So, to mark the 3.6th anniversary of the blog (trust me, I've done the maths!), here are some off the cuff thoughts about the view from my small corner of Perfume Land.
The mania is past, but I still love perfume
When I started blogging, I wrote about how my love of fragrance came at me completely out of the blue, prompting me to dub it 'sudden onset perfume mania'. Over five years on from that day in January 2008 when my obsession was first kindled, I am well and truly over my rampantly acquisitive phase, enjoying the scents I already own and sticking my head over the parapet now and again to explore a tiny subset of the new releases. The lemming flock has dwindled drastically, in fact I am not sure there are more than a handful of the creatures left in their enclosure, making for much more comfortable living conditions, as you can imagine. So am I still 'bonkers about perfume', you may well ask? Well, 'bonkersness' implies madness, so by that strict definition I would have to say no. As with any long term relationship the crazy honeymoon has morphed into a deep and comfortable attachment punctuated by occasional quests for novelty! According to my friends, however, my enthusiasm for perfume - even at today's more moderate levels - is still pretty extreme compared to the average person, so by that yardstick I do remain bonkers as charged
My collection scares and delights me in equal measure
This is a funny one - I have days when I wake up and revel in the immense variety of my collection, savouring the pleasure of selecting a SOTD and counting myself so lucky to be surrounded by all this perfume. I feel much the same about my wool collection. Being 'with wool' or 'with perfume' is deeply comforting and feeds the soul, I'd go so far as to say. On other days I wake up with crippling option anxiety and/or a sense of the enormity of my hoarding behaviour, and the inevitability that some of my bottles and decants must turn before too long - for I would need dozens of lifetimes to make a serious dent in my stash. This realisation troubles me deeply, as I cannot bear waste.
|Another woolly project!|
My curation strategy may be flawed
Staying with this issue of shelf life, I am dogged by concerns that the elaborate lengths to which I have gone to preserve my perfumes (two beer fridges, set at 10C, just like the Osmotheque!), may not be as effective as I had at first thought. For the trio of enemies of perfume are light, heat and moisture, and the fridge fails on Point 3. It is positively sopping in my fridges - at the back especially, with ice build up and running condensation. I do periodically defrost them and start again, but the moisture problem is endemic. What would be handy to know would be which of these three enemies is the most likely to curtail a perfume's life. Hmm, a sort of weighted average risk profile for all the different storage solutions would be just the ticket - cool dark dry wardrobe vs cold dark damp fridge etc. Because if dampness is the No 1 killer of fragrance, my collection is stuffed, basically.
The people matter at least as much as the perfume, if not more so
As my interest in trying new scents plateaus, my curiosity about the various characters in the perfume community seems to be growing exponentially! My work travels in particular have enabled me to hook up with a number of perfumistas in person all over the world, and I additionally feel a close connection to many of the people I have not met but with whom I interact regularly on the blog or Facebook. If money were no object, I would take a year off and go on a round-the-world fly/drive trip, joining the dots between fumeheads in every continent. It's a wild pipe dream I know, and meanwhile I count myself lucky to have got to know as many people in Perfume Land as I have. You could take away some of my perfume collection now and I wouldn't protest, but not my fumie friends, please!
You can't please everybody
As some readers may know, I can't put up links to my blog posts on Facebook, as about a year and a half ago somebody took it upon themselves to report my blog to the site administrators as 'spammy or abusive'. This is patently absurd, especially when you consider the ratio of my status updates filled with inconsequential domestic trivia versus those announcing a new blog post. If the person had accused me of spamming people with pictures of my pot plants or dining room furniture I would think they had some justification. What this tells me though is that not everybody will like what you do, and you may inadvertently upset a few people along the way. The inability to link to my posts on Facebook has hobbled my networking opportunities quite considerably, as would-be readers are used to just clicking through to an article or a video or whatever, and they don't want to have to go into Google and type in the name of the blog to fetch the post up. But there it is. Try telling the administrators of Facebook that there has been a miscarriage of justice. You might as well chuck a message in a bottle in the sea. I did actually write to their Customer Services department in Dublin - amazingly there is one! - but predictably never heard back.
I am ever so slightly - and selectively - affiliated
Just this week I finally got around to putting up a banner in my sidebar advertising Ormonde Jayne. I have received a number of approaches from companies asking me to add links to their site - to do with a whole range of items, some of them completely random and off-topic, like hair scrunchies or men's clothing! I decided to respond to the Ormonde Jayne inquiry because I am a big fan of theirs and have already written a number of favourable posts about the line. The addition of this banner will in no way change my approach to blogging about Ormonde Jayne or any other perfume house though - no one has asked me to actively promote the brand, and I wouldn't agree to do so if they had.
I am still a bit hazy on matters of 'blogetiquette'
By this I mean both the etiquette associated with being a blogger and a reader of other people's blogs. In my capacity as blogger there are a few things I am pretty clear on, namely that it is polite to reply to each and every comment a reader leaves in a timely manner. The protocol is less clear when comments are left on a very old post, though by and large I answer them there too. I think it is also considered good form to tell readers if you are about to go 'on hiatus', and I do occasionally do this, however, sometimes I find a window to blog shortly after announcing my break, and promptly feel foolish for having so publicly announced my absence! There are numerous other points of etiquette where I am more unsure, for example whether it is polite to link to a blog post of your own in a comment left on someone else's blog - I tend not to, as it might be construed as self-promotion, which doesn't sit terribly well with me at the best of times, although I recognise its importance. Let me know if you have any pointers for me here!
Slow blogging and striking a balance
I recently went on a walking holiday with two girlfriends, and it was an illuminating time in many ways. I learnt that I could cover 30 miles without incurring a single blister, and that it is important to take time out from one's online activities. This was brought poignantly to a head when my friends caught me trying to get on to Facebook on top of The Ridgeway trail, shortly after having stopped to post a photo of the scenery. 'Are you on the Internet again?' one of my friends asked, a faint note of irritation in her voice. 'I just want to see if I've had any comments from friends about that picture I put up' I replied sheepishly. 'But we are your friends too!' my friend expostulated. 'And we are here! And if you talk to us we'll comment back to you!' This pulled me up short and taught me that it is easy to get wholly sucked into a virtual world and more or less live your whole life online. So at the weekend I took time out to create a herb garden on my patio, and that felt good. I don't think my blogging frequency is part of the problem - if anything, I feel I am not posting enough! - and I have largely withdrawn from Twitter, but my addiction to the Internet overall may still need to be reined in. ;-)
When reviewing perfumes, there are many ways of skinning the cat
I used to think that because I couldn't readily deconstruct a perfume's development into its constituent notes that I wasn't qualified to review fragrance. I have since learnt that conveying how a perfume makes you feel or likening a scent to others it resembles are also perfectly valid ways of describing perfume. Note detection, humour, whimsy, metaphor, synaesthesia, poetry, allegory, what might be termed the 'Arabian Nights' school of perfume writing - bring it all on, if it helps us conjure up and relate to fragrance.
So, to mark this just over the mid-point of my fourth year of Bonkers, I am celebrating with a giveaway of about 3.5 samples, give or take. These will be either a selection from my newly acquired vintage hoard, or from my regular collection. I will tailor the prize to suit the winner's preferences when they are chosen.
To enter, just leave a comment by the end of next Friday, 21st June, about your own stage in the perfume 'journey' (oh no, I ended up saying that word!) or any thoughts on the type of posts you would like to see in future on Bonkers.
|Post-post move calm!|