November 25, 2008

My Very Own Fantasy Fragrance League -- Suddenly, Last Summer

Having noted BPAL's treatment of new releases like Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, I'm beginning to experience a strange sort of synesthesia when I read or watch movies, imagining what the smells would be. Recent screenings of Robert Altman's hypnotic 3 Women and Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer (both well on their way to receiving the Trans-genred treatment) both struck me as being prize-winning candidates for a line of hand-blended perfume oils. Especially the latter film, since I've always considered its gothic "homosexual devoured (literally) by cosmic forces of cruel ambivalence" storyline to be deliciously Lovecraftian at heart. I'm no genius perfumier like Beth, in fact I don't know the first thing about how fragrances hang together, but from my If I Ran the Circus fantasy world, here's my BPAL-esque musing of a thematic Suddenly Last Summer line (to be in no way confused with any of their actual, real life products). With apologies to Elizabeth Taylor, Catherine Hepburn, and Monty Clift:

MRS. VENABLE: Such a pretty name for a disease. Sounds like a rare flower, doesn't it? "Night-blooming Dementia Praecox."

Fantastic babblings and wild delusions of an unspeakable nature. "White Diamonds" on crack.

Sebastian's entire diet during his last tragic days in the raw heat of the Spanish Riviera. White linen, water chestnuts, benzedrine, canned mandarin wedges, nitroglycerin, green olives, and coconut oil.

CATHERINE: At a Mardi Gras ball some--some boy that took me to it got too drunk to stand up! I wanted to go home. My coat was in the cloakroom, they couldn't find the check for it in his pockets. I said, "Oh hell, let it go!"-- I started for a taxi. Somebody took my arm and said, "I'll drive you home." He took off his coat as we left the hotel and put it over my shoulders, and then I looked at him and -- I don't think I'd ever even seem him before then, really! -- He took me home in his car but took me another place first. We stopped near the Duelling Oaks at the end of Esplanade Street... Stopped! -- I said, "What for?" -- He didn't answer, just struck a match in the car to light a cigarette in the car and I looked at him in the car and I knew "what for"! -- I think I got out of the car before he got out of the car, and we walked through the wet grass to the great misty oaks as if somebody was calling us for help there! He took me home and said an awful thing to me. "We'd better forget it," he said, "my wife's expecting a child and--." -- I just entered the house and stayed there thinking a little, and then I suddenly called a taxi and went right back to the Roosevelt Hotel ballroom. The ball was still going on. I thought I'd gone back to pick up my borrowed coat but that wasn't what I'd gone back for. I'd gone back to make a scene on the floor of the ballroom, yes, I didn't stop at the cloakroom to pick up Aunt Violet's old mink stole, no, I rushed into the ballroom and spotted him on the floor and ran up to him and beat him as hard as I could in the face and chest with my fists 'till--Cousin Sebastian took me away.

A torn gardenia corsage soiled with oakmoss, tobacco
and champagne, with the lingering scent of sodium pentathol and violets clinging to mink.

CATHERINE: It was white hot outside, a blazing white hot... He started up the steep street with a hand stuck in his jacket where I know he was having a pain from his palpitations, but he walked faster and faster in panic -- the faster he walked, the louder and closer that IT got-- And the sun that was like the great white bone of a giant beast that had caught fire in the sky...

Bathhouse steam, Spanish amber, brick dust, and a flock of noisy metallic musks splattered across fresh whitewash, summoning amnesia in the form of magnolias from New Orleans' Garden District.

MRS. VENABLE: I have his notebook here. Title, "Poem of Summer," and the date of the summer, 1937. And after that, blank pages, blank pages -- nothing but nothing. A poet's vocation rests on something as fine and thin as the web of a spider. It's all that holds him over out of destruction. Few, very few are able to do it alone. Great help is needed -- I did give it, she didn't.

Leather binding unveils a chaste lavender and violet duet frolicking in a garden of sun-ripened carnivorous plants.

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