Guerilla Gorilla: Love Potions Evening at House of Wolf

Image

A few weeks ago, just prior to Valentines Day, Gorilla was asked by House of Wolf to put together a talk about love potions. I went along to represent the Gorilla team. The talk took place in a bar in House of Wolf called The Apothecary, which has some lovely old-fashioned medical curiosities dotted about the place. The bar has a huge Prescriptions sign above it, which we loved. We were really enamoured with a hidden room behind a bookcase. I had only seen these in movies. Behind the bookcase was a room with a table and benches. I heard from Becky, who organized the event, that this room was made in Victorian times for when women would faint because of the tightness of their garments, corsets and the like, they’d be shuttled into this secret room and be revived with smelling salts (see! Scent IS everywhere). We had a really enjoyable evening talking about essential oils, aphrodisiacs, and love spells. Our favourite bar-man, Paul Tvaroh of Lounge Bohemia, made two cocktails based on the two flowers we predominantly discussed- rose and jasmine. We handed out pipettes of both rose and jasmine absolutes to get everyone in the mood for Valentine’s Day. The audience was gracious and attentive. Another Guerilla Gorilla event done and dusted. This is a portion of the talk I gave.

Ericka

Image

Researching love potion inevitably leads to aphrodisiacs, and things like oysters and strawberries and the like all feature heavily on lists of love enhancers. In my research I found out something that I thought to be an urban myth but turns out to be true, is that there is an “aphrodisiac” called Spanish Fly, which is made from a beetle that secretes an acid like juice from the thighs when he is threatened. The entire beetle is dried and crushed to produce a powder that is added to a beverage to be consumed. It got its reputation as a love potion is because when the powder is ingested, the body excretes the juice and it causes itching and burning in the intestinal tract that leads to itching and swelling of the genitals. It is toxic. It can lead to kidney damage, convulsion and death. So. Not very charming. Nor seductive. The other reference I found to ingredients to love potions in beverage form is a “wine” of blueberries, sugar and water; left in a glass bottle, naturally fermented by the wild yeast from the blueberries is sometimes referred to as Lappish Hag’s Love Potion.

I talked to Mark Constantine about love potions- him being one of the geniuses at Lush who has invented many products and fragrances based on magical influences. He told me to consider language and love. Words like “enchanting”, “charming”, “bewitching” have their roots in magic. We talked about throwing rose buds in water, and the bewitching beginnings to some of Lush’s most beautiful products, Cerdiwen’s Cauldron and Tisty Tosty. Mark also showed me what has now become one of my favourite clips of all time, of a Love Potion in action, starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, from the film, Bell, Book and Candle. 

When you look at the history of scent, what you start to find is the scent was considered in all civilizations. The 1st objects considered as vases for perfumes and cosmetics date back to 7000 BC. These housed mainly resins. In 1200 BC, scent started to play a prominent role in therapeutic, cosmetic and culinary domains, from the Aztecs, to Asia, and in Europe. The Aztecs for instance, demanded flower tributes and went to war to get them. A war in Tlaxiaco, Mexico, was a site conquered by the Aztecs for a flower that was indigenous there. I daren’t pronounce the Aztec name, and there is no translation. But flowers became so important in Mexican origins that the first courts of royalty also included a flower officer who filled private and public temples with strong smelling flowers.

In perfume history, we have examples of Romans scenting clay before they built houses so that the house was effectively fragranced. Cleopatra used to scent the sails of her ships. Pistachio seeds and red dogwood are regularly found in dwellings from the Mesolithic era circa 10 000 BC; the oil was used for lighting- the scenting of the household was a pleasant byproduct.

The Bible is full of references to scent with references to raw materials: matt grass, saffron, fragrant reeds, wild myrrh, aloe, cinnamon, cassia, for example, and also to skilled perfume makers making scented things like: perfumed essences, incense, scented oils, and sweet smelling sachets. In the Song of Songs- a duet by lovers of their exotic desire- the savouring of good ointments is mentioned in the opening verse, and the closing verse references mountains of spices. Queen Esther was also called Hadassah, which is also the name for myrtle. She is described as being anointed with myrtle for an entire year before being taken to her bridegroom.

