There are not so many ‘dark’ tuberoses. But Odor 93 is a perfect example of one : it is gorgeous. While some of the perfumes in this mystical Italian brand’s arsenal are too intense or freakishly experimental for my personal taste – the rum-drenched rotting pineapple of Notturno ( so bizarre ! ), or the strange cloying aromaticized balsamic musks of Oblivion (L’Obblio)- which D has unexpectedly taken a shining to; the curious jagged potency of Narcotico; Odor 93 speaks to me directly and will become a part of my personal armory.
Like a tuberosed Vol De Nuit, this shadowy, fungal amber has notes of narcissus, sage, cumin, birch leaves, clove, tobacco, patchouli and vetiver over a powdery vanilla from which protrudes, undaunted, a continuous, fresh living tuberose. While at first I was slightly put off by the jarringly dark, earth-bound elements, these have gradually become addictive (“L’Odore e L’anima che disegna la nostra anima”) and an essential part of this unusual perfume’s appeal.
Plus: unlike too, too many niche perfumes which are weird for weirdness’s sake, Odor 93 is very harmonious on skin, gradually losing some of the tenebrous savour of the beginning and gaining a tuberose clarity within a light vanilla backdrop that leaves you in no doubt who is the main player here. For tuberose lovers and those who like Vol De Nuit and Mystere (two of my personal touchstones), Odor 93 is very highly recommended.
An integral aside : ( related to Odor 93 ):
January and February was one of, if not the, most stressful experiences of my life; essentially, I short circuited from anger and the stress from all the idiocy and oblivion around me, which led to my current problems with vertigo, although the larger fury and despair have largely dissipated in the last few weeks when I have ‘found myself ‘ again. I need not to let myself restart fizzing at the gills because I must avoid electrical burnout (but going back to work tomorrow…..,windows will open wherever I turn, no matter the consequences…. )
Control yourself. Retain equilibrium.
( But Japanese government: third largest economy in the world :
…… …………. …..but back to Odor 93.
This perfume played a curious role on one of the worst days during that ultra tumultuous period when COVID-19 was in one of my schools and the two affected teachers when they came back still refused to open windows out of some fucked up notion of ‘stamina’ or ‘selflessness’ (just writing about it now is making my heart beat very rapidly with rage- I think I have had too much coffee, I need to watch it); anyway, just when I had contended with witnessing three paramedics coming into the schooling evening in full emergency suits and an afflicted student sat in a tiny windowless interview room with dozens of students milling by (USELESS lack of proper action; it turned out he had a collapsed lung that was non corona related but the school should so obviously have been evacuated as a sensible precaution);seeing this scene and standing a metre away from the motionless boy sent me into an anxiety attack ( ‘the world around me is insane ‘ type thing); this is just one of many instances that pushed me over the brink and tumbling rapidly down the rabbit hole of labyrinthitis.
The icing on the cake was our landlord’s decision – arigato! – despite my pleas, to send in workmen – something I hate at the best of times – at precisely the time I was in desperate need of complete quiet and calm.
You will have read the plum and plumbing story about the kitchen flooding fiasco; the bath was also blocked – so I was relieved to get that sorted even though it involved a set of lumbering uncouthed geriatric odd job people plundering through our house: at least we were finally able to properly bathe and shower again.
What truly could have waited, though, and he could SEE what a stressed out state I was in, was the floorboards upstairs, which had worn thin : there were even a couple of holes – but covered with carpet – that we had been living with for years. THERE WAS NO NEED. NOT THEN.
But no. My attitude was considered ‘selfish’- so we had to spend an entire weekend, just at the time we needed to be recuperating from the corona horror, moving everything upstairs, leading to violent arguments ( D completely lost it, hitting the furniture.)
The next day, knowing these oafs would be invading the house for part one, I fled, if you recall, to the Atami Plum Blossom Park, which was very beautiful. In the upstairs computer room, bare, I had sprayed a scent strip heavily with Odor 93, just because I wanted something beautiful among the chaos, to come home to ; and left the window open.
When I got home, the creamy spectral ghost of Fracas was floating in the room, which was the first time I realized how charming the scent was in its final soliflore stages. I decided to leave it there as a provisional room-scenter – I love coming into a space, a particular room, and being met by a distinctive smell that fuses with time and space – not that this was a time I particularly care to reminisce over ( I am getting a headache writing this).
