Saturday, December 21, 2013
The Scent of Music: Christmas Time is Here (Vince Guaraldi Trio)
For Christmas, some of us are blogging about the link between a piece of Christmas music and a perfume. The choice of music is up to the blogger. And I'm a weird blogger, with a taste for the dark. The chorus of Christmas in Prison, as performed by The Boxmasters, keeps running through my head. The same album (Christmas Cheer) includes I Won't Be Home For Christmas, also about Christmas in prison. And My Dreams of Christmas, about a child's disappointed Christmas dreams. And Slower Than Christmas, about a dysfunctional family. And Blue Christmas. And...
I love that album. And I'm slightly disappointed that August: Osage County (the movie based on the play about a dysfunctional family, by Tracy Letts) isn't actually opening on Christmas day. And I'm feeling the urge to watch Christopher Titus's Norman Rockwell is Bleeding again. It's been one of those years. Or two of those years. I'm supposed to be happy and sparkly, and I'm failing to fulfill that expectation. There's no particularly good reason why, but all the same, without an excuse, I'm failing to sparkle.
Like Charlie Brown.
We watched A Charlie Brown Christmas last night, right before watching It's A Wonderful Life. They both gave me just what I wanted, and, more surprising, they seem to fill the same need that's filled by the Boxmasters album, the Titus special, the Letts play, and similar dark work. I suppose that the common element is that they all address disappointment, address it not so much as an incident in life, but as a part of its fabric. The best comedy comes from darkness and disappointment, and I suspect that the best music does as well. I don't say that that makes it all worthwhile, but that's not really the point. You start with what you have, and you make something of it.
This is really not the kind of Christmas post that you were expecting, is it? Then again, Christmas is about darkness, too, in its way. I'm not religious, but that doesn't mean that the story of a dark world being presented with hope, hope coming from a humble and poor place, doesn't have power for me. A manger and a baby. A tiny Christmas tree facing scorn and growing when it's loved. I can't really make a tidy analogy there, but all the same, it works for me.
Christmas Time is Here, the music that opens A Charlie Brown Christmas, is sweet and sad and happy. It glimmers and ripples, like candlelight on glass. It communicates childhood, but without the frantic heartless pace of so many children's songs.
How do I translate that to a perfume? My first thought is that it's a perfume with some dark notes, not just simple pleasing sweetness. But there must be brightness, glimmering and comforting, and a touch of childhood, or at least innocence. My usual Christmas perfume is Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale, and my loyalty to that scent hasn't weakened. But Sushi Imperiale isn't Christmas Time is Here, it's the jazz number, with Snoopy dancing and Schroeder playing at the pageant.
I considered Sutra Ylang, Sushi's shy little sister, but there's not enough darkness there. After a good long sniff, I decided on Aftelier Cepes & Tuberose. No, it's not a "Christmasy" perfume--no cinnamon, no ginger, no woodsmoke. But the trail of this post led me looking for dark and light, complexity, glimmering sweetness and sorrow and joy. Cepes & Tuberose fits the description, with its forest-floor darkness mingling with luminous sweetness with that vibe of innocence, and the edge of browned butter. So there we are.
Please see the other Scent of Music posts at these fine blogs!
Australian Perfume Junkies
Chemist in the Bottle
All I am - a redhead
Undina's Looking Glass
Another Perfume Blog
the unseen censer
Image: Wikimedia Commons