I am quite low energy at present, just getting through the weeks. This is the longest and most entrenched rainy season I can remember, a dreary, wet, oppressive and overcast continuum that has just sucked away my vitality. What reserves remain I have been keeping for the classroom; ideas for pieces bubble up, but then I instead find myself slumped in an armchair in front of the projector, soaking up cinematic images, or else in front of the computer, like a vampire drinking up dramas or reality TV.




This year we are all living at half mast. It’s a strange hibernation that we have had to resign ourselves to. The masked life is deeply depleting to the blood and to the senses, but we do it for good reason ( = I protect you : you protect me ). Overall it is working, relatively speaking ( look at the UK and America in comparison !) – I just don’t understand why compliance is so difficult, but I am too tired to go into it ( please do tell me what is happening wherever you are, though : I feel that I need to reconnect, rather than just moping about in the rain lost in my own unstimulating thoughts ( my DREAMS, on the other hand…. my god they are wilder and more unbelievable than ever…) )



On Sunday there was an unpredicted respite / let up in the weather. The skies cleared, became blue, and the sun came out blazing : and so was my mood. I frustrate myself in being so weather and atmosphere dependent : sometimes I just wish I could be less porous; more contained; less weather-affected. But my emotions are like a barometer that rises and falls just like mercury in the miserable air pressure. Sure, I like rainy days occasionally : sometimes they can be cathartic, soothing ( and there is no better weather for listening to my beloved Tori Amos). But when the sun comes out; real summer, I am like a snake shedding skin – the shining being beneath released.


Paco Rabanne Sport is a delightfully lithe and fresh perfume I used to wear as a teenager. Basenotes lists these ingredients :


A subtle, floral green citrus with an unobtrusive skin base perfect for a white polo shirt, I still have a couple of bottles of this discontinued ( and underrated ) classic that I wear spontaneously when the mood strikes. I remember when it first came out back home being beside myself getting free little sample tubes of the shower gel and the edt


– which were DIVINE to my young senses in July: this was definitely one of my pivotal, ecstatic scent moments as I became gradually more and more besotted with perfume.

And although I have of course moved on to many, many others in the meantime, when Shiseido released a quite similar ‘green floral for men’ in Japan in 1997, not long after I arrived, available in a full range of products from hair mousse to gel to deodorant to splash on cologne ( on Sunday I wore the eau fraiche: a sap white lotion you have to shake first before applying to the body – a deliciously cooling fluid talc), together with the Paco Rabanne, they made D lean in as we passed each other on the stairs, and smile (‘You smell lovely’); the spot on accompaniment to sitting quietly among the plants on the balcony, looking on wistfully at the disappearing sun.



Filed under Flowers

39 responses to “SPORT de PACO RABANNE (1986) + UNTIED by SHISEIDO (1997)

  1. Tara C

    Mandatory masks indoors are going into effect this Saturday in Quebec. It feels like shutting the barn door after the horse has already escaped, but whatever. Sorry to hear about all your rain, I would find that depressing as well. I love sunny skies, they affect my mood as well.

  2. bibimaizoon

    Lockdown is lockdone here in Nepal. Borders are sealed, no international flights, all long routes are closed, & we are barricaded in the tiny town of Pokhara. But no one is enforcing the mandatory mask dictate nor the Phase 2 rules of lockdown. Salons & restaurants are illegally open & only about half the population is wearing masks. Still, a surprisingly low death count of 38 and only 17,061 confirmed cases.
    It has been an unusually wet year here in Nepal too, 30 inches of rain in the past 3 months and now the Monsoon has begun!! Broiling hot South Asian sun today though.
    I remember Sport de Paco Rabanne! A fresh & gorgeous green citrusy spice fragrance. That was “sport” before the sinus searing ozone & aquatic “sport” scents took over in the 90s.

