Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Monday, October 27, 2003

The Wallpaper Started Peeling

I’m sure you’re aware that smells are the most evocative of the senses. My sense of smell isn’t great, which may lead to an answer why my memory is like an elderly German goldfish presented before a court for Nazi war crimes.

This is connected: my eyes are streaming, and every time I look up through the fog before my desk, the clouds part to reveal a tatty pub with leopard-skin seats and a sticky carpet. I’ve tracked the reason down to 7.32 this morning. While leaving the wife’s house at that ungodly time, I grabbed a miscellaneous bottle from the shelf and sprayed a little on my collar. From the effects, you’d think it was mace - I’ve finally traced it back to a frosted glass bottle of ‘ck one’, which I thought they stopped making about the time of Brut. If I hold my hands close to my nose, I’m instantly conveyed back to any gay bar in 1994 where a glut of wendy men (who are never seduced by advertising – no, mary, never) are all wearing this eye-watering fragrance. All of them. It was so prevalent it should have been called ‘cliché one’.

These were the times when you could open a door to a bar and a James Carpenter-style fog of this stuff would roll out onto the streets – it was like mustard gas, taking no prisoners as it stripped the lungs in seconds. Nobody could smoke in the mid-nineties lest the whole place goes up. There was a time from late-1994 to mid-1996 where I couldn’t see anything clearly at all while out on the pull.* Finally, it was banned under some universal gay treaty, and we could all literally breathe easily again.

I’m sniffing my hands once more. But only because Whigfield’s Saturday Night has just come on the jukebox in the pub in my head.

* That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

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