VIKING by CREED (2021)

There is a lot to a name.

And Viking, buoyed up by the current popularity for roaring marauders in pelts torching villages and carrying off wriggling maidens in blood and axe epics such as the recent Northman by Robert Eggers, or by the matted haired musclebeards in the ragingly successful TV series The Vikings, is presumably meant, by image alone, to evoke unheard of levels of masculine potency. Women will begin screaming, or swooning, on initial contact : caves of babies will be born forthwith.

According to a 2014 British YouGov survey, roughly a third of the UK male population considered themselves to have descended from the Vikings (I can imagine it would be even higher now), while a quarter of women make the same assumption (the University of Bristol estimates the reality to be closer to about 6%, demonstrating the pull the iconic tropes of this defunct culture have on the popular imagination).

I have never personally done a DNA test, but as a white Briton it would intrigue me, at some point, just out of curiosity, to eventually do so. Mostly a historical whirl of Germanic, French, Viking, Angle, Scandinavian, Roman in terms of ethnic ancestry, but depending on which region of Britain your forefathers settled in (the further south you go the less the likelihood), it would be interesting, in some ways, for me to find out the ancestral breakdown in my own cell structure.

Although undoubtedly partially Viking myself, purely through geographical coincidence – the genepool possibly somewhere hidden in my mitochondria, emerging in the gingerish strains of my beardhair if I let it run out like enough (in the green of my eyes?) unlike many – especially on the far right; those that feel terminally emasculated and are yearning for far more testosteroned times when your vigorous might could be proved by the sword and your seed ; those who re-enact battleground slaughters in costumes bought on Amazon or storm into government buildings baying like stags

—I personally have no atavistic or instinctual pull towards Viking culture whatsoever.

In fact I feel quite the opposite – and always have. Maybe Burning Bush has some ancient link to piracy and pillaging seafarers and fiery wicks of twisted moss, but I personally can’t stand anything – particularly on the aesthetic level – that features dragon boats, hoary breath, boar carcasses turning slowly on the spit as women with long crimped trellises sew wool and the Norse gods are invoked with vein-busting sword bellowing amidst miserable freezing cold waves spewing onto jagged rocks; D is even worse. All of it just evokes feelings of the purest anathema.

(With the global rise in ethnocentrism, and the sense that everything is falling apart into chaos, it is easy to understand why many people, no matter their ‘race’, feel a deep desire to retrace their origins and roots in order to capture a feeling of belonging to something – a tribe, a clan,

– I just don’t personally share that longing. )

plaited beards: : : NO

My extreme, instinctive aversion to anything of this nature – Lord Of The Rings, anything of the Dungeons And Dragons pixies and faeries genre notwithstanding, all of it – earlier in the summer, on the plane back home in August, we did valiantly attempt (though we knew, ultimately, it would be completely in vain), to watch Viking revenge drama The Northman – but mainly to see my Icelandic hero Bjork as the soothsayer:

Good lord it was hard work though.

She, like the rest of this heinously overserious ‘epic’, which was coloured in very computerized, artificial, digitally mood ‘enhanced’ greys and blues, felt very half-baked yet vastly overcooked (I was a bit embarrassed on her behalf, actually, considering she had come out of ‘acting retirement’ for this disgraceful tripe); also, if you are going to try and evoke the reality of an ancient culture, do it naturalistically, unforcedly, emotionally, as in the utterly exquisite take on the Pocohontas story, The New World by Terrence Malick (2003), which shows the interactions of Native Americans with Captain Smith and his aliens from the outside, still with violence, but not feasting on it ; that is one of my favourite films of all time; a film that takes you viscerally and beautifully into another former world : I cry every time).

The rest of the cast of the Northman, in contrast, as another great insult to superficial upon superficial injury (it was like watching a video game), had also, very unfortunately, pseudo-absorbed Bjork’s inimitable ‘diction’ with the most dreadful pseudo-Icelandic accents imaginable, making you just want to immediately just stopper up your ears. No one needs to hear Nicole Kidman intoning thunderously in whispers, with a Sydney meets Reykjavik trrilling r’d lilt, as Queen Gudrun :

Frret not. You will die in battle, my lorrrd. The gates of Valholl await you, I know it”.

bye Nicole!

