I need to leave the maelstrom of my life and just float about in places like this, or record shops, to leave the brain behind
Watching ‘Only God Forgives’ on DVD again tonight – that lurid, oneiric, pungent, light-soaked film starring Ryan Gosling and Kristen Scott Thomas set in Bangkok, I find myself drifting back in my mind’s eye again to the backstreets of Jakarta, last August, where I had forgotten that I had found, quite unexpectedly and to my surprise, a vintage perfume shop, open at midnight, ‘selling’ rare and unwanted perfumes that probably nobody was ever going to buy: dusting and unloved, but proud and upright on shelves, which I tested for authenticity (they definitely weren’t fakes: that was real Monsieur Rochas).
We never found that same street again, but I fortunately did take a couple of photos, much to the older daughter’s consternation, as she barked out information to her older relatives, sitting out of view in the beyond of…
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Guerlain’s strange and exquisite Après L’Ondée has a cool, primeval innocence, yet a wise, sage, intuition; as new as a just-blossomed flower, but as ancient as its knowing, tearful DNA. The soft diluvial transparency it breathes makes the perfume by far the most natural and air-kissed of the classical Jacques Guerlains, while the unusual bouquet garni of anise, cassie, rosemary, heliotrope, carnation and hawthorn contrasting emotionally, and perturbingly, with the vanillic-lined silken flower dust beauty of its powdered iris, violet, mimosa and musks make the scent quietly Arcadian: mythological, almost in its shy but steadfastly feminine beauty. A poignancy: rainsoothed; unfathomed.