Image

So we’re meant to be talking about love potions- and love is a ritual- no matter how unique, how individually esoteric love feels; love has ritualistic tendencies, such as Valentines Day. When we’re talking about love potions, it’s flowers that I want to talk about. Humans have used flowers for rituals since the beginning of civilization. The use of flowers in important rituals can be traced back to Neanderthal man- in which a tomb was found and excavated in Kurdistan and petals were found in the casket. They identified the 60 000 year old (or older) pollen to be that of hollyhock, of hyacinths, amongst other flowers. In fact, in terms of death and dying and scent, there could be a whole other topic about funeral flowers and their cultural symbolism, or even about cremation, about funeral pyres and which woods and fragrant resins are burned (Us Gorillas can be a bit macabre) but I think we’ll stick with the theme of love them for now.

Some of the most ancient perfume vases discovered have taken the shape of animals that symbolically represent sexuality, eroticism, and seduction. Perfume vases have been found in the shape of a monkey- an animal which symbolically represented sexuality in ancient Egypt. Additionally, antique perfume vases have been found in the shape of cats and felines which were a symbolic gift by men as gifts to the object of their desire in exchange for “favours”. In my research, it didn’t say what those favours were. Ahem.

Perfume was used by Aphrodite and Hera (the goddess of Love and the goddess of marriage, respectively) and Aristophanes advises perfume to be used by lovers during foreplay. Application instructions:

Apply to the hair, chest, and inner thighs.

Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopedie describe smell as being the most voluptuous of sense that opens up all other fields of thought.

So now onto the flowers. I’ve looked at flowers that have a historical relationship with romance and sex and I’ve chosen to focus particularly on two that pose as diametric opposites. Rose, which represents purity and innocence and jasmine which is a sultry harlot. So to speak.

Roses have long held symbolic power. Rose oil is interesting in perfumery because it was the first oil to be distilled. It takes 5000 kilograms or 1 ton of petals to make 1 litre of essential oil. It takes about half that for the absolute.

Persian warriers adorned their shields with red roses. In terms of love, rose has long been a symbol of love and purity. It has inspired Islamic poetry and mysticism- the Berber name for Rose is also the term for a young girl. In the Western World, roses traditionally are spread on the beds of honey-mooning couples. And its smell is powerful, yet fresh.

And then there is jasmine. Jasmine is part of the olive family. Jasmine must be collected at night, when it’s most fragrant. Our jasmine is from Egypt. Like rose, huge quantities are needed to make an absolute- an oil is impossible because the petals are so fragile. In some Eastern countries, women apply jasmine on their hair (which is clever because hair holds fragrance for a long time). Jasmine contains flavor compounds that are downright controversial- it has indoles in it, which are flavor compounds that have the most in common with fecal smells. In perfumery, you can figure out ways to mute or amplify various flavor compounds that exist in essential oils (which is what we primarily use). A lot of perfume companies mute the indoles in jasmine. At Lush and Gorilla, we have a perfume called Lust- which has a clever acronym if you switch the letters around. This is a jasmine perfume in which Mark Constantine doubled the indoles on purpose. It is an intensely heady sexual scent. At Lush, it also fragrances the popular Flying Fox shower gel and Godiva shampoo bar. In terms of perfumery, this is diametrically opposite to what other companies are doing with jasmine. Jasmine has been considered so hedonistic and sexual that it’s rumoured that in primitive societies, virgins were barred from wearing jasmine because of its heady aroma.

For the most part I’ve been talking about the power of flowers- and my thesis is that flowers are under-appreciated in our society at this time. I’ve talked about ancient civilizations considering scent and actively engaging with their aesthetic surroundings (I mean scenting the clay of your house. That’s consideration). And now, I fear we’re at a point where most people don’t think about their sense of smell at all. And the funny thing is it doesn’t have to be hard to think about your sense of smell. So that’s why I’m talking about flowers. And the power of simple things that go quite far to augmenting not only our rituals, like Valentines Day, but our daily life in general.

