Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I started thinking about perfume the other day. I do this every now and then. Scent—well, um, smell—is really important to me. As are all the senses really. I think this bout of heigthtened senory perception started when I walked down a certain hall on my way to lunch the other day. I was very near the our company cafeteria when suddenly I was having sensations and memories of Amble, England. I like thinking about Amble: I have some great memories of castles, vistas, petrol stations, and seagulls along with a couple of not so great memories of a beating and pub-clearing brawl down the high street. But the most incredible thing is the scent that brings all of those memories back instantly—a whiff of Magie Noir perfume.

There was a storage room in the flat where I lived that smelled strongly of Magie Noir. The scent permeated the whole residence. I never did discover if there was a forgotten, leaking bottle of the stuff or just discarded clothing from a heavy user.

I don't wear Magie Noir. I had tried it and rejected it long before living in that Amble flat. And I tried it later too to see if the magic had changed after that time spent in Amble. No, the magic wasn't there with me so I rejected it again. That day in the hall on the way to the cafeteria I actually stopped for a moment wondering why the Amble prompt had been so strong. I detected a hint of Magie Noir lingering—I'm sure someone had walked through wearing that perfume.

Those experiences remind me that I don't have a perfume of my own. I miss it! I don't like to be awash in the stuff but sometimes I need my smell. So, once again I'm off on a quest to create or find the scent that want lingering on air when I sail past. I'll let you know what I find....

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Downton Abby: Or Dynasty Done Properly

Season three of Downton Abby has aired here in the States. And with this year's cliffhanger ending I caught my breath and asked the empty room, "Who shot J.R.?"

Then I remembered that was Dallas and it happened a very long time ago. And then I remembered how much people still talked about Dallas and Dynasty when I lived in England. (By the way, pronounce it DIN-ess-tea please.) Somehow folks couldn't—I supposed—come to grips with American-style over-the-top prime-time soap opera fantasy. I kept being asked why did they write that kind of story if it wasn't really the way we lived?

At the time I didn't think much of it. I thought it was just something fun to wind us Yanks up about. After all, plenty of Brits were there every episode for Eastenders and Home and Away, the Aussie import. How could American soaps be that odd? Like fussing about Coke Cola, it seemed a reason to gripe that we were turning them into the 51st state.

With all the Downton hype I think I finally have my cultural studies answer. Britian was jealous at America taking early honors in the pop-culture phenomenon of prime-time soap operas disguised as regular drama. They don't mind at all when we adopt and adapt their cultural norms: The Beatles, et.al. but they are the older culture and naturally meant to take the lead. Actually Britain feels nature-bound to take the lead so now they can over the top more than we did.

On the one hand Brits with Julian Fellows doing the writing that Downton Abby has street cred for life-in-a-big-country-house reality. On the other, even he is subject to actors, money, time, and whatever else goes into making a successful show.

But, really, does it matter? Downton Abby is fun. Soon it will even more Dynasty than ever. And, as always, if Britian would like to consider becoming the 51st state they'll need to fill in an application, be ready to fire the queen and dissolve parliment upon receiving statehood status.

Whew, I need some shopping therapy. Selfridges here I come!!!