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Behind the Big Blue Wayfarers


UK Hipster Handbook:
Part I — Behind the Big Blue Wayfarers

As I jammed to the latest buzz band on my iPod while waiting for Neil Young to take the stage (thx for the tix Mom + Dad +/- Stepmom) Wednesday night in Louisville, I got a text on my iPhone, directly followed by an email on my Blackberry, from my ‘bros’ chuckling a few rows in front of me. Both read, “Dude, peep the guy six seats to your left.” I turned, nearly spilling my PBR and crushing my pack of American Spirits, instantly mesmerized by this fellow’s look: monstrous cowboy hat, big belt buckle, semi-toothless grin, and ironically incomplete ‘stache.

As he stood up to hoot and holler some undecipherable message towards the stage, I noticed his royal blue collared shirt donning the UK emblem. Instead of clownin’ this amigo and making snarky comments back and forth about him with my bros via text, I felt an immediate connection with the guy. Smiling, I yelled, “Go Cats!” in his direction. We looked at each other with appreciation, and he shouted it back ten times louder, garnering applause from groups around the crowd. In a sea of Reformed-Hippie-Parents, ground-dragging beards, and tie-dye shirts, this UK Fan’s Big Blue get-up stood out as my favorite sight of the night.

I rode home from the show on my fixed-gear bike feeling ‘happy’ about finally getting to see Neil Young before he croaks[:(], leading to my DocBrown-esque epiphany. My vintage corduroys got caught in my pedals and I took a spill, cracking my head on the sidewalk and knocking myself momentarily unconscious (thx Pabst). I came to my senses enlightened, with two suddenly distinct realizations:

1. The Big Blue Nation is a diverse, unique, loyal, and inherently connected group.
2. Being a UK fan is a huge part of one’s identity, with each identity being ‘alternative’ from the mainstream culture in our own way, not unlike the hated hipsters.

Kentucky fans come from all walks of life. Some listen to Arcade Fire. Others once set fire to an arcade after their minister said video games were the devil’s work. Wherever you go in America, a UK fan is undoubtedly in the vicinity. Chances are they will let you know it, too. Last year at Bonnaroo, I saw over a dozen UK shirts, one UT roach clip (Tyler Smith loves musical festivals), and no other college gear. Loving UK is not something you casually do, but something you live everyday. Whether it be attending games, checking message boards, screaming at the TV, or photoshopping Billy D, one thing is certain — loving UK is essential to who we are.

Like ‘hipters,’ UK fans are often looked down upon by the national mindset, cited as being extremely outside the norm, unapologetic, absurdly passionate, and clinically crazy. Both groups embody the definition of alternative, or ‘Alt’ for the well-versed in counter-culture. Unlike most normal Americans, our fanship to a certain university means more to us than most things in our life, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Alternative to conventional college fans, or sports fans in general, we give UK everything we’ve got. We portray ourselves as the most dedicated group of folks in the country, and always live up to the billing. And like hipsters, at times we look like fools because we get a tad out of line.

Being a hipster is polarizing, but not more so than being a UK fan. If you venture into a public place wearing Wayfarers and a v-neck tucked under your cardigan, some people will immediately have an opinion on you. However, if you are wearing a UK shirt, every non-fan will have a few preconceived notions regarding your sanity. Unfortunately, we’ve made a name for ourselves that sparks negative opinions. But the fact of the matter is that there are crazies in every fan base. When you have the sheer epic numbers and the unyielding passion we do, sometimes logic goes out the window. And that’s okay. Yes, some will become villians (cough…Mark Hamilton), and rightfully so. But I wouldn’t change much about our fanbase, because taking away all of the bad things would mean that we were no longer the most passionate fans in the country.

Hipsters make a living mocking mainstream society, but UK fans are the best at all forms of insults despite being the butt of many jokes ourselves. Think about this: How many hours of your life have you spent telling/laughing at Pitino/Sypher jokes? My calculations say I’ve wasted 22.3472% of the last year on such things; I cherished every moment of it.

Gimel Martinez had an AltStache before you. DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall smoked oregano with Buddy Holly and did lines of Splenda with Elmer Fudd in their matching glasses and hats. Patrick Patterson owns every Miles Davis album ever recorded… on vinyl. Brandon Knight recites a few lines of iambic pentameter before he smokes his last cig of the day.

But honestly, what is more retro than being a UK fan? 1933, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1951 1958, 1978 are my favorite pre-1980 years.

