Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Scent packing

I was interested to read the other day, that the most popular perfume of the 1950s was something called Evening In Paris.

It's quaint now of course, but you can see why. To the average provincial woman of the time there can have been nothing more exotic to her in her life of black and white, rationed austerity than the thought of that. Imagine: clinking Babycham glasses with your paramour against the starlit night, the Eiffel Tower lit up in the background. It had everyhthing. Romance, sophistication, glamour, it's all there. Today they'd call it aspirational. And today, people aspire to smell like Kerry Katona.

But doesn't it seem strange to us now that with Paris only a short hop away on the distinctly unglamorous Eurostar that such a place that's so near to us promised such mystery and excitement. Any notion of that has more or less vanished. Yes, Paris is brilliant. So different and relaxed, with a pace that suits me down to the ground. But it's not like I can't go tomorrow if I wanted to. But then that goes for anywhere.

They named ballrooms Locarno and cinemas Alhambra for the reason that they were places so far away as to be unattainable to your average Joe in Bromley or King's Lynn? A slice of the continent brought to you, because the only way you could experience any bit of foreign exotica was having a gin & it in at the Italianate bar stuck with picture postcards of Positano and Trieste, places you'd dream of going but thought you probably never would?

Perhaps. But that's all changed now. Everything's everywhere, you can go anywhere, see anything. There's no mystery in travel anymore, and precious little glamour when you've done five hours sealed into the food court at Gatwick South. And where in the world can you think of that holds such an allure that it's become almost mythical to you? Murmansk? Kashmir? Rangoon? Do you daydream about far-flung ruins? Have you romanticised Buenos Aires? I doubt it. It's all become rather old-fashioned to do so.

I wonder what today's most popular perfume is? I have no idea but I know one thing. It's not going to be Evening In Pyongyang.


Cocktails said...

Good morning F-C.

Well, I dream of exotic places even if you don't. I've just finished reading a book about the Silk Road and I have become entranced by Kashgar and Samarkand. And it is good old fashioned daydreaming because:

1. I know I'll never be able to convince anyone I know that they want to go and
2. I probably won't like it once I actually get there.

What are you thinking about perfume for anyway? Surely the exciting news that Eamonn Holmes is returning to GMTV should be at the forefront of your mind.

Five-Centres said...

I didn't know that Cocktails. Now that's something to really get my teeth into.

Cocktails said...

Let me know if it's true.

Ishouldbeworking said...

My favourite perfume is called 'Evening In Eamonn Holmes'. It has a cheesy topnote with lush fetid undertones. When I spray it on, I'm instantly transported to Dagenham.

And I'm still hugely enraptured about travel. I never, ever take it for granted. It's virtually the one thing left I'm not cynical about. Even the Food Court at Gatwick South has failed to sour me.

Five-Centres said...

I love travel too, don't get me wrong, and do still look forward to going places I've always wanted to go and even the airport is exciting.

But imagine if this was 45 years ago. Then it would really, really exciting.

John Medd said...

I couldn't get past: 'And today, people aspire to smell like Kerry Katona.' Bloody hell, I'd love to see Yardley bottle that - 2 parts gin, 2 parts vodka, topped up with the contents of her ashtray.Mmmmmm.

Five-Centres said...

Don't forget the kebab, John

office pest said...

Fags 'n Chips by Kerry Katona


A Night in the Cells by Kerry Katona - from YARDley

I could go on, but I won't.

Now I consider it, I can't really think of anywhere I'd like to go, no.

Ishouldbeworking said...

Ah yes, but if I'd been an adult 45 years ago, I'd have been working in a typing pool on 30 bob a week (if I was lucky), or more likely stuck at home with five kids, doing the laundry by hand like my Mum. Travel beyond Clacton would never have been an option for the likes of me, guv. Though I'm just the sort of upstart who's ruined it for everyone else.

Dan Worth said...

The other day my paramour (funny you use that word, was recalling it just this morning), put on Sarah Jessica Parkers "Lovely" perfume.

I said, "You smell lovely", without knowing it was said perfume. I felt had.