Monthly Archives: July 2019

CHARLES WONG INTERVIEWS THE BLACK NARCISSUS

 

 

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https://www.mymoderndarcy.com/single-post/2019/07/30/An-olfactory-conversation-with-Neil-Chapman-Author-of-‘Perfume-–-In-search-of-your-signature-scent’-Fragrance-Blogger-‘The-Black-Narcissus’?fbclid=IwAR22g88nZeDhr5XMhiVp2ZYuD4V_Sm5g0Vn7yBhQ64JlIfMBesfvq1l1uW4

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MOMENT IN TIME : FLEUR DE LALITA +LA DOUCEUR DU SIAM by PARFUMS DUSITA (2017)

 

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What I want from perfume is not a bland betrayal but, especially on another person, a scent  that stops me in my tracks: brain stem engaged; instinct aroused; rationality  dismissed.

 

Pissara Umjavani, founder and perfumer of Dusita, has an ability to put together ingredients in a way that – as it should be with quality perfumery – is more than the sum of its parts: perfumes that graze and stimulate emotion. Last year’s release, Fleur de Lalita is a sultry but living, and fresh, green magnolia ylang smouldering in vanillic ambergris and bois de santal that ignites an immediate reaction with its almost untenable sensuality : you can imagine a suddenly smitten and hopelessly in-love man haplessly falling from his bicycle in Bangkok upon smelling this on a girl : both familiar and unknowable, inviting ; yet ever so slightly disdainful.

 

 

La Douceur Du Siam, which I personally prefer, is a big, gorgeous, luminous rose de mai absolute tinged with a tingling  of green carnation; the spring leafery of galbanum and violet, but blooming, graciously,  on a warm, carnal base of white flowers and balsams that embodies the reaction I was talking about earlier :  on the right person this perfume could be heartstopping. I don’t think I could wear it myself : despite the unbordered, sensitive androgyny in this house’s perfumes,  there is still very much something of the ‘eternal feminine’ about much of the line – a contoured tenderness – but I would LOVE to have someone walk by me in this perfume on some hot summer’s evening. I know for a fact I would turn back and look.

 

 

 

 

 

After my last post on Dusita a few months ago, I got in contact with this perfumer  in the hope of doing an interview with her, sensing, for some reason, some common affinities. Her love of poetry : both of us foreigners living in cultures entirely different from our place of birth.

 

 

I decided, also, to throw caution to the wind and circumvent the usual PR protocol and polite chatter by asking exactly what I wanted to ask, about Thai culture, film, her late father – one of Thailand’s most famous writers –  and over several days, in written or voice mail form, Ms Umjavani  replied to my questions as time allowed and the answers came to her.

 

 

But where my own posts are fast and impulsive ( I am writing this on my phone, on a train, on a gorgeous sunny afternoon ; the sun is finally shining as it should be after all this rain as I go to my next classes), collating, transcribing,  and writing  a coherent piece on somebody else’s words and life feels like more of a responsibility than my usual opinionated and spontaneous ramblings :  I need the proper time – days – and space,  to do it all justice.

 

 

To be continued.

 

 

 

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You never know what’s going to happen

 

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Duncan is very good at choosing what to watch on Netflix. I had discounted ‘Strong Island’, simply because I thought the name was so crap and unevocative (and it is: a real shame in my opinion for a documentary so overwhelmingly raw and brilliantly executed).

But this was coruscating, searing : we couldn’t really speak throughout. But we both dreamed about it the whole night (literally in my case, my brain gripped like a leather glove); yes, the director was ‘performing’ his pain, but it was in the name of something deep and wounded and guilt drenched that had to be expurgated (not that it ever could be).