Hate the illogical and ironic behavior of hipsters all you want. However, whether you’re an AltBro or an AltFan, embrace the oddities, absurdities, and eccentric behavior of your fellow UK brothers/sisters, because, after all, the BBN is truly a family.


Article written by Chris Thomas

54 Comments for Behind the Big Blue Wayfarers

  1. Gerald&fitch
    3:06 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    I like the look on Greg Stumbo’s face down at the bottom of the pic

  2. Gaddisbomb
    3:17 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    This is too long and probably sucks. Anyone want to summarize it for me?

  3. Gaddisbomb
    3:18 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Wait I saw the word “hipster.” Do not summarize it for me.

  4. Rex
    3:20 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Guy in the front looks like an overweight, less-Italian Calipari.

  5. kentuckyjoe
    3:20 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    awesome post CT.

  6. CoPro
    3:25 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    There are too many trust fund, single-gear bike riding, PBR drinking, vintage clothes wearing Hipsters in the world to claim that being one is “Alternative”. YOU ARE THE MAINSTREAM. Go Cats.

  7. WDP
    3:26 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Gaddisbomb, keep your ignorance to yourself. Thanks buddy.

  8. HipsterCat
    3:26 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    I liked this post before Christ Thomas even wrote it. This is so highlightcreek (mainstream for all you unhipsters).

  9. ukman
    3:27 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    i would already vote for you over BTI for blogger of the year if i could.

  10. knightynight
    3:28 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    6) Fair statement.

  11. DuckButter
    3:34 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    I made it through the first 20 sentences and gave up in disgust. Do us a favor and never try to explain your mundane philosophical nonsense again.

  12. JimmylovesDykes
    3:36 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    HAHAHAHA funniest thing i have read on this site in a while, while i still hate hipsters, i guess any hipster who is a UK fan is alright

  13. thebluevirus
    3:38 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible. yep this is ridiculous

  14. What is a hipster?
    3:38 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink


    Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. The greatest concentrations of hipsters can be found living in the Williamsburg, Wicker Park, and Mission District neighborhoods of major cosmopolitan centers such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco respectively. Although “hipsterism” is really a state of mind,it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs. Such styles are often associated with the work of creative stylists at urban salons, and are usually too “edgy” for the culturally-sheltered mainstream consumer. The “effortless cool” urban bohemian look of a hipster is exemplified in Urban Outfitters and American Apparel ads which cater towards the hipster demographic. Despite misconceptions based on their aesthetic tastes, hipsters tend to be well educated and often have liberal arts degrees, or degrees in maths and sciences, which also require certain creative analytical thinking abilities. Consequently many hipsters tend to have jobs in the music, art, and fashion industries. It is a myth that most hipsters are unemployed and live off of their parent’s trust funds.
    Hipsters shun mainstream societal conventions that apply to dating preferences and traditional “rules” of physical attraction. It is part of the hipster central dogma not to be influenced by mainsream advertising and media, which tends to only promote ethnocentric ideals of beauty. The concepts of androgyny and feminism have influenced hipster culture, where hipster men are often as thin as the women they date. The muscular and athletic all-American male ideal is not seen as attractive by confident and culturally-empowered hipster women who instead view them as symbols of male oppression, sexism, and misogyny. Likewise, culturally-vapid sorority-type girls with fake blond hair, overly tanned skin, and “Britney Spears tube-tops” are not seen as attractive by cultured hipster males who instead see them as symbols of female insecurity, low self-esteem, and lack of cultural intelligence and independent thinking. Hipsters are also very racially open-minded, and the greatest number of interracial couples in any urban environment are typically found within the hipster subculture.
    Although hipsters are technically conformists within their own subculture, in comparison to the much larger mainstream mass, they are pioneers and leaders of the latest cultural trends and ideals. For example, the surge of jeans made to look old and worn (i.e. “distressed”), that have become prevalent at stores such as The Gap, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Hollister, were originally paraded by hipsters who shopped in thrift stores years before such clothing items were mass produced and sold to the mainstream consumer. The true irony here is that many of the detractors of hipster culture are in fact unknowingly following a path that hipsters have carved out years before them. This phenomena also applies to music as well, as many bands have become successful and known to mainstream audiences only because hipsters first found and listened to them as early-adopters of new culture. Once certain concepts of fashion and music have reached mainstream audiences, hipsters move on to something new and improved.
    Because of the rise of various online photo-blog and social networking sites, insights into urban hipster culture is reaching sheltered suburban audiences at an exponential rate. Cultural “norms” have been deconstructed by hipster culture as a whole. Hipsterism is often dismissed as just an image thing by some, but the culture as a whole is effecting changes in society, leading to feelings of insecurity and resentment in people who are no longer a part of the cultural ruling class. For example, a lot of anti-hipster sentiment evidently comes from culturally-clueless suburban frat boy types who feel that the more sensitive, intelligent, and culturally aware hipster ideal threatens their insecure sense of masculinity. Anti-hipster sentiment often comes from people who simply can’t keep up with social change and are envious of those who can.
    A conversation outside a hipster bar in downtown Louisville:

    Frat Boy #1: Dude, are you having any luck picking up chicks in there?

