Oh, how New Orleans loves to hate on the hipsters, moving to a city from places and living here with their clothes and their legs like it's the most natural thing in the world. Yet the animosity for their brethren is part of a dance that's as old as time, or at least as old as a 64-year old trombonist, as this newspaper clip proves. It relates the fist use of the word in this city's newspaper of record, as part of the Great Jazz Wars of the 1950s, when progressive jazz musicians took up brass against the be-bop hipster musicians, in a time that historians now call a watershed moment of jazz on jazz violence. Here, Stan Kenton is, perhaps, standing on the wrong side of jazzstory with his stance against be-bop, and name-calling of the "cool, phoney and pseudo" hipsters - words now reclaimed by hipsters and used freely on the streets of the Bywater.
Of the lesser-known hotel phenomena, one of the most interesting to observe is the that of the passive-aggressive floor gloat. It’s not always completely obvious, but be alert and you can spot it more or less every time you get in the lift/elevator with other people.
Generally, the higher the floor you have to go to, the swankier your room will be, and so letting people know that you’re on a higher floor than them, and therefore a better person in every conceivable way, is an art form, not one that your humble narrator gets to practise too much, though, let him assure you.
I do suffer from near-crippling floor envy, though, so I feel I can speak on this subject with some authority. The seasoned Floor Gloater, residing in a suitably high ranking floor, will hang back in the lobby and let the masses enter the lift first. Then they will wait, sometimes until the doors are closing, not doing anything in the hope that someone asks them which floor they need. They can then announce it loudly to the entire lift, ensuring that the people at the back, who may have missed the nuances of button pressing, are completely up to speed with the floor number involved.
If they are not asked which floor they would like, then Plan B comes into effect. This does involve button pressing, but with such a flourish that anyone sharing the confines of the lift would be hard pressed not to notice the superior ranking. A forefinger demonstratively going up and down the panel of possible numbers a few times usually suffices, though the more brazen might sometimes throw in a rhetorical “Now, what was my floor again…?” just to make sure.
The Floor Gloater’s worst nightmare is gambling on the superiority of a floor that is only second or third from the top. Imagine the humiliation of having gone through the above process, and then seeing the crowds disperse at their inferior heights, only for one person to remain, entering their floor only on the way up. This someone is somehow on the very highest floor, someone who, in the assurance that they could not be trumped, held back until the last possible minute to assert dominance.
This is the work of a true Floor Gloating Artist, executing a very specific and crushing floor victory over the would-be Floor Pretender, the plebs on the lowlier floors not even worthy of seeing this elite punishment being doled out. Had they even witnessed it (having missed their floor and having to wait for the car to go down again), its significance would surely be lost on them. They who haven’t seen such riches can, after all, live with being poor.
There's nothing wrong with romanticising travel. We all do it to some extent, whether it's reminiscing over a Flickr folder of holiday snaps, or persuading ourselves that our upcoming mini-break in Helsinki is DEFINITELY going to save our flagging relationship. Travel has inspired novels, poetry and song.
And now. A musical.
Only THIS musical is romaticising the BOOKING PROCESS. Which we're not sure brings along quite the same emotional, er, baggage. Can we really wax lyrical about price comparison websites or negotiating cancellation fees? Jim Strong, president of Strong Travel Services in (of course) America believes we can. So much so that he has commissioned a one-act musical set in the offices of a travel agency.
Titled 'Craving For Travel', Strong had Greg Edwards and Andy Sandberg whip up a show designed to re-energise the image of lowly travel agents - for too long now squashed under the might of online booking sites. The show "features the characters Gary and Joanne, rival travel agents and former spouses, competing to outdo each other by fulfilling ever more outlandish requests from their demanding clients."
It's - predictably? - Off Broadway for now. Whether it will be (artistically) Going Anywhere Nice in the future remains to be seen. You can read more HERE.