Grand ambitions

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There’s something magnificently crazy about writing a book on accordion playing round the world (useless fact – Haile Selassie had an imperial accordion troupe), but what great illustrations to fit the joie de vivre of such a project.

Perfume: go, go

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I was pretty sceptical when I heard that Somerset House was putting on a show about perfume, and even more so that it would be done in the manner of a contemporary art installation. Well that’ll show me – it was actually great fun, very well thought out, would be perfect to do either on a date or with friends, and is actually both non-intimidating and witty, a real achievement for a craft that is second only to wine-making for jargon, history and insiders’ snobbism.

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As the notes to the show said, self-taught perfumiers are now breaking the mould, getting away both from the stuffiness of some schools, and the idea of scent as a marketing product. I won’t tell you too much about the perfumes in this exhibition as the whole point of the showing is to have a guessing game / voyage of discovery of your own, but you can see from the pictures above how inventive the sets were. In other rooms you smelt white cotton scarves or brilliant liberty-style print pouches, whilst the room with “paint pots” inspired this response from some other visitors:

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I didn’t get so creative myself, but enjoyed the game of hide and seek, and the weekend I went there was also an interesting series of presentations from perfumiers at the end in the testing lab.

PS in the first room you smelt the bowling balls…it felt quite James Bond, actually.

Blog of the week & Mexico City

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I’m still completely absorbed by Sybille Bedford’s A Visit to Don Otavio, and these passages (dinner; setting up a hotel) show why. If it fuels your fever, you really must see Ben Pentreath’s blogs here and here. Normally I dial in to Ben’s pastoral idylls on Mon mornings, but these posts from his travels carry some heat.

False Chronicles! BAD.

https://mobile.twitter.com/donaeldunready?s=11

A twitter account that relocates Donald Trump to Anglo-Saxon Mercia, satirising his wilder utterances. The name Donald the Unready is particularly witty since, as all historians know, Unread was the Anglo-Saxon word for ill-advised. Here are a couple of gems:

Twisty lying monk Bede writes his History of the English-speaking peoples IN LATIN. HYPOCRITE! Can’t trust the mainstream Chronicles. Sad.

 

Sad loser monks saying I’m unstable. Total lies. We’ve got the greatest stables in Mercia. They’re HUGE. All the horse, so many. Clip clop.

 

Sad false Chronicles and mainstream bards keep lying. Gonna set the tapestry straight. Court wenches will embroider THE TRUTH. Gonna be great!