Monthly Archives: November 2019



















Hello again, and welcome to Winter.





Apologies for the absence: I have been up to all kinds of things, both good and bad, but can’t write about them right now for various reasons (this unforthcomingness is not in my nature but has been thrust upon me).






I have succumbed to my natural biorhythms. Every year, I go in familiar waves, and now the student evaluations are over – them rating us, not the other way round, I can lay my performing monkey aside and drift back into reveries of Christmas and New Year. It has been a good term, actually, but although my colleagues will be gearing up heavily for the final push before exams, I will be hiding away in Kamakura, nesting and writing, and finally having a breather after what has easily been the most eventful and memorable year of my life.






Anyway. To Perfume. I have backlog of scent I would like to write about, and will take my time with them. But today is a lovely crisp, sunny day after what feels like weeks of cold damp relentless rain ( I hate, hate rain unless it comes at precisely the right moment) and a green, forested perfume seems like a good way to inch my way back into Narcissus conscious again.





I recently received a sample set of perfumes by January Scent Project, an East Coast independent perfumery outfit by artist John Biebel, who creates the perfumes and designs the artwork (I really love the presentation of this brand) for a set of fragrances that are unusual, at times even freakish, but which have a certain plaintive, medicinal man-o’-the-woods sanctity running through their veins : you can feel that nature and space are very important for this person; alongside a certain goth sensitivity, heartfulness, and rebellious originality.





Eiderantler, which sounds rather like a Cocteau Twins b-side, is curiously described as an ‘ivy fougere’. It has not an ounce of sweetness, at least not initially, but has a frank delicacy to it of woodland branches and fresh air : green leaves, ivy, moss and balsam fir wreathing through  an oak, lavender and fine hayed vetiver scent that creates a discreet aura of stepping through undergrowth and inhaling cold, clean air. It would be too ‘deliberate’ and self-serious for me, perhaps, but it was the perfect match for our friend Skyler who stayed the other night with their partner: androgyny was a requisite in the perfumes I chose for them and this one rung all the bells : for the fact that it was ‘bold yet quiet’, and seemed to have ‘revelations waiting to happen’. Living in Hawaii (the sound of which, all those tropical flowers on the air, makes me really want to go to Honolulu – if I can only put up with the music, which I think would drive me bananas), they were shivering in the cold of Japan on Wednesday morning as we tried to heat up the place with kerosene, but determined to go hiking nevertheless; stopping off at temples, whose solemness and ancient gravity is only augmented by cold raindrops on tall trees;  unnerving, at the marrow level, in its judgmental austerity ; the dark-leaved ivy of the Eiderantler – on the skin – a numinous allegory.








Filed under Fougère, Green

directors and crew laugh at my ‘star turn’ in Spoiled Identity




Filed under Flowers






After gleefully combing the plush kitsch bric a brac emporia at the Silk Center and an exhibition on Saudi women’s headdresses at the Yokohama EurAsian Art Museum on Saturday, we went for a slow and relaxing dinner at the Cafe de la Paix for beef stew comfort food, red wine, and a view of the yellowing ginkgo and zelkova trees outside – as autumn, though still warm here, alights its inexorable touch of melancholy in the air, and lends the perfect November backdrop to the grander, more atmospheric side of Yokohama, the area near Osambashi Pier, Marine Tower and Yamashita Park.




It is sometimes quite nice to just linger in one or two blocks of a city, in detail, taking your time ( we marvelled at the richness; just how many intriguing places there are packed into one dense area – I imagine that this is what New York must be like in the fall, a city I should already have been to..) : I love boulevards, apartments, misted windows; unknown happenings hidden in stone buildings ………after a while we had made our way to yet another  place down a side street down another side street ( the fact you will never discover all the bees in the honeycomb; the dive bars, the cheap eateries; a boxing gym, old wooden houses.. it is this that I love about cities; the evolving labyrinth you can never a hundred percent know).














Stormy Monday – rather than Gloomy Sunday – was a neon lit, tucked-away live house we eventually found with GPS; instruments ready for a rock set.








Star of the show  – and this woman really is quite something – was Emi Leonora, a legendary punk jazz prog rock chanteuse and brilliant pianist, who mainly improvised her songs, beginning with a guttural, but melodic pitch perfect howl, and with jazz and classical pianistics, joined gradually by her tight-as-fuck band on guitar, drums and bass, rising and apotheosising up into Zeppelinesque/King Crimsonesque rock funk mesmers that had us in thrall and writhing on our banquettes as she glissandoed and arpeggioed up and down the piano like the instrumental break in David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane. Again and again like a thunderstorm in your heart. 





The singer was wearing Chanel No 5. Greeting her when we came in ( D has miraculously already shot her in his film, somehow collecting a whole fistful of strong Tokyo divas in his recent years of flitting about different scenes and theatres and venues) in pivotal scenes of madness;she gave off powdered musk emanations of carnality I recognised – so womanly, fleshy, disturbing in the lower notes but damn sexy; but couldn’t quite place until I saw the bottle next to her things on our table 













Great to smell this aldehydic classic in a new context. Of fierce aesthetic and mind, Emi has been a fixture of the Tokyo demimonde for three decades in various guises but is still constantly trying out new things ( this was only the second time the band had performed together apparently, which was miraculous. They were a pulsating organism ). I felt she was fully alive, agitating the moment and reacting to it in the moment; yet the perfume felt, and smelled, like a nod, despite the rebellious middle finger of the music –  to classical taste – she is a lady underneath. There was also a happy birthday – the bassist had just turned sixty, followed by a raucous song with cake and candles in celebration of that; and then another announcement, to the absolute delight of the audience, that they had just got married. Inspiring.


Filed under Flowers



November 2, 2019 · 6:51 pm

clown collection






Filed under Flowers