Le Joker, by French outfit Art De Parfum, won the gold medal at the London Beauty Awards, 2020. I can see why. A saline, fresh nutmeg aromatic, with facets of star anise, Timur pepper, ambergris and elemi, this is one of those perfumes I would put in in the same category as Eau D’Italie: scents that are magnetizing in their chalky sea air simplicity, yet that wisely eschew the dirty über-niche plugholes of algae and seaweed. Described by the company as a ‘fascinating woody fragrance (cypriol, patchouli, Atlas cedarwood), intertwining fruity spicy notes with powdery notes of makeup and smoky cigarette facets……Le Joker aims to awaken different emotions in different people’. I personally certainly don’t smell the (clown) makeup, but can imagine that on the right rogueish individual, an aspect of spent tobacco and winking mischievousness might become more apparent on a particular skin. D is going for quite thirst-slaking, homoerotically salted fragrances at the moment, such as Fo’ah 11, Nebbia Spessa and Salarium, which cut through, but blend and meld with the hot summer air. The fresh, toned, and rather addictive smell of Le Joker would certainly nicely fit into this piquantly seductive family.

The fact that this perfume cannot but be irrevocably linked in our minds to Todd Phillip’s The Joker – winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival in 2019 as well as garnering a Best Actor Oscar, for Joaquin Phoenix at the 2020 Academy Awards, can’t have hurt this scent’s popularity. It’s quite a canny tie-in. So perfect for these crazy times. I actually thought I would hate that film, because since early childhood I have never had any interest in Good Guys vs Bad Guys plots: hence no war movies, superheroes, and a million other Disney entertainments where there is a fixed ‘good’ and a fixed ‘evil’ entity and where the protagonists battle until the foregone, very obvious conclusion (such stories are just inherently uninteresting for me; life itself is never that simplistic, it is so much more complex and fascinating). I had imagined that Joaquin’s tic-tic tic overacting would get on my wick – and it did, a little, at times – a little too desperate for that trophy; and yet he was brilliant, and the film as a whole was undoubtedly something of a dark and highly atmospheric masterpiece of dystopian nihilism: making a sardonic mockery of the happy happy ending and the constantly dangled possibility of redemption. For some, there is none. And though, overall, I reject nihilism as a philosophy, feeling too much natural joy in living to ever surrender myself to theories of ‘pointlessness’ or the sheer miserable emptiness of existentialism, at the same time, I can’t deny that right now I do see the world as something of a joke. I sometimes laugh out loud, wickedly, just for the sake of it. I read the newspaper and shout in fury. Or else I just scoff, and get back to the much more important business of just lying down, still, on my futon and just tuning in to the fecund, insectoid world outside my window, as my cherished plants slowly, but visibly, grow each day and I sink fully into my own essence, often unspeaking; D equally absorbed, immersed in his world; equally contented.

Because if I were to properly let myself imbibe and take in all the sheer nonsense all around me, across the waves; everywhere; I would either implode, or, like The Joker, go fully postal. Masked idiots walking like zombies on the streets in temperatures of 36 degrees, only to immediately take them off and sit down in Starbucks or other, never-closed coffee chain stores and luncheries, right next to each other talking and drinking and eating with pointless plexiglass ‘separating’ them, even though they must, if they have any remaining sentience, be aware that the hospitals here are filling up, ICU units are running out with the relentless spread of Delta and Japan is facing really quite a daunting situation; the government merely making restaurants close earlier than usual as part of their hilarious ‘state of emergency’ – ha ha FUCKING HA; all beyond useless and incompetent; the truly laughable sadness of teachers I work with refusing the vaccine even though, in the school I worked in two days ago, in which students, now it is the summer holidays, study from morning to night in a study room with no windows, the day schools they go to now having outbreaks, students coming down with fevers (“…..but we have air circulators”) – – – what, a fan that just spreads the virus around the room; now you are making me go beyond mere chuckling into side-splitting guffaws; WAH-HA-HAAAAHHH’ ! !!!!! : a twenty something in Louisana about to die from Covid 19; unvaccinated, her last words to her exasperated nurse being ‘……….but we thought it was a hoax!’

My dear, it is not.


Filed under Flowers

13 responses to “LE JOKER by ART DE PARFUM (2020)

  1. Tora

    This is so troubling, there are 16 states in the US that have no mask mandates, and in these states, the hospitals are filling up with younger and younger people. On top of that, I have 4 friends and my little sister and daughter, all fully vaccinated who have tested positive for covid. They have few or no symptoms, so they and all the other vaccinated people are shedding the virus wildly before they know they are carrying it. We are Never going to beat this. The unwillingness of governments to believe in science will keep us all suffering. My husband and I are back to wearing masks everywhere indoors even though our county is at 80% vaccinated. No more dining out. My daughter is freaking out that we have a trip planned to go to Maine in the fall and thinks we shouldn’t go. Some of the airlines are refusing mask mandates too. People are so stupid.

    • But the point is, you were vaccinated and weren’t sick.That means no fear. I have no problem getting Covid if it is like a cold. If others believe it is a hoax, that is up to them.

