Tuesday 23 July 2019

Beware the wristband hippies

Amazonian warrior: Vanessa Hudgens at the Coachella Music Festival in California
Amazonian warrior: Vanessa Hudgens at the Coachella Music Festival in California
Director Werner Herzog. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

The Sex Pistols told us to "never trust a hippy" - sage advice for anyone who has ever been on the wrong side of a batik bum-bag or within olfactory distance of a dreadlock.

When they made that pronouncement in 1985, the British punk rockers were talking about the tofu-and-apathy legacy of the free-love generation. Little did they know that the hippies would give birth to a generation of cheesecloth copycats 30 years later.

Anyone who has been to a music festival in the last five years will have noticed the rise of the wristband hippies - a tribe of women who are all about peace, love and Pilates for three days of each year.

While original hippies promoted personal expression, wristband hippies look like identikit, new-age Bratz dolls wearing a regulation uniform of teeny-tiny shorts, floral head garlands and something - anything - fringed.

The look is fun and free-spirited, even though they spent the last month typing 'boho' into the ASOS searchbar. (It takes a lot of time and effort to look like you haven't got a care in the world.)

We could easily point the finger at Kate Moss for initiating the trend, but her devil-may-care attitude passes anyone's hippy litmus test. The real culprits are women like Alessandra Ambrosio, Vanessa Hudgens and Gigi Hadid who interpret every festival invite as an opportunity to dress as Stevie Nicks crossed with an Amazonian warrior - only then to spend the weekend posing beside branded signage and hanging out behind the velvet ropes of the VIP bar. Namaste.

Summer of love fashion, at its essence, represents freedom, and while you could argue that modern festivals are all about abandonment, the style often jars with the personality profiles of the people wearing it.

It's difficult to take your anally-retentive friend seriously when, shortly after having a panic attack over a missing tent peg, she gives a passer-by the peace sign. Likewise, no human should ever be subjected to the sight of their boss wearing a bindhi or their cranky neighbour sporting a war bonnet.

Flower-child fashion, like punk and grunge and acid house, is imbued with counter-cultural spirit. And that spirit is cheapened when it becomes more about style than substance.

Never trust a wristband hippie. Otherwise, if you're going to Forbidden Fruit today, here's how to tell them apart from their earliest ancestors…

New age of the hippy


* Ran around in the nip at the Monterey Pop Festival

* Was an early pioneer of veganism

* Read The I Ching cover to cover

* Had a Florentine bracelet tattoo like Janis Joplin

* Re-birthed the entire universe after taking a megadose of LSD

* Scented her home with incense and Patchouli oil

* Worshipped Jimi Hendrix (right)

* Refused to work for the man, man

* Went on the hippy trail to India

* Wore clothes from local second-hand shops


* Displayed some underboob in a crochet vest at Body & Soul

* Doesn't put anything containing chemicals into her body (except Botulinum toxin)

* The Secret literally changed her life

* Has a tattoo on her forearm reminding her to breathe

* Thinks nothing of spending €55 on a candle, as long as it's organic

* Fantasises about marrying Matt Healy of The 1975

* Prides herself on being able to pronounce ayahuasca and knows someone who smoked DMT

* Wears a dress that looks like it's vintage but in fact cost €300 from Free People

Walk this way for a Werner Herzog-inspired Irish music video

Director Werner Herzog. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

There are concepts and then there are Werner Herzog concepts. Fans of Rusangano Family can look forward to something of the latter when the Limerick trio releases their new single 'I Know You Know'.

Dublin director Bob Gallagher is busy at work on the accompanying music video, the idea for which was hatched shortly after he finished a course under the tutelage of the renegade filmmaker in Cuba.

Apparently Herzog was "very hands-on". As for his reputation for being bad-tempered? "I think he comes across as blunt but it's actually just him precisely cutting through to the core," Gallagher tells me.

Gallagher, who has worked with Girl Band, SOAK and James Vincent McMorrow, was one of 55 international filmmakers chosen for the workshop in which they each had just 10 days to find a story, shoot, edit and deliver it. "Herzog had an expression he'd gotten from an old cowboy about how to make a successful western: 'Get them on their horses fast'," recalls Gallagher. "So that became a daily dictum.

"The other takeaway was self-sufficiency. It was actually reassuring to hear Herzog talk about struggling to get films made and his suggestion was to 'get a job as a bouncer in a sex club or whatever', save the money you need to make a film and then you have creative freedom."

The German director, who wrote a book about his three-week pilgrimage from Munich to Paris, also stressed the importance of taking the road less travelled. "[He] kept reiterating the phrase 'the world somehow reveals itself to those who travel long distances on foot' so I wanted to test that for myself."

Back in Ireland, the director embarked on a walk from Dublin to Limerick, during which he conducted interviews on the subject of mental health. Rusangano Family, says Gallagher, were the ideal co-conspirators for the project and they immediately came on board with the idea of weaving the interviews into the video for their new single, which is out on June 16.

To apply for tickets to the video release party on June 14, email iknowyouknowevent@gmail.com (numbers are limited).


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