Willem Dafoe, eating the scenery left right and centre, was even more indigestible

However, by far the most serious problem from the discerning cinemagoer’s point of view, was the casting of Stockholm Hunk Alexander Skarsgard – presumably chosen for his rock hard abs, good looks, and Conan The Barbarian Schwarzeneggerisms – who was truly overegging the lead role of arch-avenger Amleth (supposedly a prototype of Hamlet);

so angry he bleeds from the eyes

For the forty or so painful and mirthful minutes we endured before pressing abort, all this actor, with his very limited expressions, could do (a permanently furrowed brow and ‘intense’ stare – I have seen stegosauruses in the Jurassic Park series display more personality) was roar, slay, flex the triceps and kill, then, do it all over again

…there he goes again

…. and again …..

He finally takes a bath!

Yes. I would definitely nominate Skarsgard as lead contender for a Worst Actor Razzie; with him in every scene the film was intolerable, we were laughing in our plane seats at its profound insufferability, although it must be said that it was received rapturously by a lot of film critics for the detailed representations of daily Viking life and the general lightning-forked melodrama it impaled, so if you yourself are in the right mood for a dark and brooding revenge flick which features huge levels of ultrarealistic violence, wherein comeuppance is ruthlessly enacted whenever and wherever it can be, you should definitely give this a whirl (Richard Brody of The New Yorker hit the nail on the head with the belittling summary of his headline: ‘The Northman’: Just A Bunch Of Research And Gore’, callously dismissing its ‘thudding banalities’,) though it seems that he was definitely in the critical minority – most people have been apparently just swept away in its bloodcurdling passions and antlers dripping in harpooned intestines; some of my friends also liked it…


Anyway, though by Odin, Allfather of the Aesir – – – – – FFS!!!!

What about the perfume review, I hear you beat your iron breastplates in fury: does Creed’s Viking, in fact, capture any of this meatly brutality; does it reek of a thousand armpits, of bodies sweating endlessly in bearskins for weeks on end, of rotting teeth putrid with unpicked flesh?

It does not.

As I sheepishly approached the perfume counter towards this one, eye rolling heavily in advance anticipation of a nuclear strength synthetic woody, I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that instead of what I expected to be a rival to Sauvage in the panty-dropper ‘performance dominance’ sector, slaying writhing, hotbreathing wenches in its stead, what I smelled, in fact, was a crisply and alluringly constructed orchestral ginger.

Fresh. Zesty. Kind of delightful. Affirming. Light. While ginger – one of my favourite smells and flavours in the world – is not listed as an ingredient in Viking Cologne (an airier edition of the 2017 edp), the spiced citric woosh of the juice (lots of mandarin, bergamot, pink pepper, allspice and nutmeg with a lightly fougerish base (lavender, geranium, olibanum, sandalwood, patchouli etc with a hint of sage) to my nose, added up to an overall ginger thematic; brisk and uplifting, male-tilting but could be worn by anyone, Viking glowed quite nicely on the back of my hand for a whole day as I walked the streets of Birmingham. I even briefly considered this as a possible ‘me scent’ (I sometimes wear Old Spice), until the modern masculinity went a bit too potent in the base – not enough to conjure tongue-lolling heads on poles – but still, perhaps a little too much synthetic cedar….

Nevertheless, I was glad to have my (what feel to me innate) prejudices duped. The Vikings, although probably not the most peaceful bunch of folks, surely had a lot more going for them than their very cliched, Hollywood onscreen representations would seem to suggest (and apparently there is no evidence whatsoever that they even had any horned helmets in the first place – this was merely a costume choice for a diva singing in an opera by Wagner – The Ring Of The Nibelung at a German 1876 theatre premiere). It was nice for me therefore, in a way, to discover that the Viking’s namesake perfume was a fine spice, with touches of old school tropes but not enough to be rendered duddy, you might say even delicate. A very non-marauding, and pleasingly rendered, spruced; trim; and almost gentlemanly counter-stereotype.


Filed under Flowers

6 responses to “VIKING by CREED (2021)

  1. georgemarrows

    That was very amusing, thank you! I still vote for Ewan McGregor for Worst Actor Razzie, whatever the year.

  2. Could not agree more, and the white supremacy celebrate destruction crowd adoption of Viking cringe cliché things is ever more clear w every series/movie/tat fad/headbanger drunken stag party. Glad that the ginger toned perfume worked well by going in a completely different direction. A refined interpretation of the Dark Ages, for once, is refreshing. I have turned to a half bottle left of Saffran Troublant for a dry spicy Autumnal mood.

  3. The movie sounds like a blah-fest. Something only certain members of society would enjoy, those who glorify that marauding, violent, overthrowing nature of humans.
    Glad the fragrance was a complete opposite of that, although I know what you mean by the synthetic cedar base notes, they drive me crazy as well.

  4. Wild Gardener

    Creed: that’s not viking
    this is viking

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