Welcome back to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.
Today is Friday, February 25, and it is a somber day in Eastern Europe. Russian forces have invaded Ukraine. Thousands of anti-war protesters in Russia and other former Soviet countries have taken to the streets. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians are fleeing west. Whatever one thinks of the geopolitics involved, one can surely feel for the residents of Ukraine whose lives have been turned upside-down. My heart goes out to them.
Some of you probably also read the wonderful blog Bois de Jasmin, written by Victoria Frolova. Although Victoria lives in Brussels, Belgium (where I spent part of my childhood), she is Ukrainian by birth, and she traces much of her love of fragrance back to her years of visiting family in Poltava. She has been my own little window into a part of the world I don’t know well; I pray that her family, friends, and their hometown remain unharmed.
Today is ex-Beatle George Harrison’s birthday, and in honor of that, the “community project” at Now Smell This is to pair a fragrance with a song by George Harrison or the Beatles. Robin thinks that was my idea at some point; I don’t remember suggesting it, but I’m happy to take credit! The clear choice for my SOTD is my beloved Ostara, the very fragrance of yellow daffodils, paired with one of my favorite songs by George Harrison, “Here Comes The Sun.”
I recently watched the documentary “Get Back”, about the Beatles’ work on their album “Let It Be”, and it shows very clearly some of the tension among the Fab Four, but also the joy and fun they often had while working together. Sadly, it really does show how George was sometimes brushed aside as a songwriter and wrote many of his songs on his own, unlike the formidable Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership. Watching the documentary was like watching a marriage break up in slow motion. There was still so much love and affection, and many moments of laughter, but it seemed to me that John Lennon was clearly pulling away, Paul McCartney was like the partner who sees this long relationship ending, against his wishes, George was like the child whose needs are being overlooked because of the marital drama, and Ringo Starr was like the kid who’s just trying to make everyone happy by putting his head down and doing his job. At some point in this era, though not on film, Lennon apparently referred to his desire to leave the group as “wanting a divorce.”
“Here Comes The Sun”, released on the album “Abbey Road,” was written by George after a day spent in the sunny garden of his friend Eric Clapton. I have read that it is the most streamed Beatles song on Spotify, which is remarkable given their legendary output. I also have fond memories of it because it was my youngest child’s very favorite song of any when he was a little boy, which matched his sunny, happy disposition. Happy birthday, George, and thank you for helping to create the most memorable songs I recall from my childhood and beyond!