jacktellslies: (opium den)
I built my first compost heap when I moved into this house, and so far I've learned the following: compost smells good. It smells really good, like onions, mulling spices, fermenting fruit, squash, earth, and tea. Were there no meaningful environmental benefits to doing this, I would continue as a purely aesthetic experiment.
jacktellslies: (opium den)
While shopping with my friends John and Bernie, John managed to find this amazing old pipe, dark wood and bone, with a bowl covered by a little silver lid on a hinge. I held it in my hand and pondered things, longing for wildly thrashed violin strings and the contents of a Persian slipper. Before the purchase was made, Bernie explained to John the importance of the pipe: it couldn't be an understated thing. It was the one allowed element of flash for a gentleman because, and here my aforementioned love affair with colonialism rose up like a blush and I interjected, "It was your last remaining luxury." I said it in a voice not my own, a dandy prophet, and then promptly fainted. I woke up in another stall in the antique bazaar on a two-hundred year old yellow sofa which did not, alas, match my tie, and facing a remarkable old phonograph to which I proposed marriage immediately.

I've been considering this for some time: small luxuries, a bit of civilization one can carry forth into a stupid world, and hence, a fetish.

Finn sent me this collection of notes on perfume, and it nearly killed me, it was so good. Perfume, I hate to admit, is not a subject on which I'm particularly knowledgeable. I know what I like to wear, I'm even a touch fussy about it, but I lack the words to adequately discuss it. So this is, to me, an exoticism, another language entirely. I haven't the slightest clue what it means when it gets to specifics, but it sounds magnificent. There was an early entry on this topic exactly, which, I hope no one minds, I'll quote in its entirety here. )

Meredith told me of a friend who always carried good chopsticks with her, and almost never ate with anything else. What a charming insistence upon one's own tastes! As for myself, I'm on the lookout for an appropriate tin or some such thing in which I can carry emergency rations of good tea. Some ply spirits with tobacco; the ones with which I converse, I find, make slightly different demands upon my hospitality.

What, if I may ask, are your little indulgences, then? What do you need on your transcontinental excursions, or whenever you step out of your house? Have you ever heard of any other good ones? Whatever their origin, I'd love to hear of them.
jacktellslies: (sebastian)
The favourite of the Roman Emperor is taken to be entertained by the mysterious Egyptians. He wears only a loincloth of red silk and is fed grapes and honeyed wines by boy-slaves while he's carried about on a litter, finally returning home to be devoured by his friends. (Et tu, Beth?)
jacktellslies: (in xanadu)
Do you remember the sections of The Picture of Dorian Gray in which Dorian goes about having aesthetic experiences? He collects exotic instruments, and he learns about jewels and gems and about fine tapestries. And it is so rich, and so thick, and, worst and best of all, it knows exactly what it is doing to you, so it finds a centre in you instantly, without even trying, and it fills you, so that you choke on it. And you let it choke you. And you adore it.

This is the section on perfumes.

(If you read the scent descriptions to me aloud, I'd almost certainly try to bite your neck.)



Although I've never suffered enough pain to warrant it, I feel like The Broken Column a good deal of the time. They say that humans started walking upright too soon. I believe it, and I feel it. But I am few things if I am not an upstart child, and so I rather like us for it. Rather than cursing a too swift evolution, in fact, I feel, as I often do, that the human mind was made so that we might improve upon our own natures. We should build for ourselves flying buttresses. Corsetry is a start, a stab in the right direction, but it is not enough. No: we must become the high and delicate cathedrals at the centre of architecture of our own design. (Despite the fact that corsets are lacking in this, and only this, respect, if you were to sneak into my room at night while I slept, take my measurements, and build for me something boyshaped and boyshaping, like the sort that soldiers used to wear, in black leather with thick buckles and medical-style lacing, you would own me.)

In discussing scents, Firinel implied that I should be more like a slightly foppish Victorian rent boy than like a man. Although her intentions, I am sure, were pure, were someone to write a tutorial explaining how one should flirt with me, this example would probably appear at least thrice in the text.

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jacktellslies

August 2009

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