VERSACE EROS (2011)

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I am not one for the barbers ( I have actually had a phobia of getting my hair cut my entire life), but after a pub lunch in Pimlico, on the spur of the moment, I decided to pop in to a place on the corner of the road – all tattoos, bikers, ZZ Top and Guns N Roses – to have a quick hair cut and beard trim.

 

 

The stylist was from my neck of the woods – Birmingham – and was as beautiful as a woodland satyr: piercing blue wolf eyes, lanky, floppy indie boy hair, and as the d and I sat down to beers ( since when do you get beer at the barber’s? I have been in the wrong country for too long ) we discussed horror movies, Japan, and what to do about my conservative visuals ( only Burning Bush is wild and wears anything ……… I myself am boring and staid fashion-wise in the extreme).

 

 

 

He smelled really nice. Typical – blue sports fragrance- but not intrusive, nor abrasive, not staggeringly brutalizing your senses like so many I have come across: I assumed it was just some supermarket body spray but was intrigued enough to ask him about it eventually, and it was Versace’s Eros.

 

 

 

We havejust got back to the flat and his smell is all over me. I can smell myself and him on my clothes and skin, like a forty minute infatuation that lingers on the body like an imaginary kiss. And I think this is what perfume is : even if the scent in question is not a masterpiece (which this unquestionably isn’t), if at the very least it is balanced and well made, and suits the skin of the individual wearing it,  it seeps into your consciousness and bloodstream….,, the momentary pleasures of real, and spontaneous, human interaction.

 

 

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SPRING IN LONDON + SUEDE DE SUEDE by MONA DI ORIO (2017)

 

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London in spring is cold and windy but the blossom delicate and beautiful : we are staying at an apartment in Pimlico near the Thames; quite odd but enjoyable being tourists in our own capital city, if necessary for the week’s engagements – we have just come back from an interview on Monocle Radio London which will air on the Sunday Brunch show from 10am tomorrow.

 

 

We co-ordinated our scents somewhat : me in vintage 19; D in Suede De Suede, a sample of which we picked up from Les Senteurs on a rushed trip there after arriving at the nearby Victoria Station from Norwich just before closing time ( many, many perfumes I didn’t know : I will have to go back – the whole place has been completely refurbished since the last time I was there ).  I am quite intrigued by the Atelier Des Ors range, and liked Heeley’s Vetiver Veritas (2014), a very earthy vetiver that develops gorgeously on the skin but is essentially just the essential oil just slightly embellished with lavender and mint and thus, it has to be said, a total rip off ( I could easily make it myself).

 

 

Suede De Suede, on the other hand, is quite original. I tend to prefer suede scents over leather ( as in the original pre-reformulation Daim Blond ), and this Mona Di Orio take on the material is quite an odd beast – suavely tiered with deeper wood notes underneath in the usual oudhish contemporary vein, but fluffed and honeyed up with unexpected notes of osmanthus, strawberry leaf and Norwegian cloudberry – you get all the tactile strata all at once, in a smooth, yet not predictable formula that smells quite gentlemanly on the D (and the radio interviewer, Georgina, loved the combined smell when she entered the room at the Monocle offices where we were waiting – I told her the connecting factor between our two perfumes was leather).

 

 

The interview went quite well I think -this was my first time ever having this kind of experience,  though Duncan was on Radio Norfolk once as a kid after winning a helicopter ride for scholastic achievement ; we talked about the genesis of the book, and we tested it out on air ( so annoying, though, that my Histoires De Parfums Noir Patchouli was in the wrong bag to be whipped out at exactly the right time on air, as it would have been a perfect match in her request for something musky and hippyish – —- she found the Fragonard Reve Indien – a gorgeous patchouli-laden amber I instead selected too sweet and overbearing, though interestingly did seem to be drawn towards my musty old box of vintage Vol De Nuit which she applied to her wrist; on the other a blast of Sana Jardin’s Savage Jasmine, carnivalesque and brazen, which smelled heady to say the least).

 

 

 

The studio ponged afterwards with all the airlocked, coalesced odors, D also taking part in the interview and the bag rummaging and talking about the female pioneers of flight in the 1930’s and the indoles at the heart of white flowers. Georgina thought it was charming we had coordinated our scents as we leaned into our mics,  a deliberation that could, I imagine, come across as Gilbert & George eccentric, but to me it is necessary. Sometimes I think couples don’t actually think enough about their confused miasmas when they go out and swirl together :::: two great perfumes have the possibility of smelling vile when malcombined…….like tomato ketchup and vanilla ice cream, or horseradish, roast beef, and violet.

 

 

 

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my book has come out today and now i will shut up about it

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DISASTER AT THE AIRPORT & THE FIRST REVIEW OF MY BOOK

 

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The journey back to England began horrendously.