    Frat Boy #2: Man…I haven’t experienced anything like this before. These chicks are totally rejecting me and going for all these UK fanatic hipster guys in tight pants and shaggy hair instead.

    Frat Boy #1: Maybe we should head back up to that bar near all the strip clubs where you hooked up with that drunk b*tch from Alpha Sigma Phi last week?

    Frat Boy #2: Yeah…I don’t think we have what it takes to compete with these UK guys in here. These hipster chicks won’t even give us the time of the day!

  15. mk30
    3:39 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Dude…u trying to write a novel on a blogger site. Keep it simple please. I don’t wanna feel like I’m in college anymore!

  16. thebluevirus
    3:43 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    can we get a limit on characters please

  17. Don't play into the stereotypes
    3:47 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Are you really complaining about the length of post about UK? I vote to add more paragraphs! Good job for your virgin post, CT breaking for the lead. B.T.I. remains a total idiot.

  18. Oak Street Resident
    3:49 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Gaddisbomb & WDP = high school dropouts

    I was reading this on my iPhone while driving on the highway, and yet as dangerous as that is, I have no problem putting myself in harm’s way as long as I can continue reading these captivating posts by this new guy in the near future.

    Nice move KSR for selecting this Cat

  19. RUPPSrhetoric
    3:50 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Great post CT! A nice deviation from the norm on this site. And I love the norm on this site, don’t get me wrong. But a nice, new perspective. Glad to have you on board! GO CATS!!

  20. Nassau65
    3:55 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    just for my sake. that’s a guy name, right?
    I mean-i’m just askin, since i can’t feel ya from here.

  21. What is a hipster?
    3:56 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Just thought some other readers might want to know what a hipster was. I admit that I did not know what a hipster was at first. I found that lengthy definition on urban dictionary. After reading it I was like oooooh…it’s those sickly looking skinny gay guys I see around college campuses and urban areas all the time. I thought some other readers out there might enjoy the same kind of a-ha moment. As if you couldn’t have envisioned the look without my help from his style of writing. I know it sounds like I’m hateing here, but I’m not. Just trying to shed some light on the situation. Anyone who is for UK is good in my book, especially one that frequents KSR.

  22. Hipster before you ever were.
    4:05 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    I cant breath in these jeans. Is the lead singer for Block Party really singing for Hercules and Love Affair now?

  23. PBR Rules
    4:12 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    mk 30 — Next time, just save yourself the trouble of typing those three sentences (which is probably like being in college for you) and just write “I’m too dumb to read this, when is the next Fast/Furious movie coming out?”

  24. JohnnyFiveIsAlive
    4:12 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    You used emoticons in you initial blog entry? You have suffered a potentially insurmountable set back. Not even sure you’re a real man considering the assimilating mindset you described in your recount of an otherwise mundane experience. They call those weekdays in western Kentucky.

    Not impressed Mr. Thomas. Not impressed.

  25. Section 133
    4:24 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    But….how was the concert? The only time I saw Neil Young was in 1979. He was too f****d up to get thought the first song. Boos.Refund.

  26. BigBlueMan
    4:33 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    I hate it when you see someone wearing the colors but they’re not really a fan. Give ’em a good ‘Go CATS!’ and they look at you like you’re from Mars.
    You oughta have to pass a loyalty test to buy the gear!

  27. Chris Thomas
    5:01 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    If you thought I was being serious in the recollection of the concert, especially with the use of emoticons, you may suffer from this( – in which case, I am very sorry!

    Maybe you can ‘surmount’ that problem, though, eh #25.

    But yes, I was at the concert and it was very good, despite the effects of old age on the rocking out. Nevertheless, very enjoyable and glad I got to experience it.

  28. cawoodcorner
    5:03 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Chris, are you a Terrier, or just pick them in the contest?

