I had no real idea what sort of people would turn up at the show – for which the Grand Canal Theatre was sold out – especially when it emerged that the support act was 1970s folkie Roy Harper, whose career Newsom has revived. But I was taken aback at how alike – at least physically – most of the audience seemed to be.
They were nearly all thin, for one thing. The male attenders also had a strong tendency to have beards. Not big bushy beards like 1970s folkies, or members of the Taliban. No, the beards were thin too. And the most uniform thing about the audience was that – I swear – they were all 27 years old. So, at least when my daughter and I were averaged out, we were about the right age.
I have since learned that many of those present may have been “hipsters”, an exclusive, self-policing subculture of sophisticated urbanites who, according to The Hipster Handbook (2003), “possess tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed cool by the cool”. Mind you, the same handbook cautions that hipsters no longer use the word “cool”, preferring “deck” as an adjective of approval. But that was back in 2003, and the codes will all have been changed again since then to prevent the likes of me getting in, no matter how many Joanna Newsom albums we have.