|Illustration by Lydia Silver
Perfume expert and multi-media personality Katie Puckrik has written a feature in this week's Evening Standard magazine, in which she reminisces about wearing Revlon Intimate, a raunchy animalic floral pinched from her mother's dressing table; it made her feel all grown up and ready for the sort of carnal capers that my father used to collectively - and disapprovingly - dub "filthy slop".
Katie goes on to explore this theme of "wear the perfume and you can be the perfume" with the help of fellow contributors Denyse Beaulieu, Tania Sanchez, Sali Hughes, Alison Goldfrapp, and Johnny Marr. And there is even a quote from yours truly - I am not accustomed to being in such august company!
What tickled me most about the feature was the inclusion of Johnny Marr's perfume MO. So okay, one Smith rather than the sniffs of the whole band, as the title of this post might suggest. For as I may have mentioned before, Johnny Marr and Morrissey bonded over a shared appreciation of The Monochrome Set, and were influenced by their music when they formed The Smiths. They went on to become much more famous and commercially successful, and then many years later, in one of those strange twists of fate, The Monochrome Set found themselves supporting Johnny Marr at a festival gig in Bognor Regis, which I attended. Those meringue peak canopies at Butlin's are hard to forget. So given my own close association with TMS, it struck me that there is a curious and amusing parallel in my now randomly "sharing a bill" with Johnny Marr in an article on perfume!
And at that gig in Bognor, I wore the punch-packing Salome by Papillon Perfumery, following a visit to Liz Moores' house in the afternoon. Salome perfectly illustrates the notion of trying to assume a ballsy persona that may be a little incongruous or too big for one's boots. I let the band sniff it on me as well as one of Liz's raw ingredients, African stone - here is an extract from a post about that day.
"The band duly sniffed both the remnants of Salome AND the African Stone, intrigued by my explanation that it was the fossilised excrement of the rock hyrax, an animal I tried to big up by likening it to a robust yet endearing variant on the guinea pig. They continued to chew thoughtfully on slices of the family size pepperoni pizza several of us were sharing, and didn't bat an eyelid - or flare a nostril in disgust.
Now my wearing of actual African Stone may have been a lifetime one off, but in the light of this rock 'n' roll nonchalance in the face of the ne plus ultra of poo, I plan to wear Salome to the next gig without a backward glance..."
I shan't give away any more spoilers to Katie's article, which is full of memorable stories and insights into the transformative potential of perfume, so do check it out!
|The Monochrome Set in sadly small print!
NB Note the perfume blotters tucked into the programme...;)