Gaucho’s Journey: The Spark of Two Flintstones

The creation of every one of my perfumes is signified by a succession of events that typically evolves as follows: a spark of inspiration lights a fire that feeds itself - an unexplained desire and longing, which in my case grows stronger and stronger the further I am away from reaching it. It is best defined as an obsession. And as most obsessions do, they are followed by a compulsive behaviour that is designed to settle that obsessive thought and bring it to peace and resolution.

Gaucho started with Steely Dan’s album of that name. I will let you on one secret: if there is any band I would seriously consider acting like a groupie around (well, I don’t think I would waste my time considering if I would ever meet them in person…) it’s Steely Dan. And it has very little to do with how the two musicians that form that band look (both are certainly not what you would typically refer to as good looking). There is something oddly powerful and particularly mysterious about their music. And lyrics. Which leave a lot to the imagination and therefore are both seductive and personable.

But let’s get back to Gaucho and why it stirred a perfume inside me. It is not particularly the theme song, but rather the general mood of that album that to me is the epitome of that distant/internally charged mood, and somehow the songs are all connected to each other. Most of the songs in Gaucho create an atmosphere of emotional distance that is disturbingly heart aching, as if you are watching a film, only that this film is about yourself.

The other part of the inspiration was that of smoky woods from South America. Namely Guiacwood, though this is not the only unusual South American wood I had in mind. The smoky, honeyed waxy rosiness made me want to create a perfume that smells different, and will evoke the proud loneliness of a gaucho in the middle of the deserted grasslands, surrounded only by animals and a vast silence not to be disturbed by a word but only the sounds of whispering grass, small explosions of branches caught on fire, the cries of animals...

There an than, between those two flintstones - the urban sound of Steely Dan and the woody essences from South America - flew the spark that started the search for my Gaucho perfume…

Death of a Perfume Blogger

“On the stone an ancient hand
In a faded yellow-green
Made alive a worldly wonder
Often told but never seen

Before the fall when they wrote it on the wall

When there wasn't even any Hollywood

They heard the call
And they wrote it on the wall

For you and me we understood…

(Steely Dan, “The Caves of Altamira”)

Blogs are not people, and even though they reflect some part of a person's life, there are some things that can never be told or seen through this virtual window to their soul.

And how many times did you click through your web links only to
find out that your favourite scent blog didn't have a new entry at all in the past week? How many times did the thought "oh no, maybe s/he died this week" pass your mind silently only to be ignored by another thought "Why does so and so ever bother to keep a blog if they let it go stale for so long?!".

While the later thought is admittedly rude and judgemental (things
do happen in life, you know, outside of that 13" wide MacBook of yours (Gheesh, go get a life now dammit!), the initial one is strangely realistic and rational.

And who is going to start a paragraph with an “And”, now that we learned of the tragic and terrible news of the tragic death of Ms. Theresa Duncan. Who is going to quote mostly Steely Dan to open a perfume review. And why did I need to have the “wit of the staircase to only link to her blog now that she’s dead, and not before when it might just make her ever so slightly happier. Perhaps just enough to stay alive.

The news of death of a fellow blogger, even if one I’ve never communicated with directly (well, I did try to leave a comment a couple of times, but I haven’t the faintest clue if it came through). Communication is the message you get. And I definitely got plenty of messages from Theresa Duncan. And even if I don’t know her in person, at least I know a few things about her which are meaningful enough for me to include in this post.

Theresa started most of her perfume reviews with a quote.
Theresa usually mentioned the perfume she reviewed only once in the blog entry about it.
Theresa always picked quite bizarre and at times provocative and stunningly beautiful photographs that were borderline fashion and art. The last image she posted was called "fireworks" and looked like this.
The last perfume she reviewed was Aria di Capri by Carthusia.
Theresa loved many of Serge Lutens perfumes. Far more than any other blogger I’ve read.
Theresa had one talented way of expressing her thoughts and memories and link them to perfume. I may have not been able to relate to them all, or fully understand them, but I sure feel that she opened one intimate window into her soul by writing about them for us all to read.
Theresa seemed to have changed her writing style slightly recently, speaking as “we” rather than “me” or “I”. She even mentioned a “Mr. Wit”. She seemed to be in love.
Theresa’s last quote was from the Koran.

Theresa also seemed to mention or think about God, the spiritual and the metaphysical quite often recently – in the quote from the Koran, the reference to the creation of light, as well as a previous post related to Kabbalaa (By the way: in Hebrew, Kala means bride).
Theresa loved the sun and loved California. She hated New York. And this is where she died.
Theresa loved Steely Dan. So do I.
The last Steely Dan quote Theresa used was from “Rose Darling”.
So let’s close our eyes and listen to it now (really, close your eyes so you don't see the afwul montage… Sorry for lack of a visually better version). Wherever you are, Theresa, may your soul be at peace and enjoy the loveliest perfumes, words and music.

Related links:
Theresa's Last Post on Wit of the Staircase
Interview on LAist.com
Interview on Salon.com
Jeremy Blake's work
Jeremy Blake on IMDB.com
New York Times July 21 2007
New York Daily News July 21st 2007
LAObserver July 19th 2007
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