The power of flowers is intense. Jasmine is an interesting case for non-romantic reasons also. The Arab Spring is also called the Jasmine Spring. (Interestingly, Damascus means the City of Jasmine). And, literally, right now jasmine is illegal in China. The flower of jasmine is illegal in China because of thoughts that the revolution may spread and come to China. It is illegal to wear in a lapel and/or cultivate jasmine- and in addition, the Chinese character from jasmine has been deleted from autocorrect on mobile phones and web-based programmes in China.

(And at this part, I gave the lucky audience members instructions for their two cocktails prepared by Paul Tvaroh from Lounge Bohemia based on rose and jasmine as their own Love Potions to take home with them. They also received a pipette of the very finest essential oils that both Lush and Gorilla Perfume makes many of its most lovely smelling products with- rose absolute and jasmine absolute).

Image

I’ve told you about jasmine and rose I scent and I’ve also conscripted the help of Paul Tvaroh in making our own love potions that we’ve crafted for you. We’ve made two- 1 is based on the purity of rose and involved only flavours that you would think of as innocent and pure. The 2nd is based on jasmine and should be drunk when you want to get a bit wild. It’s like the ultimate Valentines Day chocolate.

To sum things up, basically, what I’ve wanted to do here tonight is to talk about sense of smell so that there becomes an appreciation in society of this sense. The reason why it matters is because sense of smell is free; I know I’ve provided you with ludicrously expensive perfume absolutes that are prohibitive to try to find on your own, but the point I would like to make is that it does not have to be complicated- you do not have to pay a fortune for a department store perfume if you don’t want to, to appreciate your sense of smell. When you walk around, when you pass a florist, or a bakery, when you go on holiday, or visit a carnival, if you consider your sense of smell as part of the experiential aspect of your trip, you’ll be living more fully- and this interest can lead to all manners of fun past times in tasting for instance. Jean Jacques Rousseau said the sense of smell is the sense of the imagination. And I agree. Those roses that bloom so heartily in the UK, in between the cracks of sidewalks and that bloom even in the winter- (I’m from Canada, people pay a small fortune on roses)- they deserve to smelled, not for their benefit but for your own day’s experience.

Thank you.

(We sneakily scented the Room-Behind-The-Book-Case by filling it with a mist of Black Magic- which is a scent of rose and geranium that is bewitching. Yep, there’s a room behind that case!).Image

Gorilla On Tour- Performer Profiles: Deborah Pearson

 

Deborah Pearson is a woman of many talents. Theatre-maker, playwright, performance artist, advice booth operator, writer, are just a few of the labels bestowed upon Ms. Pearson, however, there are many more that could be just as accurate. Deborah is the co-director of the Forest Fringe, an award-winning mainstay in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

One of our favourite projects of Deborah’s is the 1£ Advice Booth where Deborah and Morgan McBride used to set up a booth on Brick Lane and for 1£ you could ask for advice. You left with a prescription typed out on a lovely typewriter and a lollipop. There’s a lovely video of the advice booth here.

Deborah has received many accolades throughout her career, including, the highly coveted Herald Award, as well as being named on the Stage 100 List of Most Influential People in UK Theatre. An interview with Deborah on The Guardian website found here.

In addition, we are loving Body Pods, this sound art work that Deborah worked on, that is available streaming, also on The Guardian website. Be sure to pop some headphones on, and listen away.

We’re very pleased to have Deborah on the Gorilla on Tour- The Golden Hour: Infused & Bemused. She’s a creative ball of wonder! Please visit her website to find out about many more interesting projects and works as this, of course, is just a nutshell (and a small nut at that- a hazelnut shell!) of Deborah’s many talents.

Collage Competition

So new competition. Photo collage! Yay! I wanted to introduce one of our judges, no stranger to a collage herself. Soph recently joined Gorilla, helping out with our tour: you can see her in this video, setting up perfume with Cassie. Soph knows a thing about tours; she’s in a band and she helps manage a band. However, it’s not tours I want to talk about. I want to talk about COLLAGES. When Soph says, “I love collages” she states it, not in an over-gregarious use of the word “love”; she earnestly means it. Soph is a connoisseur of the collage- and I say that so that this competition is not taken lightly by any means. Soph would never say so herself, I’m sure, so I just wanted this addressed, so that you’re properly advised, about the collage contest, that it’s a deadly serious collage contest.