I had been told that if there was rain the next day, ‘they’ would not be coming. I looked at the weather forecast – heavy rain – with deep gratitude. Tuesday is the beginning of my week, and in the morning and early afternoon before teaching I need quiet ; to just chill out reading the newspaper, do some exercise, take a bath, be alone. Teaching – especially with you and them all in face masks – requires a great deal of energy; I am the kind of teacher who engages with each student on an emotional, even psychic, level – and it takes a lot out of me. The second the rain stopped and I heard the truck pull up outside I was sweating no, no, no in desperation. Please tell me they haven’t just arrived outside. NO!!!
But the spades and hammers and electrics and planers and screwdrivers were already knocking on my door; I had just woken up properly, still had morning breath, greasy bedhair, in my thermals, yet before I knew it they were traipsing up the stairs without even proper greetings, using the toilet without asking, trampling through my bedroom and onto the balcony to set up the cables. Grabbing my work stuff I hastily showered – one of them at one point opened the bathroom door and I yelped at them to get out – I was hot/cold clammy and outraged – I had been TOLD specifically they wouldn’t come on a rain day ; much worse was next :
I had closed the door of the room with the hole because I didn’t want the cat to get trapped in the roof and had explicitly instructed them as such. One of these unblinking fuckers, carrying a big electric drill on his shoulder then promptly opened the door upon which Mori of course then immediately plunged straight down into the void.
I would like to say that I didn’t push or slap the man in question slightly in anger but this would not be true. He was looking through me as if I didn’t exist, like something from Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. But I had to get to work, and now the cat’s meow was echoing around the house like the little lost girl in Poltergeist, and these fools were just making it worse with their insensate stompings that were making her disappear further and further into the ceiling.
She would meow, then come to the surface, and then when I would coax her in a ‘here, kitty kitty’ type plea (a voice I never use: they say cats don’t have owners, but slaves : that has never been me, she gets one chance to come in when she meows at the door and then it closes again: I am the boss), which is of course why she wasn’t falling for it. And why she kept going and going back in.
Exasperating isn’t the word for it : I wanted to wring her neck. Why now ? The workers tried stamping strategically to drive her out, and eventually, after an eternity, she rushed out fearfully and twinkle footed her way sheepishly onto the balcony., jumping across to the neighbour’s roof, and softly disappearing.
I left immediately after that, where I went to a park, to try to calm down : but broke out into full body hives.
I still haven’t put up Screaming Cassandras, which details this horrendous period and the overwhelming frustration of Japan’s attitude towards the coronavirus. Yes, I know that it has done well compared to Europe and the USA, but it has had more deaths – around 9,500, than South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Laos, Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, Singapore, and Australia COMBINED. It will not enforce vaccination of athletes and staff coming for the Olympics, nor enforce quarantines. We are not likely to get a vaccine before July/August when the Olympics start, so with all the people congregating and fraternizing there could very easily be a disastrous superspreader event with new variants and we will all be unprotected: – the ‘restrictions’ here, such as closing bars and restaurants early ( PATHETIC!) are totally useless. Like Taiwan and Australia, Japan is surrounded by water. It could EASILY have a far better situation if it were more decisive and proactive. But it will not. So despite what seems like histrionics on my part here ( I don’t think it is : I have had severe pneumonia twice before; have had knee disintegration due to arthritic deterioration of the cartilage which could be auto-immune related : I am basically healthy and vibrant but don’t like my chances with long Covid, which I can’t even read about it terrifies me so much, and I am in a situation without sufficient ventilation every working day – you see why it has all crescendoed up to this, don’t you ?). Yes, I am highly aware that there are millions the world over with their own personal tales of woe far, far worse than my own neurasthenic drama, but I still don’t think it negates my own situation. And I am not afraid to speak out.
I found one piece of paper from ‘that period’ yesterday in the tidy up; I am ( mercifully ) not sure where the rest of it is : I might save it for my Japan book in expunged and edited form if I am still alive to write it. One interesting thing, though, wearing and thinking again about Odor 93 this afternoon (sorry, I went somewhat ‘off track’ – actually I didn’t at all ) – is one curious coincidence.
In the strange fable that accompanies the perfume, written by Meo Fusciuni, in which The Flower waits for The Animal for ninety three nights in a ‘dark forest in the north of the world’, at the end of the tale, which reminds me of the hole in the floor and the cat disappearing down it and both nights, calm restored, coming back to the scent strip left undisturbed on the wooden side of the window radiating tuberose :
“ Listening inside me, the emptiness, the immense space that comes from below. ..
Get the flower. Close your eyes to smell it…. nothing more now.
..In the black room in silence, there lives a cat ….”