Perfume Pen Pals: Neutrogena Rainbath


For me, summer vacation has come to mean traveling from one house in which I don't write to another house in which I also don't write. The vacation houses are always more scenic than my own but they also have more ants and less water pressure and so my state of mind remains about the same.

This year would have been no different if only on the morning of my departure I hadn't tried to carry too many things, stumbled and, with great force, slammed my leg into the stairs. People always say accidents happen in slow motion but for me the accident was instantaneous and it was the whole week after the accident that happened in slow motion.

Call in the cereal spatter analyst!

Nothing could be done except limp around and try not to think about my injury. Or sit very still and do nothing but think about my injury. A friend once tried convincing me to run a marathon, saying that at some point during the 26 miles, it becomes all mental. Which is exactly why I won't run a marathon: if it were all physical, I could do it, but the moment it turned mental, I'd curl up on the side of the road and wait to die.

Now I know what you're thinking: "Dan's no barrel of monkeys when he's healthy, so spending a week of confinement with him and his owies must be agony." (Susan says hi.)

But you're wrong, KP. I found hot showers helped mitigate the discomfort and it was there I discovered a colossal bottle of rich, copper-colored shower gel called Neutrogena Rainbath.

Have you heard of this stuff? It's apparently been around for decades and is sold everywhere in America except the places I shop. Neutrogena says it's "a unique fragrance of spices, fruits and herbs," which both undersells it and oversells it. Because Rainbath basically smells like old-school Brut.

"Oooh...just splash it on all over, eh Henry?"

I guess in 2014 there's no advantage in saying something smells like Brut and that's a shame because Brut smells great. Or smelled great. The new formula isn't the same but then nothing is the same, our minds and bodies are breaking down, we're all enduring a protracted decline and we're haunted by our memories of better times. Or maybe that's just my bum leg talking.

Anyway, the smell of Rainbath stays on the skin remarkably long and one morning when I emerged from the shower Susan said, "You smell like the '70s!" Which, as you know, is the best compliment you can give someone who loves fragrance. It's like telling an actor he reminds you of a young Brando.

This is all to say that everything is fine now and I smell great. How was your summer?


Acqua di Parma Colonia

Living in London, the defining perfume of my past few years here has been Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules. Not a day goes by that I don't nab a whiff of a waft of "the little aromachemical that could" in the city's streets and tubes, galleries and supermarkets. I smell it in double-kiss hellos with film editors, yoga teachers and pop stars' himbo consorts.

Perfume Pen Pals: nu_be


I recently tried the nu_be series, "an olfactory periodic table," which smartly counters the complaint that these new brands put out too many perfumes at once. If anyone criticizes nu_be, it's like criticizing the chemical structure of the whole world. "Too many perfumes? You try living without oxygen!"

Prada Amber

A few years ago, I smelled Prada Amber being worn to great effect by an elegant woman at a TV industry party. The party was a "class reunion" of the first TV show I ever hosted in the UK, the notorious pop culture crash called The Word. The Word was live on Channel 4 every Friday night at at 11 o'clock, an hour of the biggest stars, the hippest bands, and the most shocking, tabloid-freak-show studio events.

Perfume Pen Pals: Kerosene Black Vines


I know nothing about most occupations but here's how I imagine roller coaster architects work: they draw up dozens of plans for coasters that are never built because the designs are so unruly, almost every rider would get sick. Eventually, the plans are meticulously reigned in and, because of this, these architects surely see their finished coasters as a compromise.