The band Soph is in, The Veils, were once photographed by Rankin. Soph was given the task to somehow destroy said portrait. She wrote a blog on the process here. She calls her collaging merely “Cutting and Sticking”. I think the image speaks for itself. (Buscemi!)

I just wanted to make you aware of the stakes here. Keep those photo collages coming!

Guerilla Gorilla: Scenting the 50th Anniversary of James Bond at Inspace, Edinburgh

Sometimes, I am asked to scent various sensory events. We’re going to start reporting on some of the Guerilla Gorilla events that we’ve done over the past few years.

So the tour is on break for a week before storming Leeds this Saturday, October 20th. You didn’t think we were resting on our laurels in the interim did you?

I was asked to scent Diamonds are Forever. This year is the 50th anniversary of James Bond- and I was asked by Mark Daniels, of New Media Scotland, to scent the experimental science/arts laboratory Inspace while the film played. Jonathan Prior of 12 Gates to the City provided the sound art, and I roped Paul Tvaroh from Lounge Bohemia into his second gig at Inspace in less than a week (the 1st being, Gorilla on Tour- The Golden Hour: Infused and Bemused where he provided his edible perfume cocktails).

Because of a slight visa hiccup, I couldn’t physically BE at the event, though I sent all my scent notes to one of my favourite assistants, Lush’s own Erica Edwards of Everything Is Imagined (that’s a funny phrase to say aloud. “I sent all my scent notes”). It was handy for the fellas working too- they didn’t have to remember another name. And I’m also told that Agnes, the lovely Parisian sales associate from the Edinburgh shop, played Erica’s assistant! (I’m always blessed to have the most beautiful assistants! That’s one of the perks of working with Lush and Gorilla!).

I always use Lush and Gorilla scents when we scent something. A perk of my job, is that by working for Simon Constantine, I have access to a vast library of scents. We use things like ultrasonic misters, bubbles, atomisers, vaporizers and other devices to move scent about at various concentrations. For this film I was asked, in particular to scent the evil villain, Mr. Wint. His cologne plays a big part in the solving of a mystery. We used ultrasonic misters, some perfume atomisers, balloons that were filled with scent and popped at a point in the film, and each audience member received a brown paper bag (embossed with diamonds by Erica (!)) that contained a handkerchief that was doused in our most lascivious fragrance, that audience members were instructed to smell when Sean Connery drolls, “One of us smells like a tart’s handkerchief” (81:55 into the movie, FYI)

Paul Tvaroh made gin and tonic diamonds, which were stunningly beautiful. I have my own blog post about their creation here. But you’ll see them in the photos in the slideshow above & below. They looked like pieces of art!

And as for the scents, in true guerilla fashion, we’re not telling you what we used. But hint, hint, one of our newest scents carried the smokiness of whisky into Inspace. And we seem to think Ms. Case would be represented by a sexy jasminey vanilla. And the balloons were filled with our most carnivalesque scents. And the tart’s handkerchief- that one’s easy, isn’t it?

I was especially sorry to not be there in person at the event as it was also Mark Daniels’ birthday. He’s the one who can be seen in the photos below in the dapper white coat. He is an amazing arts administrator in Edinburgh- just a very creative, forward thinking, generous and brilliant man. The New Media Scotland facebook page has an album of all the Atmosphere events (which are the events we are typically involved in. Atmosphere is a series in which sensory aspects play a role in the event) which shows just how cool and amazing Mark and New Media Scotland are. From Gorilla Perfume, happiest of birthdays Mark! We may have given him a scent or two to mark the occasion!

