7 November, 2016 17:15
CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
The creative underclass of New South Wales and Victoria have spent the last six months limboing between political and fashionable obligations.
Across Australia, a growing number of pubs, and patrons, have taken part in a political boycott of Australia’s highest-selling beer brands, in a showing of support for 55 workers who lost their jobs at Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) in June. These men and women are also known as the #CUB55.
The maintenance workers lost their jobs after CUB terminated a machine maintenance contract with employer Quant, they were then offered their jobs back again at a 65% lower wage, after penalty rates and other entitlements.
While the the CUB Boycott has grown far and wide since the June sackings, with workers as far as Brisbane marching in support, another often-marginalised community within suburban Australia is now feeling conflicted over this political movement.
Young urban creatives, who often drink the lesser-known Carlton United brand, Melbourne Bitter – say that they are torn between their need to be seen drinking an edgy faux-working-class themed beverage – and actually supporting the working class.
The unofficially recognised Queen of the Hipsters, Grammy-winning Auscore-folk-rock musician Courtney Barnett says it’s been a difficult year.
“On one hand, we, as two-minute-noodle eating creatives, need to be seen supporting the alt-left labor movement whenever possible…”
“But we also have the issue of our beer of choice, MB, now becoming even more alternative because of the boycott”
Barnett says an unexpected repercussion of the boycott is that C.U.B beverages – such as VB and Carlton Draught – are now considered relatively fashionable for hipsters, because no one else is drinking them.
This places their beer of choice, Melbourne Bitter, which was lesser-known to begin with, on the coalface of alternative culture.
“It’s a tough one” she says.
“The temptation to continue being unashamedly trendy by drinking a beer that no one else will go near is almost unavoidable”
“We, as hipsters, just have to recognise that everyone will hate us for our lifestyle choices”
“Which is what pretty much what most people do anyway, whether we are supporting workers or not”
“Boycott the boycott” she says cheekily.