I can write about most things with no problem but when it comes to perfume – or SCENT as we’re supposed to call it – I struggle. I just don’t know how to describe the smell and I don’t understand a smell as it’s described to me. Like trying to make sense of a sonogram picture of a foetus. “Sorry is that its… head??” Although in Sam’s sonogram we all quite clearly saw his bumcrack, balls and willy and there was an embarrassed silence before the sonographer said “… do you want to know the sex?” Anyway we all had a good laugh about it afterwards.
But scent, yes. I have had some described to me in magazines or whatever and thought it sounded like just the thing, gone tripping along to Selfridges and had a sniff and recoiled and gone “Oh my.. Jesus… fucking… WHAT IS THIS?”
So I don’t know what to say about Andiroba by Connock, other than it is a very nice… fresh?… scent. I suppose you can go a bit crackers and start describing it like a wine “Lovely wristy topnotes with a lamby undertone and a piano-key finish.”
I left with a small tester bottle from a press day having chatted to the drop-dead delightful lady in charge of it and then it sat on my desk as I spent the next 48 hours, (it’s still going on as I type), being trolled by an anonymous Instagram account with 30K followers and on Twitter, for something I wrote in Space NK magazine.
It’s not nice, being trolled. It’s not nice, the internet falling on your head.
I am careful not to be controversial for this very reason of troll-avoidance. I only ever want to tell jokes and be fun. I consider the Spike to be a supporter of women, but I do not call myself a feminist because otherwise people seek you out and tell you they are going to rape you and kill you and you spend so much time fending them off – or fending off other feminists who don’t think you’re the right sort of feminist – that you don’t get to do more important things, like talking pointedly and explicitly about how to ask for more money at work. Or talking about the best flat shoes.
I consider the Spike to be an open house to absolutely everyone, but I am not very obviously “woke” because a) in a white person I sort of feel like that protests too much (can’t we assume we’re not racist until it’s evident otherwise?) and b) again, that just attracts people saying “you faux-woke middle-class white saddo Elba-fantasist”.
I am delighted that readers of the Spike come from every income bracket – some of you struggle to pay the gas bill, others have several houses, actual Gucci clothes and go skiing twice a year. But I almost never mention class, status, income – because I find those sorts of rows circular, draining, tedious… it all gets in the way of the jokes.
I consider the Spike to be No Man’s Land on Christmas Day 1914 and we’re all having a kick-about.
The piece I wrote I barely considered to be controversial. I was trying to write a robust rhetoric for my new editor, Funmi Fetto, who works at Vogue when she is not managing the Space NK magazine. I didn’t want to write soppy bollocks, I wanted to be feisty and interesting and a little bit crazy; a big and full-on defence of expensive cosmetics. And a few people decided to deliberately mis-read it, (there was no “they don’t get it” element – they got it, they just saw a way of misreading it), and shit all over me from high up.
It doesn’t matter. I can take it. It’s happened before, I daresay it will happen again. But, man alive, it’s fucking irresponsible of those people. As it happens I have marvellous readers, clever friends, a good shrink, a devoted husband who is like my own personal honey badger and children who remind me every day what “real” means.
But what if I didn’t? What if I had been sitting about for the last few months, depressed and anxious feeling bleak and black and at times wanting very much to jerk the wheel of the Fiesta and plough into that tree or that lorry?
What if I felt like that? And then this happened? What if I felt like that and Space NK magazine had encouraged me to write more confidently about my point than I felt? (They didn’t, by the way – but it happens in newspapers and magazines all the time). What if they had edited it without asking me? (This also didn’t happen, but does) What if all had that had happened and I was in a vulnerable state and did not have the experience to know that you shut it all down when you see the shitstorm gathering, don’t look at it and just snack until it’s over. What then?
But I am 38 and old and grizzly; while I’m not so much of a psycho that I didn’t get a tickle of dread when I saw it was about to blow up – a fair way into it all and I’m on the verge of the giggles. If you’re not on my doorstep, on my email, on my phone or physically taking my children away, what can you do?
I tell you what I can do. I can pick up a bottle of scent, recall the lovely time I had sharing jokes and common human feeling with the lovely girl who gave it to me, give myself a glorious spritz and, whistling, go up the road for groceries.