Image
I was pleased to be asked to scent this event as it is Inspace which fully got me involved in scent art. A few years back, Mark Daniels asked me to scent an event during the Edinburgh International Film Festival at Inspace. I was given the task of scenting the film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and I thought long and hard about the task. There are so many directions in which to go with scenting- but the key thing is concentration levels. It is easy to do so much with smell, because its concentration is not reflected in its size. A tiny bottle can make an entire building evacuate. Scent is a terribly powerful thing. Think, workers can be sent home for the day if there are plumbing problems in their workplace. It’s a rare thing that can interrupt enterprise, but scent has the capacity to do so. Though I wasn’t using scents to create a discord, I didn’t want to make people feel sick or nauseated at layers of scent. I used steam distillation, bubbles, and perfume atomisers, and I chose to reflect the smell of the seaside in Edinburgh, with the smell of a once fashionable teacher, becoming old fashioned, through seaweed absolute, tooth wracked seaweed, seasalt, a hint of apples (through bubbles which also represented the fleeting youth of the “Brodie set”), merged with a violet that went from a whisper to a full roar. I used both Lush products and Gorilla scents to achieve this.

You can watch a review of the event on STV here.

Chris Scott took all the photos in this blog post. We’ve mentioned the greatness of Chris Scott before, in this blog post.

The Silver Fox’s First Musings on Gorilla On Tour

“Throughout the twentieth century, perfumery flourished as one of the great popular arts, in the same way that fashion, music, and design flourished, contributing more and more to the everyday life of the everyday person. Yet perfume is probably the least understood and least appreciated of the arts”. Tania Sanchez, Perfumes A-Z

Gorilla On Tour-The Golden Hour: Infused and Bemused Tour essentially is about the art-form of perfume. The vintage bus, filled with writers reading, musicians singing, Beat books strewn about, records in scented sleeves, and bottles upon beautiful bottles of perfume seems to make perfect sense to us. “Perfumes are like books and pieces of music” says Luca Turin, co-author of Perfumes A-Z, and one of the leading scientists of olfaction.

In most perfume houses, the perfumers are anonymous. Most people will never know the name of the person who created the lovely symphony that is their signature scent, if they buy it from one of the big labels, which has a bottle titled only with the name of the fashion house/cosmetics company, with no nods, no hints whatsoever, that there was a talented perfumer who spent time, creativity, and genius (at times) composing it. They think Christian Dior made Diorissimo. But that was perfumer Edmond Routniska- who laboured for years and years to get the smell of Lily of the Valley right. He made many perfumes for many different fashion houses. Ernst Beaux is the name of the man who created Chanel No. 5, not Coco Chanel. He created Chanel No. 22, Cuir de Russie and many more creations for the brand. Yet his name is nowhere on the bottle. Contemporarily, perfumers like Maurice Roucel,  Jean Claude Elena, and Calice Becker are amongst a small set of people, (there’s more employed astronauts than employed perfumers is an interesting fact that gets bandied about) all make many of the perfumes that glitter under fluorescent lights in Duty Free, that sit on clean mirrors atop glass cabinets in department stores. Modern perfumers have more worries than anonymity however. They have to answer to big-time cosmetics firms who, for the most part, think about perfume in fiscal terms. Essential oils are a terribly expensive business. So a perfumer who has a recipe for a composition may find his or her lilting lullaby dullened by cheap aromachemicals and synthetics. In addition, past masters’ works- like the aforementioned Diorissimo– are often altered, over time- which would be like Glenn Gould’s interpretation of the Goldberg Variations being “updated” with a few techno beats, here and there. Can anyone scream RE-E-E-E-E-E-EMIX?

For our sake and for yours, we’ve tried to avoid the whole world of mainstream perfume. Flip through a magazine and try to avoid perfume adverts by the big-players. Look at Hollywood stars posed in contemplative positions in high budget photo shoots, or in live-action: commercials that cost millions of pounds to make, starring the currently popular starlet or rugged actor. Christmas is coming soon. Count the perfume commercials you see. We don’t advertise. We instead invest in our perfume. Tania Sanchez, in a review about one of our perfumes, states this about our company:

“If I ran the world, this is how fragrance would work: all the money spent on the juice, the bottle a mere afterthought, not the sad, common reverse. These people are getting it right”

