Could a perfume with such a title  be released in a better year?





The domestic argument we are currently wrapped up in as I write this involves some truly horrifying drama we had from outside yesterday that I don’t feel it would be wise to exactly write about right now, but which we are processing. My goodness. That came most unexpectedly.






But even if that hadn’t happened yesterday, the Sloth issue would still exist. Because I AM the sloth. He has just told me. so L A Z Y . Going to bed unspeaking. Sloth residing. The problem being, despite the fact that I have just cooked a perfectly fragrant and edible dinner, that at the deepest, cellular level, I don’t give a  shit about almost anything. I despise it from the bottom of my heart: The housework, the commute, the dishes, the structures, the wiping up and putting the dishcloths aside; the floor, the bills, the drudgery  – I fucking hate all of it. I can’t be arsed. So to me the fair sloth is not a bad creature – it has found the life.   It just FUCKING slobs around. In green spaces. Breathes the air. At its own pace. Hangs from a tree; slowly. Not giving a shit. Chewing leaves or smelling things of just thinking or being sloth like. Looking upward into the sky and knowing how damn boring it is. It CAN’T BE ARSED. And then does it again. And then dies. Would you rather be a cheetah? OR A FRANTIC SQUIRREL?  (duncan’ would). I WOULD RATHER JUST LIE BACK, LOOK INTO THE SUNSHINE ABOVE THE FOREST CANOPY AND PLAY DEAD.





















Whatever. ::::the notes are fresh and citric, green and marigoldy; chamomile. hay, moss; sleepy. I sniffed it once, it felt fresher than a sloth to me. A real sloth would smell more hairy, more dirty -=more lazy. but still. probably the best sloth I am going to get in a bottle anytime soon round here, innit

























Photo on 4-30-20 at 9.31 PM.jpg

















(facetiming with my slothmeister, looking for a new direction in career : it was quite a difficult interview, actually)


Photo on 4-30-20 at 9.31 PM #2.jpg











– it turned out that I was the lazier





49 responses to “A TOTAL, LAZY FUCK : SLOTH by ZOOLOGIST (2020)

  1. Cute review, short but to the point. Enjoy your lazy day.

    • It was shit thanks. And the slothmeister interviewer turned out to be WAY more active than I liked – I am hoping to meet with another one next week who really takes this lassitude and non-moving much more seriously. I was hoping for a diet of bushery and coca leaves.

  2. Tara C

    I admit to being quite lazy, and I find daily life quite boring and tedious. So there is a lot of sloth in me. But at the same time, I have an OCD tidiness streak, where seeing things out of place makes me crazy. So I sit and stare at the mess resenting having to clean it again to relieve the stress of the disarray. My husband is dirty and sloppy which increases my cleaning workload, which I also resent. We had an argument about that Monday night. We are both on edge, as you must be as well. It will pass when we are able to go out and live more normally.

    • My slothness is getting slothier, but I don’t find daily life boring and tedious I just find all the SHIT YOU HAVE TO DO boring and tedious. If I could just rest on a branch for eight hours at a time in the sun and green I would be just FINE.

      Why can’t we just take years out as a creature of our own discretion?

      I am ready for this. I HAVE EARNED THIS.

  3. matty1649

    Neil, I know what you mean. I’m getting ever more slothful with each passsing day.I live alone and I’m really missing seeing my family properly.My daughter and grandaughters do my shopping and bring it to my house, They leave it at my door and step back to the end of the path. When I go to the door to bring it in I can have some conversation with them.We have a group txt to keep in touch every day.I also miss seeing my Greatgrandchildren. They’ve made me rainbow pictures. Rainbow pictures are to thank the NHS.
    The young man who lives next door and the young man across the street ring or txt me to make sure I’m ok and ask if I need anything.
    I’m well looked after. I started self isolation 2 weeks before the official lock down because of my age and underlying health problems.I’ve been isolated now for 7 weeks. It’s so soul destroying. I’ve worn perfume every day,mainly Guerlain, to lift my spirits. I’m wearing L’Instant today.
    Hope my reply doesn’t sound too depressing. XX

    • Not at all. I just think you MUST somehow go up the tree; find a spot facing the sun, and then just STAY THERE. We will communicate, somehow, if necessary through slothian telepathy.

      • matty1649

        I didn’t want it to sound as if I was wallowing in self pity.I’m not really like that. I’m very independent and I’m usually out and about every day. My ancient legs are having a bit of difficulty climbing to the top of the tree, but I’ll make it.I’ll wave and blow kisses from my tree to your tree . keep Safe both of you XXXX

      • Ignore me. I am not quite right of mind tonight. I will still see you in the tree later, and we will have a nice chat, swinging upside down, chewing the odd leaf, and discussing the situation. x

  4. Those are some great sloth pictures. There’s a reason sloths feature in coffee-table books and all sorts of merchandise! I hope you get to feeling better.