  2. Just to be clear: I am not for one moment rejoicing in the death of this woman, who in my opinion is a victim of her milieu; she has been almost cooerced into questioning the evidence that is in plain sight before her, but chose to believe the conspiracy theories instead until it was too late. It is a very sad situation.

    To me, though, the word ‘hoax’ in this current context is so bizarre it is profoundly offensive. A world hoax on this scale would be impossible; all the countries on earth colluding? For what aim. It is preposterous. I just wish all this nonsense could be obliterated and we could get on with putting an end to the pandemic.

    • OnWingsofSaffron

      “Hoax”, I think it is the name of the folly of our time. Isn’t it used synonymously by people who believe that the Democrats didn’t win the US election, even though there isn’t a shred of facts proving the opposite? As also with the phrase “fake news” as used by Trump, or “alternative facts” as used by his acolytes, this phrase “hoax” has something nihilistic to it (as you clearly showed in your post). It is doublespeak, a phantasma, a black hole; it is also a cliché, a never-ending negative loop—like the so-called “steal”—, an ignorant babble: completely meaningless.
      Somehow, this reminds me of Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal, which I saw once a very, very, very long time ago, and I only have the vaguest of memories of the film. This danse macabre around “Nothing” reminds me of it.

      • Bless you.

        We both know that much of this comes from the vile sack of malevolent, vacuous, repugnant orange. Undoubtedly. Banal. But INCREDIBLY tenacious in the minds of the many. I am more of a Persona guy, because I like ambiguity and images and think that film is utterly divine, but one day I should sit down more seriously and watch Seventh Seal properly.

        Here, you seal the deal.

  3. Interesting. Timur is the Nepali species of Szechuan peppercorns. It is quite widely used in Nepal’s various cuisines, mostly to add zing to fiery fresh chutneys served with momos and to preserve dried and jerked water buffalo meat. Not sure if their is much difference between Nepali and Szechaun peppercorns in flavor or fragrance.
    The fragrance sounds like a lovely blend of woods and spice.
    All I have to say in regards to the world’s current Pandemic predicament: How in the Hell did we get so many incompetent people doing the most important things? And why isn’t everyone grabbing pitchforks to run the bums out? Is no one going to be held accountable for these ongoing crappy decisions? It has been over 70 days under lockdown (now completely unenforced) here in Nepal and yet they ran out of vaccine AGAIN and testing has decreased. Why aren’t we at least prioritizing that all folks over 50 and/or at risk get vaccines first? Ugh.

    • I don’t know. Each society has its own bizarreness. All I can say from my personals point of view is that I am EXTREMELY glad to have had the vaccine. The tether has already been reached. I hope this post doesn’t come across as hideously callous ( I got D to check it last night and he said that he couldn’t quite come up with the word for it, but that it was something between incisive and cruel): I guess I just ran with the theme. So much of what has happened truly has been miserable, pitch blackly risible.

  4. I don’t think you came off as callous.
    The entire situation is just beyond absurd.
    Nepalis are queueing for long hours in sweltering heat and fistfights are breaking out at vaccine centers. People are begging their government for the vaccine here, and even throwing rocks at government offices chanting, “We want vaccine!” On the other hand, a Nepali friend living in Japan just emailed me to ask if rumors that the J&J vaccine caused death in 6 months was true????
    Bhutan just donated 300,000 doses of the AZ vaccine to Nepal so that elderly that received their first dose in January could finally get their second dose. In addition to the lack of vaccine (or a program to administer it) Nepal insists on these ridiculously long and barely enforced lockdowns that are sending its largely impoverished population into further poverty. There are 5-6 beggars at my gate daily now! Arrrrgh!

  5. Robin

    This was excellent. You struck just the right tone. I related.

    We had guests this weekend and now they’ve gone, so I’ve had a chance to write, although I have dropped in to read the comments now and then because it just takes a second and I need my fix. Bravo.

    • Yesterday at work. Kids off with the virus. All windows closed. Nice people.


      ‘Oh sorry, we forgot. It was raining this morning’.

      • Robin

        No matter how hard I try, I fail to understand what the hell is going on with that mentality. There may be reasons, of some sort, but it’s still unfathomable. Here, in my circle, even fully vaccinated friends — and to a person, all my friends and their friends are vaccinated; I have yet to hear of anyone who knows anyone that isn’t — are still being cautious. We all are very conscious of a sense of responsibility to get everyone out of this mess ASAP. You’ve done a superb job explaining the beliefs behind the behaviour there, but it all bounces off my skull and just won’t sink into the ol’ grey cells. It does not compute.

  6. Everything you said here was spot on, and the fact that there are still people not taking this as seriously as they should be is just amzing to me. It does make you want to almost just let out a side-splittingly huge laugh at times to think that people really believe there is a hoax going on at a global level, or it is nothing that serious. Guess they just want to receive their Darwin awards.
    I never Saw the movie The Joker, but I can understand the thoughts behind the main character’s machinations. The world can sometimes do that to you.
    The fragrance sounds far more pleasant than the movie, or the world at large right now.

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