We know our perfumer’s names. Gorilla Perfume is Mark and Simon Constantine. We know their conceptions, the stories behind the perfumes that they have composed. We know Simon was listening to a Magnetic Man song called The Bug, and was inspired by CCTV culture, the phone hacking scandal, police informants, and worked with high quality essential oils to create an unsettling, but lovely fragrance called The Bug. We know Euphoria is Mark’s blend of the most euphoric essential oils, a fragrance whose very composition got him through a rough winter. We know both worked on The Voice of Reason while being inspired by listening to the words of William Burroughs about decay and death above the Poole Lush shop, in the “secret rooms”, in their office, where they sit across from each-other. They were further inspired by Beat writing and the Bill Callahan song, I’m New Here, sung by Gil Scott Heron- and remixed by Jamie XX (listen to both, back to back, here and here). We know the point of view of The Voice of Reason was not merely being nostalgic of the Beats- but in remembering them, knowing there was a distance between them and us- as if you’d just seen a parade of people, people like Leonard Cohen, people like Bob Dylan, Kerouac, Ginsberg, the whole lot, waltz right by you, who go into a secret door, and are gone, and all you have is the smell of them lingering. The perfume is abstract- it is not being part of them, but being merely a bystander as they came and went. It smells of French cigarettes and whisky. And to my nose, it is a masterpiece.

We know this because Mark and Simon told us. We know also that Mark and Simon didn’t have to scrimp on the materials to make the scents. Whereas, other perfumes may be made with the composition dictated by the price of essential oils, Simon has admitted that he never even looks at the price, until his perfume is finished, uncompromised. And then when they told Plastic Crimewave about the perfumes they’ve just made, he made a comic book about it. And so we thought, Mark and Simon have been inspired by music and literature, how about we put the perfumes on tour- as performers in their own right- alongside some of the loveliest and most talented performers in the UK, and give free performances to cities.

We put together a modern Beat poet of sorts, Ryan Van Winkle, and a choreographer, David Beer, with his Collisions dance troupe- and we set off as you’ve read on the blog. They’ve scented performances of The Golden Hour: Infused and Bemused. Direct experience is the only way to experience scent. Instead of paying a celebrity to hang off a billboard, instead of trying to appeal to the MOST amount of people in the LEAST thoughtful ways, we’ve instead had some small performances, where there may have been three or four people hearing poetry while smelling our scents; there may have been a lone visitor, flicking through the LPs, looking at the beautiful apothecary in the bus that Lush hero Jo so thoughtfully designed, there may have been a hundred or more people at the venues we’ve played in various cities. We’re presenting the perfume as an art-form, as the most ephemeral art-form. Beautiful photos and videos are being taken to try to capture some of the glorious events and happenings. However, we can’t smell how it all smelled. That privilege rests with the people who came out, who took part, who were there. Yes. In this case, you really have to be there.

“Nothing can be smelled without disappearing. You don’t use up a picture by looking at it, but each time you uncork a perfume, the bit that evaporates is the bit you enjoy, and after you’ve smelled it, there’s no getting it back into the bottle” Tania Sanchex Perfumes A-Z

All of this may be a primer in perfume for you, or it may not be, you may know all about the world of perfume (it took a photocopy of Pia‘s notes on perfume that got me hooked into the history of perfume). However, we make no distinction between those who know and those who don’t. Perfume shouldn’t be elite. Perfume is for everybody.

“There is a base pleasure in perfume, in just about any perfume, even the cheapest and the most starved of ideas that is better than no perfume at all. It decorates the day. It makes you feel as if the colours of the air have changed. Its a substitute for having an orchestra follow you around playing the theme song of your choice”. Tania Sanchez, Perfumes A-Z

Perfume contributes to the “everyday life of the everyday person” and as such, it shouldn’t cost the moon to be able to indulge. By not advertising, you are not paying for our advertising campaign. Also by keeping our design and packaging reasonable (because, just so you know, there are some perfumes on the market in which the box it comes in, in addition to the bottle, which make up the majority of the percentage of the price. The perfume the afterthought. (Some people are buying 30£ boxes out there.)), we thought we could spread the word this way, to perfumistas, to people into fashion, to people who know nothing about perfume, to people who know nothing about fashion, for everyone to think how marvelous! How marvelous it is just to smell! How very now-and in the moment it is- how very delightful the now is!

