I have two modes of perfume. One is a probably toxic but beautiful and expensive smelling French fragrance for when I need to front society. The other is an organic, aura-protective and amazing one that nobody but me likes. It smells, apparently, like “one of those cluttered hippy shops.”
Pondering this observation bought about a Proust-style recall of these places.
Aside from the fact that “those cluttered hippy shops” are more likely to reek of Nag Champa, Dreamweed and Patchouli, why the clutter?
What Killed The Hippy Shop?
It is probably a historical question. The classic hippy shop is near dead.
What killed it?
- The Minimalist Vibe – Teetering shelves full of oriental bling and occult trinkets make sense when you have brought them in by the container but the contemporary new age aesthetic is barer. It’s more Goop and Moon Juice than a bazaar with weird esoteric books and Johfra Bosschart astrology art.
He, by the way, was a Sagittarius who made a fortune off his astro art – see above image – but really wanted to be appreciated for his darker and more complex works. Just looking at his work makes me smell Nag Champa and his zodiac pieces contributed to the Seventies’ astrology revival.
- Expensive rents – Many hippy shops were run by enthusiasts who wanted a job or retail business where they could work stoned and do the I-Ching all day. A place where dogs could sleep under a crystal skull display and nobody cared if they forgot about their tie-dye woad experiment soaking in the cauldron. The landlord was ideally your weed dealer and you could lurk quietly up the back of a mall next to the marital aids shop.
- Geopolitics And Modern Awareness – Charging into cute little Kasmir or Afghan villages to buy up their fabulous bedspreads and glass bead things is no longer the relaxed or even decadent experience that it was when people like the Edina Monsoon character in Ab Fab did it in the olden days. It’s not just the possibility of starring in a terrorist hostage video – Fair Trade has also stopped them swooping around buying up goods at exploitative prices.
- Big Biz Hippy Franchises – Even before Serenity Signaling was a thing and everybody became a coach or a channeler, franchises like Tree of Life saw the potential of applying chain-store logistics and efficiency to the zone formerly left to Seventies/Eighties aspirant spiritual initiates. The Internet was also undoubtedly a culprit.
But if experiential retail is the only way forward for discretionary shopping, why not revive the old style of hippy shop? Not the exploitation but a dark, maze-like labyrinth of menstrual maps and synthetic strawberry scent that only an alien would think real. Dragon’s Blood, henna and bags of mystery dust with lofty claims.
It would work if it was authentic. Like you tried to buy a Tarot card deck and got into a detailed dialogue about some arcane symbol.
Image: Johfra Bosschart