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.