In saying that, the bus is for everyone, we did invite some people who are “in-the-know” so to speak, about perfume. The Silver Fox writes one great blog about perfume. If you’ve been at all inspired by the world of perfume, we can advise that his blog is a great resource. He is a true arbiter of perfume and writes both knowledgeably and passionately about fragrance.

He wrote this on his facebook wall:

“Gorilla-tastic. I was invited to the Gorilla bus on Thursday to indulge in the new perfumes. There are 11 in total and two new typically quirky takes on incense. The hand-painted bus is beautifully kitted out inside like a traveling man’s lotions and potions sideshow; snake oil, virility and illicit draughts a speciality! The concept is wonderfully inviting; they are travelling with artists, poets, dancers and musicians and everything is designed to draw you in, invite you closer and let you experience something quite unique. The bus is awash with the new style bottles with packaging by Plastic Crimewave (who decorated the bus), various random objects, little wooden drawers with herbs, bibelots, books, posters and little personal touches of visitors to the bus. It reminded me of the Greenham Common caravan they have at the Transport Museum at Riverside in Glasgow.

I took Rachel, my colleague from work. Our guide Cassie was so alive and passionate about the scents and carefully talked us through them. I am already a huge fan of ‘Ladyboy’ and ‘The Smell of Weather Turning’ so I don’t need to be convinced that Gorilla make weird and wonderful aromas. But these are a step forward with a pagan and folkloric slant, re-connecting us to our very British landscape and past. I am preparing a longer blog post on my experience and a more in-depth look at my favourites. But I adored ‘The Voice of Reason’ all smoky wood chips on my skin, BBQ sauce, smoked jalapenos, hash smoke in cars, blaring endless soul music into the night. Fabulous. ‘Furze’ is an amazing take on vanilla, working with gorse and coconut. The vanilla actually smells yellow, like Walls vanilla ice cream, but there is an underlying windswept edge to it which sets it apart. And ‘The Bug’. Quite something. I hated and loved. It deeply unsettled me as I stood in the bus gazing up at the castle. I normally loathe galbanum, but this buzzes down into a very and I mean very odd metallic, tongue on battery note. It smelt to me like the inside of clean cold fridges. I am still sampling and sniffing. ‘Hellstone’ is suffocatingly sexy and the mandarin note in ‘Sun’ is truly delicious, one of best I have ever smelt. So, if the Bus is near you… go and say hello. The fragrances are amazing. The Gorilla peeps a delight and if you take something to decorate their van and they like it…. They might…. Just might…. Trade you for some fragrance…”
We look forward to further musings by The Silver Fox!
We have included some of his stylish photos here also. We like his style.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos & image copyright The Silver Fox, 2012.
In addition, we’ve quoted quite broadly from Tania Sanchez and Luca Turin’s perfume guide book Perfumes A-Z. They helped start the trend towards thinking critically about perfume. It’s not merely that our fragrances, for the most part, rank extremely well in this industry bible, that we refer to it so heavily. Rather, it’s because both Ms. Sanchez and Mr. Turin write extremely well about this topic- which extends to their reviews in their book (think, there is no vocabulary for the olfactory sense- their reviews, themselves, are astute, creative, and make one think differently, and in a more nuanced sense, about perfume). This book is often the first step for an appreciation of perfume.

Chris Scott, Literary Paparrazo, paps Gorilla on Tour

Chris Scott is an Edinburgh based photographer who is intrigued by all manners of art, literature, music and culture. I have, to this date, never seen Chris when he hasn’t had a camera in tow. Chris has attended many of Gorilla’s guerilla events and taken the most beautiful photos of Gorilla scents at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and when we held an event at the Scottish Poetry Library, during The Edinburgh Olfaction Festival. Chris also is the one who has taken those lovely photos of the book sculptures that went viral last year. The ones that The Guardian wrote about here and National Public Radio (NPR) wrote about here. What we like about Chris is that he manages to take brilliant photos of the most ephemeral events and have them feel like you’re there, even if you’re halfway around the world. He has long been a fan of Gorilla and can be found, some days, in the Lush Edinburgh shop, smelling his way through the scents.