    • Cue several weeping emojis…… EXACTLY


    • zaniaballentine

      Oh how I long for days where I can browse flea markets here in the UK and grab a bargain like Chanel No.19 vintage Parfum and not spend a fortune! I envy your days of perfume shopping in Japan while hoping one day to take my daughter there – she is passionate about Anime and all things kawaii and we both long to walk under a blossom tree 😆

      Here in the UK masks will be compulsory as if 24th and about time I say. As you said, I protect you, protect me.

      I’m currently reading your book and digesting it with such enthusiasm and excitement. I adore your writing style! You have made me want to try three perfumes already and I’ve only just started it today 🙏🏻

      Enjoy your rain, I know sometimes it’s monotonous but you know there’s a perfume to be made yet that can mimic the spiritual inhale that is the first smell of rain 😉

      All the best 🙏🏻☺️

      • Hi

        Thanks for writing this, and I pray things get better for everyone as well.

        Excited you are enjoying the book ; may its vast indulgences take people’s minds off the coronabullshit, if even for a few moments.

        Which perfumes caught your fancy?

      • zaniaballentine

        Your book is a true delight… and a far wide distraction for me from the coronabullshit – in fact a two hour distraction yesterday 😉 which has also drawn me to your blog hence me being here!

        The perfumes that have so far landed on my ‘To try’ list are:

        Mandarin Basilic – Guerlain
        Neroli Portifino – Tom Ford
        Angel – Thierry Mugler

        I am, (surprisingly to myself), floral oriental when I look up those perfumes I currently wear and love however I know the main scents I adore and wish to experiment with now so am keen to jump outside my perfume box (so to speak).

        Have a marvellous day! I’ll be dipping back into your book with a scented tea today for sure, more than likely the Bergamot rich Earl who I have fancied for such a long time

  3. In the US, the states that have been wearing masks since April seem to be doing better than those that haven’t (and are now recently being mandated again to wear them). Restaurants recently reopened for indoor seating with tables at least 6 feet apart.
    My mood is pretty weather dependent as well, although getting lost in a drama onscreen helps. I tend to gravitate toward watching old shows.
    A friend was telling me that mood-enhancing glasses work—they are these completely pink translucent glasses so you can see the world in pink, literally, and that’s supposed to make you happy. I haven’t tried it, but it might be worth a go!

    • Hilarious ( and quite interesting ..)

      But I will just weather the pall until the Rainy Season passes -which it always does – and typhoons aside – there is a huge amount of sunshine right through until January. Fortunately it is not a proper depression in my case, more a sense of working at low capacity and feeling subdued.

      Re : masks,,, I just can’t go there. I can’t understand why there is even a debate when we know the coronafuck is spread from the mouth and nostrils. If it were spread from hair follicles, the entire world would need to be bald or wear swim caps. I see arrogant US military man sprawling on the trains here sometimes without marks looking all smug and self-satisfied and I want to SLAP them. One was even doing it wearing a hideous Spongebob t shirt the other day and he made me embarrassed to be a ‘westerner’. I scurried away obediently, masked like everyone else..

      • Because surely, the virus is “elsewhere,” not anywhere close to their invincible selves…
        Everything in ebbs and flows—it’s natural to be at less than 100% sometimes. Time to recharge in the background.

      • I think so too. I actually almost enjoy the feeling: one can’t be a fiery tempest all the time !

  4. I am very luck that I am not too weather dependent, because the weather here changes quite frequently. Although I do enjoy sunny days overall, rainy days are comforting as well, as long as I don’t have to venture forth into the damp.
    I remember smelling Sport ages ago, a truly wonderful scent that made my nose tingle, in a good way. The Shiseido I am not as familiar with, but I am sure it is lovely. Shiseido does fragrance very well.
    As far as masks go, this country is a mess. The whole wearing of masks has been so politicized that it has put many at risk. Where I live I see some people with masks, but not as many as I would like to see. Thank goodness it is more of a rural place, or things could be really bad. In some of the larger cities here the Covid 19 cases are much higher. Thank goodness I don’t have to go into the cities too often.
    Hope the sunny days will be more frequent for you my friend.

