I love this shot: we scrambled into a dangerous underground traffic passage – the man may have been about to call up the police – but you can feel my shielded equanimity
and the warmth of the perfume really drew people in
I like the slippers.
Coincidentally, at the final flea market of the summer last year, I found a quarter ounce of vintage Red parfum. Bought it unsniffed, not recognizing the bottle with its red and purple ribboned neck. Even though I had my reading glasses with me, the print on the bottom was too small for these old eyes to decipher, so tried some on when I got home without knowing what it was. Ooh! Not a bad, rather rich, sweet, syrupy floral oriental with a fair bit of fruit. Some definite quality in evidence. Not totally my style, but yes, rather interesting overall. Good and powerful. Very eighties. Kind of like a cousin to Christian Dior Poison stylistically. With stronger glasses I could then make out Giorgio Beverly Hills, but had to do some internet sleuthing to find out that it was Red. I never knew they’d made anything after the original Giorgio, whose fumes persisted for days in every elevator in Vancouver in 1981.
Just found the bottle and tried it again. Whoah. No doubt Burning Bush made an impact in more ways than visually. Gotta love it!
I have been impressed by its rich ambered androgyny – the parfum I have has quite a coniferous edge to it that I have been surprised by. People loved it though – one couple said I smelled IMMENSE – but they meant it in a good way. I probably won’t wear it again until I have another similar mind bending excursion in Tokyo.
I like the idea of a coniferous edge. I’m always amazed at how much variation there is from one bottle/batch/forulation to the next in virtually all the multiples I’ve owned.
I hope it’s not too long before the opportunity to have another mind bending excursion in Tokyo presents itself. Sounds addictive.
P.S. I can’t remember if you like Poison. I would think you would.
I ADORE it.
Your book arrived early! A masterpiece.
Thought initially it was a book to be savored a few pages at a time. Didn’t work out that way. Couldn’t put it down. Had to force myself. My god, there is so much writing in it. It surprised me. No wonder it just about had you in a straitjacket. Your nose must have been to the grindstone every minute you weren’t sleeping to get it finished.
I just read that Burning Bush and Poison were made for each other. So I was right about that Burning Bush/Red/Poison connection. I just knew!
Looking forward to getting to the Chypre section. I hope it’s gigantic.
Your opinion is one I value very highly so I am delighted, really, that you are enjoying it. I feel a sense of relief.
I would have liked it to be three times longer, but there were limitations. I think it does work as a kind of tantalizing morsel : I wonder if it’s available in Canadian bookshops ?
There were going to be two Chypre sections – including a modern one, but in the end it got edited out (you wouldn’t believe what the editing process was like…….one day we did it from morning till night until a typhoon knocked the power out at about 2:30am – it was frantic)……..
I personally think the book gets better and better as it goes along – the latter sections are more dreamy; looser.
I am also hoping that someone, eventually, makes a comment on the autobiographical elements that are woven in – its really not all about perfume.
I checked Chapters/Indigo, our largest book retailer in Canada, and it’s sold out almost everywhere, just a copy or two here and there. Not bad, not bad at all, my dear!
Funny, the editing-out of the modern chypre section. That was the one crucial category (for me, anyway) disappointingly conspicuous by its absence. I actually hunted for it, thinking I’d missed the obvious. 31 Rue Cambon, Diaghilev, Chypre Palatin, et al, have kept the genre going admirably with some genius/sleight-of-hand, oakmoss restrictions be damned. It’s a great story, I think: so illustrative of what’s wrong — and right — with the perfume industry today.
I hate to suggest that’s a criticism, because the book is marvelous, truly. I noticed that: that the book got more personal, more like the Neil I know, more like the writing I know you for. You have some lovely stories to tell about your life and I was happy to see some of them.
The descriptions of the fragrances were one of the book’s many strengths. Off the top of my head, Vol de Nuit (lyrical AND dead-on accurate), Nuit de Noel (talk about a change from the all-too-predictable Christmas theme), Rouge (and one of those lovely stories of yours; I felt for that boy), Yoru no Ume (a touching AND aesthetically evocative story), Caleche, Je Reviens (bar none the best description of it I’ve ever come across; I don’t think anyone else has understood it to that degree), No 19 (but of course), and the one that had Catherine Deneuve checking her lipstick or something before dashing out. It was good to see small indie labels such as Papillon and Neela Vermeire generously represented along with lots of contemporary fragrances from larger houses. I was impressed.
Thank you for getting it. And I agree about the omissions: there are many. But considering the parameters, I think something pleasing was the result, flaws and all. I still gaze at it in the kitchen and am quite amazed that a black and gold tome of spells materialised like that, and is available all over the world (sold out? honestly?!)
I felt something similar when I opened the shipping package and held your book in my hands. YOUR book. Neil Chapman written right there on the front cover. Swanky gold, silver and black. Yours.
It was pretty cool, so I know I can multiply that feeling a few dozen times and know that’s something approximating how you feel. Extraordinary. You sure put the work in, dear N. I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying your achievement and not picking it apart, seeking imaginary flaws, worrying needlessly. Very un-neurotic of you.
I am doing all of what you have said here, but trying to push it back. It is what it is!
I am pleasantly surprised to see that you came around to Monsieur Frederic Malle after all.
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