In addition, Chris Scott rules because there was this one time, when I was involved in The Edinburgh Science Festival, where I was trying to explain the smell of Breath of God to a fashion designer and I didn’t have an atomiser, and Chris, out of the blue pops up, camera in one hand, other hand rifling in his pocket, and out comes the aforementioned Breath of God. He only had 2 pockets! And in 1 of them was the very thing I needed at the very time I needed it- and that the thing was Breath of God shows his incredibly good taste.

Please visit Chris Scott’s website here.

Thank you very much Chris! And glad you enjoyed the bus and the gig!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


He also snapped this photo of Peggy Hughes at our gig. We mentioned Peggy earlier on the blog here. Peggy is the doyenne of literature in Edinburgh. By day, Peggy is the Communications Executive of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust. By night, she is the programme director of the West Port Book Festival, co-editor of Anon Poetry Magazine, and one third of Electric Bookshop. She was the one who hooked Gorilla up with the gig at The Scottish Poetry Library last year! Isn’t it lovely that these are the type of people Chris “paps”? FYI, since we’re talking about wordsmiths here, I’m not fond of the word “paps”, but it seems it’s one of the words without a synonym. Feel free to tweet us any suggestions- because we’re wide open for them.

All images copyright Chris Scott, 2012.

Gorilla on Tour- Performer Profiles: Hailey Beavis

Hailey Beavis performing at the legendary bookshop in Paris, Shakespeare & Co. Writers and artists such as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Man Ray spent a great deal of time at Shakespeare and Company, and it was nicknamed “Stratford-on-Odéon” by James Joyce, who used it as his office.

Where does one begin to describe Hailey Beavis? A true DIY, for-the-people performer, for one. Hailey is a stalwart at some of Edinburgh’s most legendary folk clubs. Her way with lyrics is unmatched, and some (i.e. us, for example) would consider Hailey to be among the very best of Edinburgh songwriters. A performance by Hailey manages to touch you right down through your breast bone, into the center of your very being. If this sounds like we’re being exaggeratory, we can only tell you to catch a performance by Ms. Beavis and try to tell us otherwise! If you’re a fan of Cat Power, or Joanna Newsom, chances are you’ll become a fan of Ms. Beavis.

The song that’s been going around our heads for the past few days is an old one, called Shipwrecked, which can be found on Hailey’s Myspace page here (Yes. We said she was DIY. She was once called out by Marc Riley on the BBC for not updating her Myspace page!).

As a relentless performer, Hailey spends more time on her music than her press. We asked folk legend Dan Willson, aka Withered Hand, for a few words about Hailey and the ones he provided, we couldn’t agree with more:

“Hailey Beavis writes songs of rare delicacy and insight, combining an honest and sometimes startling turn-of-phrase with a natural melodic sensibility in her guitar compositions and her beautiful keening voice. It defies all sense that she remains so far a well kept secret outside of Edinburgh”.

Hailey has recently opened for The Proclaimers on a national tour. She also opened for the gala performance of Nick Cave‘s book, The Death of Bunny Munroe, with her band, at Canongate‘s Irregular cabaret.

Here is a lovely video of Hailey’s song, Sinking Sunset.

We’re so pleased to be have Hailey on tour. We’re sure audience members will be pleased, when in years to come they reflect back on the experience, that they were able to see Hailey Beavis, perform, for free.

“There’s a lot of hope in a song/And there’s a lot of ways that love can go wrong

Most times I don’t even know what’s going on/Till it’s all gone

I sit beneath of buildings/and I let the weight of my longing cry out on high chimes

The cathedral is choking/The chimneys of industry endlessly smoking

Over all of the people, out in the open/Down, down the mountainside, across the ocean”