One of the jobs I had going through University was as a kitchen steward at the casino on the waterfront in Sandy Bay, Tasmania. I mainly delivered fresh produce to the different restaurants scattered throughout the complex, but I also had to swing by the pastry kitchen & bakery every morning to pick up and deliver the bread for the day (nothing beats nabbing a freshly-baked dinner roll at 7 in the morning when you’re hung over as fuck and have to skip breakfast to avoid being late to work). I distinctly remember the executive chef in the pastry kitchen making these elaborate designs out of piped cake icing for use in dessert centrepieces or cakes for special events held in the function room; roses, bows, at Easter he even made a three-dimensional hyper-realistic-looking rabbit without even using a mould. Aside from being an incredibly talented chef, he was also very honest.

One day, we got to talking about his designs and the technique involved. He plainly stated, “This has taken a few years of practice and isn’t that difficult at all really. They taste kind of average to be honest, just icing sugar and water, mostly, but generally people don’t eat it, it’s more there for decoration.” Despite his obvious aptitude for his trade, he applied a workmanlike attitude to what he did; he didn’t believe it was art, it was simply his job and he did it well. That was enough. He didn’t require acknowledgement or praise.

This brings me to the apparent and undeniable rise in quirky little stores selling artisan cupcakes that are mysteriously appearing in Melbourne streets like crop circles in an Iowa corn field. Generally they’ll inhabit a small-footprint store with ample exterior window space so that enraptured cupcake aficionados can stand on the street, tongues lolling about in their stupid heads as they gaze longingly through the glass at the plethora of cupcakes on display. These people often attracted more like-minded dickheads to the scene, until there’s a veritable smorgasbord of dickheads standing in front of the store, drooling collectively.

Are you a self-important wanker? If so, you’ll love this individual ‘Yum Yum Yum’ cupcake carrier…

Inside the store, a trendy-looking ‘artisan’ proprietor with a form-fitting white apron wrapped expertly around equally form-fitting and suspiciously clean clothes does his best to look busy with the piping bag, mincing around the store reeking with the stench of self-righteous effusiveness. He thinks he is important, for what he does is not baking, it is art. It doesn’t matter that his cupcakes taste like shit and he doesn’t bake them himself, for he can make swirls out of icing sugar while the smooth sounds of jazz permeate the store from his high-end stereo because, like you, he has refined tastes.

There’s something seriously wrong with us as a society. We’ve gotten to the point where artisan cupcake making is a profitable enterprise. People no longer get given a birthday cake for their big day any more. Oh no, that’s so last decade, babe! People now get a single artisan cupcake in a little artisan box with a little artisan bow on it that has their name spelt out in little artisan edible jewels. Why? Because you’re worth it!

Every time I walk past one of these stores I want to hurl a flaming Molotov cocktail through their window and destroy any trace of it or the people inside it having ever existed. I’d enjoy watching the designs collectively melt, erasing any trace of an indiscretion having occurred in the first place. Perhaps I’ll make the act of destroying these abominations into a roving art installation… I’ll charge the same types that buy artisan cupcakes ridiculous prices to watch me destroy artisan cupcakes in what one of them would undoubtedly describe as, “A delightful post-modern ironic look at the machinations of bourgeois Australian society… 5 stars!”

/end communication

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