The unvarnished rawness of the film – unlike anything I have ever seen I think – was accentuated, and emphasized beautifully, and very noticeably ( the aesthetics were so good they made you uncomfortable ‘with the fact that you were enjoying’ it – often an intrinsic problem with documentaries I often feel ) with – FINALLY !- the minimal use of background music, which my cold heart rejects after a while no matter how tragic the story: I am simply too musically and cranially sensitive to endure too many overwrought strings or pianeggios ripping off the dreaded score of The Hours: ::: here, the pain was left to burn itself into your brain preconceived but unadorned :: my heart was palpitating as I watched it but I couldn’t actually ‘take’ the emotion as it happened : it had to be stored, and worked around, later.

Yes, it verged on emotional or experiential pornography, if you want to think of it like that. But the director, pictured – so unflinchingly earnest, honest, and assured in the rejection of the cliche ( which I fucking HAIL, personally ; YES to looking straight into the camera and addressing the audience directly when it works; yes to letting people stutter or go back on themselves or cough on camera or backtrack slightly, just as people actually do; yes to art where a person excavates, and illuminates, their family’s most unbearable agony for the common truth): was so intuitive, and merciless, that the film added up to something beautiful, and devastating.

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Filed under art and politics, New Beginnings, Organic, this is not a perfume review, Uncategorized, Voyeur, Writing

THE SWEET, SWEET SMELL OF JOHNSON’S BABY POWDER

 

 

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BLACK PEPPER by COMME DES GARÇONS (2016)

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Black Pepper is peppery.

REALLY peppery.

As in, tumultuously, treacherously peppery – a trail of crushed peppercorns that lingers in the air in sinisterly suave fashion for an entire day  (this scent is a miracle of modern technical perfumery);a light, invisible muslin of discreet coumarin, agarwood, cedar and musk giving dryness, arid heft..

 

Whenever Duncan wears this (I bought it him for his birthday last year at the Comme Des Garçons boutique in Aoyama), I tune in to the unrelenting black spice, the precise smell of the Kampot black peppercorns I bought at a market in Cambodia, and cracked the other night for food.

 

Not fresh, nose tingley, or slicey, like some of the recent pink peppercorn florals, Black Pepper is completely unique in its fidelity to the theme ; the scent palette spectruming from light grey to pitch; a low registered, masculine thrum.

 

 

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the air

 

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– photo by Helen

 

 

 

The political air may be foetid and menacing, but on my bike ride this morning it was rich : humid, green; steamy; fragrant with memory. Weeks of rain, swollen skies, sometimes strange and cold, otherwise fungal and clammy, tropical : and yet I go back to twenty four and the melancholy of a particular summer listening to Under The Pink and the soundtrack to The Piano, not knowing what to do with my life but taking solace from the music and the sky; the way clouds drift along so rapidly in England, a particular scent of hedgerows and trees that I nevertheless was just plunged into as I rode past the local forest entrance that leads to Kamakura; before, a little earlier I was immersed in my thoughts about the dangerous and alarming climate the world is foolishly entering into but suddenly I passed into another realm; I was in my maternal grandmother’s garden in summertime; her yellow dress; the fierce smell of roses that I would lie amongst and sunbathe, happy as Larry, the sprinkler on the lawn, her bird baths and gnomes and garden fairies; a kitsch paradise of flowers and natural perfume aerated by cloudless blue; how odd that we don’t consciously conjure these memories with a sought out association but PASS INTO THEM, unknowingly, like chambers (does all of our life still exist within us, rooms to be unlocked, at random?) My heart lifts, I keep pedalling, down past the beginnings of winter oranges growing solemnly in oiled, dark green leaves, flowers whose Japanese, and English names I am unfamiliar with but whose scent reminds me of now; and the LILIES, wild, flowering from gardens, in the mountains, by the side of the road… perfumed, insane, oblivious …….

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AFTER DONALD TRUMP SAYS PEOPLE SHOULD GO BACK TO THEIR OWN COUNTRIES IF THEY ARE NOT HAPPY IN AMERICA, ONE WOMAN IMMEDIATELY BOARDS A ONE-WAY FLIGHT TO SLOVENIA

 

 

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