Thursday, 28 February 2013

Was Ian Redpath Australian Cricket's first Hipster?

Ian Ritchie Redpath played 66 Test matches for Australia and made 4737 runs at an average of 43.45, making him one of Australia's most accomplished openers. Importantly, he also provides me with another great example whenever I'm listing cricketers with higher test averages than Mark Waugh to bored onlookers.

What is underrated about Redders is that he was (in my mind) Australian Cricket's first hipster and if there anything hipsters love, it's being the first to do something. After looking through this photo essay, I am sure you will agree with me that Redpath was cooler than Tyler the Creator riding a fixed gear bike through an organic fruit market. 

Redders had cool facial hair

Whilst it was not yet de rigueur to go the full hipster 'Ned Kelly' beard in the late 70's, Redders was an effortless exponent of facial hair, sporting sideburns that the members of Jet probably had wet dreams about. Sometimes I look at photos of Redders and mistakenly think it's George Harrison. Wrong; Redders  was even cooler than the coolest Beatle, and he never even had to pick up a guitar or listen to what Paul McCartney had to say.

Redders had a sideline job as an Antique Dealer 

If we know anything about hipsters it's that they cannot settle for one job title. Back in the day, hipsters used to be graphic designers or musicians, but now they favour "slashie" titles like "artist/creative director/blogger." Redders was a trendsetter in this regard, and also gets extra points for his 'slashie' addition being a profession totally at odds with what all his cricketing teammates did. Most ran indoor cricket centres, pretended to sell insurance or did 'promo' work. In other words, they were totes mainstream. Not Redders, he was knee-deep in antique lithographs and historical artifacts. He actually turned down a spot on the 1975 Ashes tour because he was too busy with his antiques. And people bagged Adam Voges for staying home to get married...

Literally every time I walk into an antique centre or one of those country junk shops these days, I'm tripping over hipsters fawning over some industrial light fitting that they want to hang in their vegan soul food cafe. Well sucked in guys, Redders was into antiques before you were born. Go home, you lose.

Redders gave Slam Poetry readings before we even knew what that was

Who am I kidding? I still don't even know what Slam Poetry is. I bet that Redders does though because he probably invented it. 

Redders sold out way before it was cool to sell out

The advent of World Series Cricket brought Redders a very deserved pay-day at the end of his career. He actually came out of retirement to play but was no less a pariah to the cricket establishment than any other 'rebel' who joined Packer's "circus". His club side South Melbourne even blacklisted him, confirming my suspicions that nothing good ever happens in that suburb.

This photo shows Redders' foot having just collapsed under the weight of his 'cool'. Actually that's not true, he shredded his Achilles in the first year of WSC whilst bowling to Clive Lloyd. If you claim to have had a cooler injury than that I will call you a liar straight to your face. I'd also like to point out he is wearing Adidas 3-stripe gear about 10 years before Run DMC supposedly made it cool. Yep, Redders was actually hipper to the trends than the world of hip hop.

Perhaps the coolest thing about his WSC years is that even whilst being a 'sell-out' and a rebel, Redders played in the WSC Country Cup games. Supertest's were WAY TOO MAINSTREAM for Redders, you see.

Redders was a hit with the ladies

The central premise of hipsterdom, as far as I can tell, is to present yourself as the coolest specimen alive and thus the most desirable person on the planet. The thing is, Redders didn't even need to resort to such contrivance; women just naturally flocked to be near him and ask him for his autograph. They were only human. Who could blame them?

Redders rode vintage track bikes before they were even vintage

Even if you were skeptical up until this point, you now have to admit that Redders was the head technician in the outbreak of hipsterdom. Every time you see a fashion blogger wheeling along on their fixie with a soy latte in one hand, yell out at them and let them know that Redders was all over that trend 35 years ago. And he didn't even wear a helmet. Helmets are for laggards, not early adopters.


  1. Great piece Russ,superb research.

  2. Thanks for reading, Sheikh. I hope this starts a trend for Ian Redpath blog posts!

  3. Redders and Rowdy Mallett.
    What a fine pair of hipster cricketers.

    HT to Tones at

  4. This is brilliant.

  5. i LOVE THIS ....Redders WAS too cool for school