  5. Robin

    I SO RELATE!!!!!!! I loved this piece, adore it, and laughed out loud at your photos, which takes a lot to get out of me!!

    I think we have a mutual tendency towards inertia. Now we’ve stopped all that pre-virus activity, it would require an enormous effort to get revved up to that level again. I know that, at least for me, there is something satisfying about walking past the same dirty coffee cup and serenely, intentionally NOT doing anything about it. Actually savoring the feeling of not giving a fuck. Not HAVING to give a fuck. It’s like exerting my will without having to lift a finger. There’s some strange power in it.

    And left to our own devices it must be admitted that, sloth-like, we LIKE just . . . hanging around.

    • Renée Stout

      OMG! I can totally relate to both you and Neil! All I feel like doing is my art, day after day and couldn’t care less about those dust bunnies rolling around under the sofa like tumbleweeds across the plains. I laughed out loud as well as I read Neil’s post, having coffee and still in my pajamas at 11:39 am.

      • Robin

        Now I laughed out loud at your dust bunnies! And I relate to you doing your art. Nice!

      • I almost deleted this as it was so stupid but I tend to have a general non-censoring policy of myself so just left it. This IS how I feel though.

        Also – I think if I could be an animal, I would be a GREEN animal.

        I love the colour of these creatures! Koalas are boring because they just eat eucalyptus for 1 hour of the day and then sleep for 23 because the food they are addicted to drugs them. It’s a truly pointless existence. At least these critters have a wry smile on their face and just…..hang there. But hopefully aware. How gorgeous.



    • I could weep that someone understands the deep beauty of such an attitude. Watch something fall to the ground. Leave it. Don’t even look to see what it is. Fuck it.

      The only thing you can be bothered to do: reach out and grab a gorgeous perfume; slowly bring it towards you, and apply it.

      Smell it.

      Keep hanging.

  6. Robin

    Please write about the truly horrifying drama.

    As soon as you’re moved to.

  7. bibimaizoon

    I too, am someone whom could blissfully do nothing for hours on end. No, make that days on end. Sigh, sometimes I wonder if I could actually function in the ‘real world” anymore? One of the joys of South Asia is being able to afford servants. Not sure I could live without a maid, driver & gardener.
    The notes of Zoologist’s Sloth sound like a lovely late summers’ day. I have actually smelled a living sloth in Costa Rica. Dank mildew, fishy green algae, stale bovine urine, and a slight goaty funk are what real sloths smell like. A popular easy-to-catch treat amongst native Costa Ricans, tasted a bit like venison after being stewed overnight.

  8. Ann

    Oh I get it….we have had spectacular rows during this time…I just want him to F**** off and leave me alone. Normal life is but a dream!

  9. Ha! Ha! A perfume indeed for our times, Mr Chapman. Great review. I’ve been wearing Ennui_Noir by Filippo Sorcinelli. Another perfume for our times.

    • I love his stuff. And that scent. I could happily buy and wear most of the range. A bit pricy though…..

      Have you ever interviewed him?

      I would be a bit daunted I think.

      • Yip, pricey for sure, but then he does offer something very conceptual and different. He’s on my to-interview list. I just need to explore his perfumes more before getting in the touch with him. Maybe he’s nothing like the image he portrays.

      • I wonder….

        His sea perfumes Undum Maris is it? and NEbbia Spessa are quite spectacular, I think.

      • Those I definitely need to try. Thanks for the recommendations.

  10. Bob / Chicago night

    Hazy Days
    With Lazy Ways
    You get less done but more
    Out of your days….

    Do you remember the lyrics? 10cc in the mid-70’s. Bless you all.

    • I don’t.

      But I do have a 10cc album somewhere. …

      And I agree with this mantra, essentially. I know I have been ALIVE, in the moment, almost the entire time I have been on this earth. If I die tomorrow, I know I have lived. Some people – the super busy ones, always rushing around frantically with the future, not infusing into the moment – are in a strange, hardbound shell. I don’t envy them.

  11. You can’t be a total sloth – you’ve written a book! What is your new career direction?

    • This is very true.

      I am not one of those slobs who doesn’t want to do ANYTHING.

      All I actually want to do is WRITE THE NEXT ONE. THE ONE ON JAPAN.

      After that…………..no clue whatsoever.

      Become an actual sloth in some rainforest.

      How about yourself?

      • Frantic squirrel with slothful ambition! A book on Japan sounds great. What is your vision for the book if you don’t mind me asking?

