10 May 2019, Warren Street, Hastings / By Jess Soutar Barron /
Shouldn’t make a habit of wandering down dark back-alleys in Hastings at night. Or perhaps I should, especially when the alley is lined with bunting and fairy lights, and there’s a food truck at the far end. A food truck?! Can only mean one thing…there’s a makers’ market on. (Fairy lights and food trucks are like freshly laid skat for craft trackers.)
This one’s in an upcycled office block, tucked behind lawyers and quantity surveyors. G-plan stairs lead to a tight interior with six or so bureaucratic boxes given fresh form as teeny, cosy, softly lit shop-ettes. Each has its own aesthetic, but as a collection they lean on hygge for its comfortable slouch, neo-gypsy minimalism for its handworked functionality; and, wabi sabi. Knocked about hand-me-downs become retro one-offs in this setting.
Alongside a room of a hundred silk kimonos in every possible colour way, is a room of kaftans and yogi pants, and a room of intricate hand-chiselled hair pins, one made with 12 different woods to give it its elaborate pattern. There are bright candy pearlescent bangles, steampunk pendants, sage smudge sticks. There’s a folk foursome in the corner, a man selling cajons, mulled wine in the copper pot, wholesome, handwoven children playing tag under the stairs. This is a new kind of hippie-dom, smart, savvy, wired into the international cultural vernacular. I suspect these people may actually have day jobs. But the bits of Hippie we liked so much are still here: sharing, kindness, community, healthy, tasty real food made from scratch in that food truck in the alley.
The Chameleon Club pops up where it finds a like-minded vibe and this current iteration hidden behind other less interesting things is a signal to our future selves: Don’t Panic, Anarchic Creatives are coming to take over the city. Pure delight on a Saturday night.
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