Hopefully you all know Vanessa Musson of Bonkers about Perfume already, because she sure is a pleasure to know. Her quirky blog and unique point of view to everything pertaining perfume (and a good many things besides) make fabulous reading and I look forward to reading every new post. But of course there is much more to know about Vanessa and I’m happy she gives us a glimpse into the inner workings at Bonkers Towers.
A good day starts with… a good sleep the night before. Or in my case, copious amounts of tea in lieu of sleep. (Only the bog standard ‘builder’s’ variety has the power to override the daily feeling I have that monkeys have poured sand in my eyes.)
I’d never leave the house without… worrying that I have forgotten my house keys. Or leave my car without worrying that I haven’t locked it. Key-related anxiety is pretty much an ongoing state of mind.
I always feel good when… I sit in the sun. Except for the time I fell asleep without having first applied sun cream, and woke up with eyelids like imploded red balloons.
My favorite thing in the world is… kitchen towel. Empirically speaking, I mean. For if the amount of interaction with something is a measure of how much it means to you, kitchen towel is not just my favourite thing in the world, but my Significant Other, ‘Other’ being the operative word.
The next thing I want to buy is… kitchen towel. Once I get down to two rolls, I start to get nervous.
The place I always come back to is… Germany. Its edgy, graffiti-daubed hospitals/squats/bunkers/Lost & Found Bureaux weirdly repurposed as music venues exert a visceral pull – that’s always assuming you can find the door.
My personal style is… all over the place. I have some ‘preppy grunge’ outfits I wear to gigs, (no really, that is a style!), and some work suits that are not so much ‘so last year’ as ‘so last century’, while just staying the right side of shoulder pads. But in the male-dominated ‘flange and grommet’ circles in which I move professionally no one seems that bothered. The rest of the time I’d say my look is ‘a bit Boden’ – though I draw the line at the more traffic-stopping end of their spotty/stripy/floral spectrum.
My favorite perfume… (sigh!) is Guerlain Plus Que Jamais. The name means ‘more than ever’, but as it was discontinued some years ago, you can make that ‘Guerlain Plus Jamais’ (‘nevermore’).
When I travel… I always take too much. Those features in the women’s mags where the wraparound top doubles up as a sarong and a turban and a pashmina and a pair of flipflops? – I can’t seem to get the hang of that capsule wardrobe thing at all. Though in fairness most of my travel is work-related, and even the least fashion-conscious respondent might look askance at a sarong.
To relax I need… to get the heck off Facebook at least TWO hours before I go to bed! Hasn’t happened yet. (See also ‘I always feel good when…’, though the relaxing effect of sunshine is of limited value in the immediate run up to bedtime.)
I like to gift people with… my research skills (A rate-busting mortgage deal? Menopause remedies that really work? The name of the member of airline check-in staff who will look sympathetically at your waterlogged passport you accidentally washed with your trousers?) I am also good for complaint letters and remembering your loved one’s birthdays – long after you have stopped loving them even – such is the tenacity of my recall. And I will always make myself available for proof reading duties and pontificating on pesky matters of grammar.
When I have a bad day… I have a drink. Actually I have a drink most nights, but on a bad day you can be sure I will uphold this time-honoured tradition.. When I have a really bad day I go to bed in the middle of the afternoon – assuming this is practical – and remember my mother telling me that everything will feel better in the morning. Or in a year’s time, certainly.
I find my inspiration… in the most unlikely places: backs of drawers, factory floors, a derelict shop, a can of pop, the random utterances of friends…I can’t think of a rhyme for that, sorry – but basically anywhere and everywhere can spark an idea. I fear the inside of my head may resemble Random.org after one of those ‘Messy Day’ parties, but I shan’t rush to look.
Something I would never want to miss… the funeral of someone I really cared about, even though they would not miss me. A flight. My eyeballs when putting in contact lenses. The odometer in my car turning 70,000 miles. I missed 60,000 and refuse to be caught out again!
My last mistake was… writing to a friend, who has recently stepped up her wearing of perfume: ‘Of course you don’t want to offend people with your silage.” (Editor’s Note: Instead of sillage, for the not so quick among us, which includes yours truly.)
In my fridge there is always… a whiskery knob of ginger and several bulbs of garlic in full sprout. Plus some homemade stock of questionable vintage and an ever-changing kaleidoscope of wizened bits and bobs wrapped in tin foil. I may even have a bit of ‘fresh’ apple sauce left over from Christmas. Clearly I have issues with waste.
On my nightstand I keep… a precipitous tower of unread books, for which I was recently amused to learn the Japanese have a specific word – ‘tsundoku’. I kid myself that as these books are physically near my head, I will read them in the night by a magical process of osmosis. Hmm, that bookmark hasn’t budged – maybe I just need to bring them a little closer…
The perfect weekend starts with… the sound and view of the sea. Living in a landlocked county, I am routinely disappointed.
My role model is… I don’t actually have any role models, but I jolly well should. A whole clatter of them in fact. A fit person, a published writer, an entrepreneur, a person who can throw together an entire dinner party from store cupboard ingredients – there’s four for starters. There again, my mother was a very good egg, so she might just fit the bill instead.
Something I always want to be asked in questionnaires like this is… ‘As an interviewer, is it like a busman’s holiday for you to be asked a bunch of questions yourself? ‘ Noooo, for after nigh on 30 years of asking other people questions – and having to actively curb any wish to say: ‘Ooh, I do so agree, I’m just the same, you know!’ – I jump at any opportunity to be asked my opinion, so thanks for giving me exactly that.
I count myself lucky to call Vanessa a friend. Her way with words and her utter love for language and its finicky bits, her very British sense of humour, the fact that we are both cat-less cat-lovers and of course our shared passion for perfume are what brought us together, even across the distance between Vienna and Stafford. Thank goodness for V’s travelling ways and iMessaging.
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