      • My vision is a no-holds barred, autobiography / sociological exploration of my time here. Some truly dramatic things have happened, including witnessing a suicide, death from overwork, the earthquake, the typhoon, a house burning down, bullying – did you read the chapter I put up here in the post called Blind? I want to capture those dreadful experiences and extrapolate from them why particular things occur here in Japan. Overall, I want the book to be positive though, as I essentially was reborn here in many ways, so it will definitely end on a high note. The country has given me the space – ironically, given the work culture – to rewrite myself, become an author, and to have this crazy artistic life with D in Tokyo which has been like finally finding out who you are in a late adolescence. Japan has been like my surrogate mother in a way. I want to capture the beauty of the place, the addictiveness, but also not shy away from critiquing the more terrible aspects. The problem of course is the whole thing of whether a person has the ‘right’ to discuss another culture from the subjective viewpoint. I personally think they absolutely do, but still want it to be sensitive.

        There have been so many books on Japan, but I still think mine can bring a fresh perspective and that people would find it interesting.

        What do you reckon?

      • First of all, I am sorry to hear that you witnessed a suicide. That in itself must have been distressing, let alone the earthquake and the threat from the Fukushima disaster. Typhoon and burning house – you have certainly had your challenges, yet you have both survived all of these. I read you had an operation too. Now you are facing the Coronavirus together! These would have been challenging to deal with in your native country, let alone in a different culture the other side of the world. You have both come through this and shown great resilience.

        I did read your chapter on bullying – perhaps book number 3 with a bit of psychology chucked in?

        But I think your idea sounds really great. To write about the cultural aspects of Japan that you have experienced both good and bad, sounds really interesting. Occasionally we get the odd documentary about Japan, which although interesting, seems to focus on the superficial, eccentricity of the place, which skews our perspective of the country (and clearly exist), but does not and cannot give an insight into the true spiritual essence of a place that only you can – after embracing the culture for as long as you have.


        Although I like to read about your thoughts on perfume, I also enjoy reading your descriptions and feelings and experiences of everyday life in Japan.

        As for questioning a ‘right’ to comment on another culture, we live in a global community and I am certain the length of time you have lived abroad qualifies for you to comment!

        GO. FOR. IT.

      • Thank you. I need this encouragement! Now please say it to my publisher (it might be something of a leap in some people’s eyes, from perfume to autobiography /arm chair cultural anthropology, but as you say, I have always been writing about different things on The Black Narcissus – rarely just straight perfume reviews. I would honestly be BORED TO DEATH if that was all I could write about. I like the juncture).

        Interesting what you say about the Bullying chapter. I don’t think the bullying + psychology chapter would necessarily need to go into another book, as the whole thing will be concentrating on the psyche as a whole, (as I see it anyway.) Which isn’t just the cutesy wacky Euroviewpoint that you so rightly point to here. Thanks for the links.

        Where do you live, again?

      • Yes maybe the bullying element should be a chapter, if it fits into the ‘psyche’ you plan to write about. Perhaps a whole book on bullying could be overwhelming.

        Have you thought about writing an introductory first chapter as a taster for your publisher?

        The U.K.

        Good luck with it!

      • God I would never write a whole book on bullying. I don’t have the experience of it for a start.

        I think I will send off a proposal once I get settled with all this new teaching style etc. Do you think British readers would be interested in it? I feel they would. Japanese people too.

  12. In your heart you are an artist but are forced to work a job/career for economic reasons like most of us. Unfortunately for me, I am not a sloth. I truly do not enjoy cleaning, but I enjoy clean living quarters. Today I took an hour and a half walk after I thoroughly cleaned my condo. Now I am having a glass of wine and reading the comments on your post. This is the first time I have looked at my computer or my phone all day. Tomorrow I can be a sloth because I did all my cleaning. The best thing about cleaning is the moment I am finished.

  13. Filomena

    I would love to read a book on your perspective and experiences of living in Japan. Please write it. 🙏

    • I truly want to. That is the sloth thing I suppose. If I could I would JUST do that. I know I HAVE TO GET THIS BOOK OUT!

      I need to express what I have seen and known.

  14. I have hope that you will do it when you are ready to.

    • I am ready now; have already started! I just need the mental space to continue. But I also know I CANNOT be complaining about anything given the situation that so many people are in. These things can wait.

  15. Great! We all look forward to it.

  16. I love sloths and like to think of myself as being similar to them, but alas I am not. Do not get me wrong, I am not the domestic Goddess, or anything like that, but I do like my clothes to be freshly laundered and all put away, the hardwood floors to be clean and dust free and never a dirty dish in the sink. On the other hand, I could just as easily lie in bed for hours on end simply scrolling through FaceBook or reading. I am an enigma.
    As far as Sloth by Zoologist goes, I probably would not find it interesting enough to be bothered with it.

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