on a budget so I'd like to keep it cheap but I also would like to have the bike from Friday to Sunday so I can hit the Critical Mass and then the beach. Anyway, please help a country out...junkers, beaters, whatever just as long as it's fixed or SS. Thanks.

Renting a bike to ride in Critical Mass is like tucking your penis between your legs to participate in a women's rights march.

Also, if you plan to "hit up" your local secret bicycles-only beach this summer and you want to get noticed, make sure you have plenty of tattoos:

Tattooed biker at Bespoke - m4w - 29 (Fort Greene)
Date: 2010-06-22, 12:42PM EDT

Not really a missed connection since I've seen you walking dogs on Adelphi and riding your bike on Clinton, and I'm sure I will see you again. Your legs have a few tattooes and the backs of thighs have tats in the same position. I think that's what really gets me.
Yesterday I walked right by you on Lafayette and South Portland. My heart jumped. You smiled. I dumped my laundry off and ran out to see if I could stare at you more. I saw you go into Bespoke. Then come out. I felt a little creepy watching you. The worst was that I found myself imagining that my girlfriend was you last night.
I was wearing a primus t-shirt.

Once again, humanity proves its willingness to reduce others to their "body art." By the way, if you're unfamiliar with Craigslist "missed connection" jargon, "I was wearing a Primus t-shirt" is code for "I am a gigantic dork."

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