  5. Robin

    As always, great photos.

    Sorry to hear you’re feeling a little damp along with the days. I’m with you on the mood-weather connection. Here on the southwest coast of BC, it’s been unusually cool and wet, more like spring, and we’ve been craving the more-normal cloudless blue skies and perfect warmth. Finally, two days ago, we got it. Oh, man, what a relief. I didn’t realize I was walking around with a brick on each shoulder. I’m featherlight now. Balmy walks along the sandy ocean edge at low tide, early morning swims in front of my shack, dinners on the deck — it’s broken wide into July. Everything has changed. Especially after the psychological dead weight of covid for four crappy, semi-paranoid months, it’s a little miracle. (We’ve been lucky here, as you know — we were just told six confirmed cases in our region all told, so a case or two a month for a region the size of Cornwall — but reading about all the loss and suffering all over the world has been brutal. Those idiots south of the border. That feeling alone, of incredulity and revulsion, is enough to make a woman batty.)

    And now it’s raining again.

    So you torture us by making us go gaga over a discontinued gem?! Sport de Paco Rabanne sounds perfect for Ric. Anything current that’s close to it? You owe us that much, lol.

    • Tara C

      What part of the island are you on Robin? North or south of Nanaimo? That’s great you had so few cases. My family lives in Sooke, I’m hoping to move there next year. So tired of Montréal.

      • I think it is the right move. I couldn’t leave the city life I don’t think, but I think the cooped up lockdown was probably the final straw for you.

      • Tara C

        I almost did it last year, then chickened out. But the pandemic was the last straw, I’m over my love affair with the big city.

      • Robin

        On the Sunshine Coast, actually. Across the Salish Sea from Nanaimo. Forty minute ferry from Horseshoe Bay near West Vancouver. Very quiet here — although busier in the summer with the usual tourists.

        Sooke area is really nice. That’s good your family is there. You’re close to Victoria, charming little city, and close to many of the most beautiful areas of Vancouver Island. Short hops across the ocean to idyllic islands like Hornby and Cortes, too. Sounds like a change would suit you well. Caution, though: rather quiet if you love Montreal nightlife. And food not so fancy. But pristine fish and seafood. Oh, the Dungeness crab and Spot prawns!!

        And Neil. Yes, just a touch of conifer is good, not the whole chain-sawed forest like some Slumberhouse releases. As for the world out there, I’m drawn to the drama of it all sometimes, like a soap opera slash horror movie.

      • Tara C

        Ah, so you’re on the mainland – somehow I got the impression you were on the island. I’m not worried about quiet, I am not at all a nightlife or food person, and with the pandemic I’ve become even more of a hermit than I already was. What I loved about Montréal was the fun summer festivals and the shopping. But I’m fine with leaving that chapter of my life behind. My perfume collection will outlive me as it is!

      • USE MORE !!


      • Tara C

        I’m trying! Two to three scents a day, at least 6 spritzes per wearing. Yesterday I put on 30 spritzes of Grandiflora Queen of the Night.

      • Tara C

        Yes! It is quite weak on me, plus it was hot & humid. Even after 30 spritzes there was hardly any sillage.

      • Robin

        It seems like an island because you can only get to us by boat or airplane!

        Sounds like you might find Sooke perfect then, Tara. Lots of festivals on the island (once we get back to some semblance of normalcy) and a good vibe. Hope you don’t mind a little rain in the spring, fall and winter. I find it calming and restorative . . . but I’m a born and bred West Coaster, so it’s in my DNA. Summers are glorious.

    • No I think it really is a one off – but one day you’ll come across it cheaply at a garage sale or something. What I love about it is that there is only a SLIGHT coniferous edge – I can’t stand too much of all that; the other ingredients are more subdued supporters of the crisp main theme, which is one of those accords that just make you happy.