 

 

 

We were safely at the airport, on time, and I went through customs. And Duncan was taking a long time. Much longer than he should have been taking, when you usually go straight through. I waited. What was going on? Had he suddenly been taken ill? There is  a history of fainting. But he had been fine, both of us were, really excited to be coming back to England for a bit for my designated five minutes of fame and I couldn’t quite imagine that that was the case. Something was delaying him.I considered looking at the Chanel concession, but the thought bore me to death. I looked to see what other Duty Free there was, but why was he taking so long. And the clock was ticking, boarding was becoming an imminent necessity. And still he hadn’t passed immigration. But with all the officers and plexiglass and barriers you can’t go back, obviously, and I couldn’t see what was happening. But finally, when I went to the far right, the ingress for the officials, and,  there he was…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HIS VISA HAD RUN OUT – HE HAD FORGOTTEN TO CHECK, AND HE COULDN’T FLY. `

 

 

 

 

The red no entry sign. The not being able to talk to each other or kiss or hug goodbye – we were like Pyramus and Thisbe, whispering through walls. I was utterly gutted and speechless. And no idea what to do. And I decided to continue, because the tickets are so expensive from Japan – fixed at vastly elevated prices – and I have radio interviews; a big launch party and a family gathering yesterday evening to celebrate (fantastic – a really lovely evening), but I had no choice but to get onto the miserable plane alone, crying cheap tears watching A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody, and then gradually , slowly, as all the booze sunk in, drawn in and mesmerized by the real cinema of First Man and the first flight to the moon, which allowed me, for a while, to finally forget the empty seat next to me and endure the sleepless 12 hour journey to Paris, where I smelled the vile chemical miasmas of all the disgusting perfumes on offer and felt nauseous at how foul contemporary perfume is;  got on a plane to Birmingham but had a panic attack becauseI didn’t have an aisle seat as requested; then switched and sat next to a man I started talking to – a Pakistani hypnotherapist from Leicester who was amazingly interesting and who absorbed some of my pent up stress; and we talked about the meaning of life; our hatred of the strictures of nationality, and agreed that all culture is a strait jacket and that ultimately, all we really care about is being free.  Fascinating. And I finally got my suitcase, which took so long…..met my parents waiting for me at arrivals, who hugged and commiserated me on the lack of D and arrived home utterly zonked, stinking,  and exhausted and unable to even properly utter any sentences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

D, back in Japan going through the bureaucratic motions, is going to do his darnedest to get the visa sorted out and pay for another flight as I NEED HIM HERE. This is my time: the book comes out next week, I am going to be in Japan Vogue (!!!!!!!!!!), on BBC London Radio (!), the devastatingly trendy Monocle Radio (what to wear?!) as well as Talk Radio Europe, with a potential listening audience of two million people, a fact that I find incomprehensible, especially considering that I stutter and garble and will just sound like a gibbering idiot probably and will just have had breakfast at Duncan’s parents’ house – IF HE GETS HERE- and

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway I just felt I needed to share some of that in an update. It was a hideous journey out. But I must say that it was s a marvellous antidote, the next day to discover that  the lovely Persolaise, who received an advance copy of my book a few weeks ago, had reviewed it on his website : the timing couldn’t have been better for me – and what a lovely balm to my mangled nerves.

 

 

 

Here is the review:

 

 

 

 

 

http://persolaise.blogspot.com/2019/03/persolaise-review-perfume-in-search-of.html

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t be more pleased with what he says about it. Being fully aware of its flaws and lacks – he mentions that I forgot to include scents such as Habit Rouge (and how could I have forgotten Geoffrey Beene’s Green Flannel  in either the violet or green chapter?) something I realised after the fact – it was a MAELSTROM of stress and deadlines last summer and I honestly almost lost my mind at one point, there are so many omissions and things that got lost in the mania of the final edit…..and I suppose as the writer of  the thing I sometimes forget that there might be good things about the book as well: it was lovely, and very gratifying, therefore, to have someone else’s reaction to the thing after being stuck so much in my own head, someone who knows more than I do about perfume and is a great writer himself. I am delighted.

 

 

 

 

 

We had a wonderful family party last night, with my aunt, uncle, cousins and second cousins, animated and hilarious, like the parties of my childhood, and a moving champagne toast by my dad, and I feel quite exhilarated about the coming two weeks here – I just have to seize the moment. The sun is out, even if it was just sleeting as well for a few minutes (the weather here is insane), and I feel very much here, and present, and in the moment. Quite happy.

 

 

 

 

 

I really could have done without the drama at immigration though.

 

 

I felt sick to the pit of my stomach.

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I AM TRASH by ETAT LIBRE D’ORANGE (2019)

 

 

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Many of us have days when we feel a bit rubbish. If not actual trash ( though ‘trash’ as an aesthetic genre in cinema and in TV and in music, has always had an inexorable pull for me).

 

 

 

The good thing about this brash, uplifting fruity  mishmash of a pop song is that it is at the very least not depressing. Using the depleted husks of essences that are usually deemed unusable,

 

 

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this primary coloured concoction is upbeat, full bodied, and only very slightly hardboiling and unravelling at cynical seams.

 

 

 

 

 

Currently very popular, I have just been told, with girls in Ginza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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soap

My friend gave me some Shiseido Euthrixine soap.

 

 

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It smells like old fashioned carbolic: medicated, but also quite floral and talcy: a bit Grosssmith Phul-Nan, ancient dream of  Heure Bleue.

 

 

Nice. But it’s a pity it can’t wash away the Michael Jackson documentary from my head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KILLED BY PERFUME – a tale of Japan, earthquakes, and my potentially toppling, lethal, perfume cabinets

 

It is eight years since the catastrophic tsunami in the north.

Sometimes I repost this piece as a memorial / capturing of those terrible times.

 

943ED759-8084-4C09-A366-6D64C824CD18via KILLED BY PERFUME – a tale of Japan, earthquakes, and my potentially toppling, lethal, perfume cabinets

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March 11, 2019 · 3:36 pm