  29. Sean
    5:20 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Why all the hate? I thought the post was fine. I’m not sure if the haters even understood what you were saying…for those people, let me summarize:
    People around the country think us UK fans are weird and crazy, but it matters little because we know how bad ass it is to be a UK fan and we really don’t care what they think anyway. CT only used the hipsters example to demonstrate how we come across to other NCAA basketball fans.

  30. ellemae
    5:25 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Nice job Chris. Definitely not bad for a kid from Saint Mary’s. It seemed a little long, but it could be that I am hungry and had to put off making supper until I read your post. Keep up the good work and tell your mom I said hi.

  31. RidgeRunner
    5:51 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Welcome Chris and don’t take this the wrong way…but I got this feeling as I was reading it that you were indirectly trying to impress us with grammar, use of words, phrases, spelling, etc…

    So, yeah your term paper looked good.

  32. RidgeRunner
    5:52 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    30…Yeah…now if he could of just wrote that summary ya did. I’d be cool.

  33. Darnell Dodson
    6:02 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Kind of a weak post, didn’t really make much sense or even say much. Sounds like this dude wants to try and justify being a hipster or something. I know it’s sarcasm, but why make an entire first post about hipsters and neil young? Can we talk about sports? Enough of the random features about nothing that aren’t even creative. Now the Jorts facial hair post was funny, no quasi-intellectual kumbaya stuff there.

  34. Hokey
    6:03 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    I like it. I think that leads to a call for pics or tales of craziest or most unique examples of UK fanhood. Ran into dude in Jamaica that couldnt even explain why he liked UK. He had never been to KY. That was cool.

  35. RidgeRunner
    6:07 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Tune in next week when Chris will roll out 7 paragraphs on “Hillbilly”. Hey, I’m there!

  36. bung
    6:12 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    that was ok…..i think….so i vote for u also Chris

  37. bung
    6:14 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    u didnt mention beatniks… which may the parents of the hipsters whoever they are….course they may be mentioned in all those words up above…

  38. bung
    6:16 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    maynard g krebbs was a cat fan

  39. paducah1964
    6:35 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    All it takes is to read the comments section to prove his point…we as fans have very little in common with one another except our passion for all things just enjoy that. Celebrate diversity and as always, Go Big Blue!!

  40. RidgeRunner
    6:40 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    40…Nail on the preverbial head! Nice!

  41. WKY cat fan
    6:55 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Great pic….Dickie V is wearing my son’s wig and sunglasses.

  42. RidgeRunner
    7:02 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Dang…if “14” ever gets his keyboard stuck on coy/paste, we in a load of sh/t..!!

  43. RidgeRunner
    7:02 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    ^ coPy…

  44. ASL102
    7:09 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink


  45. Andrew H
    7:09 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Should have written more it was so good!

  46. Im not voting for you.
    7:29 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    This post was shit.

  47. RidgeRunner
    7:45 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Chris…hell man, the more I think about this…ya got “your way” and if ya keep this type of style goin’ on, I’m on board. I love creativity and individuality <is that a word?. Anyway, Ya got that so far!

    Puleeezzze, do a segway to Hillbillies. Seriously, give me (I mean them) hell cuz I know you will love us as part of BBN too…..right?

    **worried about that last part**

  48. Tomlin
    9:32 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Great job, brother. Bravo.

  49. Big Blue Chef
    11:33 pm January 13, 2011 Permalink

    Awesome post. Nailed it.

  50. ThatGuy
    12:39 am January 14, 2011 Permalink


    Your pretentious vocabulary and pseudo-pseudo-intellectual jargon are no match for my thesaurus. Only an ironic hipster would call themselves a hipster because they know none such exist. Well played, my good sir… well played.

    Until next time…

  51. AyyDotBeeDot
    2:04 am January 14, 2011 Permalink

    CT is the man. Far too clever for most, enough of a smart ass to piss people off, and good enough of a writer to pull it off. Excellent post, sir. Keep it coming.

  52. Zach Morris
    4:20 am January 14, 2011 Permalink

    So, since you “make a living” mocking mainstream society, that must mean you are mocking the majority of Kentuckians by wearing that Kentucky shirt, right? Come back when you actually develop some character on your own.

  53. Gaddisbomb
    9:47 am January 14, 2011 Permalink

    Oak Street Resident: Yea I guess I dropped out of high school. It was probably somewhere around the time I graduated from UK and went to Florida for a PhD. Nitwit.

  54. Stickman
    10:09 am January 14, 2011 Permalink

    I think it’s funny that someone would try to describe hipsters as creative and intelligent.

    I prefer to call them by the more commonly accepted and accurate term “Loser.” Note the capital L.