Special guest post by Melody-Ann Jones Kaufmann
Any night of the week finds the Silk Road teeming with a lively kaleidoscope of nightlife, the sights and sounds of which are as intoxicating as the drinks served. But something has been occurring in Melbourne of late. Something noticed more by the tourists than anyone else. Something is missing.
As one Melbourne bar patron put it, "I've been in Australia almost 2 months and haven't seen a koala yet. Apparently you can't find them in Melbourne bars. I've checked." He's right. You can hit up any of the well-known bars in Melbourne and you won't find koalas anywhere. This mysterious absence leaves one to wonder what happened to cause it. Was there some sort of anti-koala sentiment, or has the koala simply found a better place to drink?
One of the locals describes it this way: “Koalas were the biggest scenesters of all. Back when massive dance clubs were all the rage. Melbourne nightlife just isn’t what it used to be.”
Koala expert Dr. Sha’gie Fuhr points out "Clearly they saw a kindred spirit after interacting with several vegan hipsters. When your diet consists entirely of eucalyptus leaves it’s tough to find a group with whom you can really identify. While the brain of its ancestors was significantly larger—filling the entire cranial cavity—the koalahipster has a drastically reduced brain size; a degeneration that is likely an adaptation to leading a life of narcissism coupled with a diet that is low in protein.”
Fuhr further states that the koalahipster’s distrust of any mainstream commercially-promoted trend has lead to its increased absence in the well-know Melbourne bar scene. Apparently, if you wish to drink with a koalahipster you are far more likely to find them at some of the watering holes generally only known to the locals who tend to shun tourists in an attempt to retain the culture specific to their area, rather than catering to what the koalahipster terms the “culturally ignorant” attitudes of the tourist industry.
Fuhr points out this drive for counter-culture progressivism has lead to the culturally sensitive koalahipster shunning mainstream societal conventions in favor of pioneering lesser-known cultural trends and ideals. The koalahipster defies the traditional "rules" of physical attraction—possibly due to the similar appearance of the males and females. The koalahipsters favor androgynous hairstyles that feature messy shag cuts and a similar manner of dress for both the male and female.
Koalahipsters have become the new trendsetters—morphing Melbourne nightlife as the industry tries to capture their elusive affections. The crowded see-and-been-seen clubs with their cacophony of overhyped house music and Ken-loves-Barbie clientele are giving way to muted coffeehouses featuring natural wood seating at varying heights that offer after-hours indie bands willing to entertain small-brained creatures that believe themselves to be intellectually superior to nearly everyone else.
The koalahipster impacts the Melbourne music & fashion concepts as well, with natural-grown fur trending up while those without the genetic predisposition to “grown their own” simply spouting anti-koalahipster rhetoric while listening to bands that have become successful due to the influence of koalahipsters—who seem to favor ensembles with low guttural tones that often sound like the snoring of a congested walrus. One would think that the koalahipsters have an agenda, for the moment a certain concept—be it of fashion or music—has been adopted into the mainstream of Melbourne nightlife, these fickle beasts move on to something else. For example, if you ask any koalahipster about eucalyptus leaves you can be guaranteed two things: 1) They know ALL the best varieties 2) you will never have heard of any of them.
Melody-Ann Jones Kaufmann is a member of the Sakai development team at the University of Florida. She is also the mother of two autistic boys, and an aspiring author currently writing the first book of her series, The Trinity Tales, under the pen name Safireblade.