      Your shack by the water sounds wonderful. But I am like you: even if my own private world is ok, I can’t block out what is outside. Even if you make a conscious effort to, it is THERE.

  6. I am enjoying time out from normality. I like the solitude. It has been invigorating to jump off the hamster wheel.

    • I did too, to a large extent : the whole year just feels like an extended time out. We naturally start slowing down and in some ways become more centered. At the same time, for me there was/is always something unnerving and oppressive lurking in the air that makes me feel somehow amputated

  7. Z

    Arizona, horrifyingly, has… the worst covid outbreak in the world. The WORLD. That’s where I’m at.

    Less than half the people out and about are masked. It pisses me off and feels hopeless. Businesses, including close-quarters places like gyms, opened a while ago. Only now after we are getting international attention for how bad it is are stores requiring masks for entry.

    It’s also 106 degrees(terrible American who hasn’t learned Celsius, had to google: over 40C) every day, which is depressing and confining in a different way, i’m obsessed with the sun but it’s too strong now to be outside for any length of time. And of course I can’t be inside anywhere else. So i’m at home always, or at my partner’s home which is a blessing- reading, compulsively buying small things online, playing around with natural perfume ingredients, trying to stay in touch… going thru a big 50s movie phase, Funny Face, Rear Window, next is Charade..

    I am such an extrovert that this has been truly grueling but for whatever reason I have an all-or-nothing approach to isolation, the anxiety of trying to navigate the safety of potential protected social interactions is too much, as is the pain of connecting distantly with friends i can’t see anytime soon. I don’t have anything to share besides that i’m depressed, so part of me would rather not talk to anyone until it’s all over. Does that make sense?? I’m just sitting with it.

    I *am* super losing it, the spark of life ignited by rubbing up against other personalities, the thoughts I am capable of when in a crowd, super integral to my personality and best self and it’s very tragic to not be able to engage with that at all. I’m missing a big part of myself that’s brought on by connecting with other people. It’s totally an externally forced period of depression.

    But I got like 12 Luckyscent samples to dive into, so hey! Last order, the favorite was Roberto Greco “Oeilleres”, which I doubt I will ever upsize or wear as it’s not *me* but truly can’t stop smelling. An anti-floral, chamomile and pollen. Very wild.

    • Tara C

      It’s been really hot and humid here in Montréal too, so I hear you on the summer quarantine. I am also not feeling like calling friends that I can’t see anytime soon. For all intents and purposes I’ve become a hermit.

    • I wrote a really long response to this on my iPhone and infuriatingly it wouldn’t upload the comment.

      I hope things get better there, I really do.

    • Robin

      Thank you for writing this. I’m sorry you’re going through all of it. Arghh. I can empathize with what you’re feeling because you’ve described it so well. I hope things begin to shift for you soon. Damn.

      We’re lucky we’ve got Neil to bring us all together. I know theblacknarcissus has helped me hang on to a couple of precious shreds of sanity through this. I will need it for the foreseeable — grim — future. Hang in there, too.

  8. OnWingsofSaffron

    Hallo from Cologne. Most people wear masks. And rightly so. There is a small group of protesters, marginal I guess and hope. Still, I hate wearing the bloody thing. I do of course, but my rosacea is blooming underneath the hot and sweaty mask. I can’t see through my glasses properly, I realized the other day that I crossed the road without seeing properly!
    Still Covid-19 seems well under control: 350 new infections yesterday for a country of 80 million is a real success! Btw, our federal minister of health is a young, openly gay man; our chancellor a woman. I believe a departure from strict paternalistic gender constructions (The Leader is a Man) or from strict heteronormativity makes a difference in good governance. — I‘m not trying to say thats the reason Germany is doing comparably well; that will be due to many things. Just, perhaps it‘s one of those many aspects?

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