Monday, August 25, 2008
narcotic venus, narcotic adonis?
What is full of illegal substances and makes great PR for repressive regimes? Of course, the presently concluded Olympic Games. Once again the public has been fed, and has eagerly gulped down, its two-week concentrate of reality soap athletic drama full of heroes, tragic losers and villains (though one can never be quite sure who is who), framed by two spectacular variety pieces that succinctly expressed what's at stake here: manipulating masses of bodies to generate profits and flex political muscle. China wins the gold medal count, the US has the most total medals, even Togo and Kirgisistan have their heros for a day. and we can all feel these Games have 'opened China towards the world' and at least the folks in Tibet are not worse off. Never mind the dregs whose appartments were bulldozed away to build a stadium by party decree. All of which leads me to present my fragrant choice for the 2008 olympics - anti-climactically after the fact, just to make sure you don't think I'm buying into the hype or crave membership on the IOC gravytrain. And the winner is: Nasomatto's Narcotic Venus.
Nasomatto fragrances have something quite Olympian about them. The company is as secretive about ingredients as the IOC is about its backroom dealings. They are as expensive as advertising time on US television during a Michael Phelps final. And they are as powerful as the latest dope cocktail that will make anyone's grandfather run the 100 meters in 9.5. It's as if Nasomatto wanted to cut through the ever-thickening jungle of niche fragrance competition to release an olfactory scream straight into your face, like those Ur-Schreis belted out by javelin throwers. The choice as an olympic scent came naturally, for the Nasomatto manifesto, obviously written by the same guy who composes Olympic communiqués, states "I give advantage to people longing to distinguish themselves" as well as "I take advantage of drugs and food." Now if that doesn't capture the spirit of the Games...
Narcotic Venus is supposedly about "the overwhelming addictive intensity of female sexual power.” That may sound more like the Kama Sutra Olympics and raises fears of another Sécrétions Magnifiques. Thankfully, what we get instead is - not white punks - but white florals on dope. This is a bouquet of summer flowers, green gardenia, jasmine and prominently tuberose, on anabolic steroids, akin to a 300-pound ballet dancer, or to stay in the Olympic frame of reference: what is this heavy weight boxer doing among 14-, er...16-year old slender-bodied gymnasts and why is she wearing mascara?
For all that initial power, nothing much happens here anymore. Sexuality? Ah, you know what happens to the libido with all those pharmaceuticals. No, there are no naughty indoles here at all, no lusty notes of groins in motion, no spice of life. It's all kept squeaky clean, a bird's nest filled with 10,000 white blossoms, smelling in unison. An impressive image, for a while, professionally executed, but whether that spells out beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me it's a demonstration of power and skill, but it falls short on aesthetic daring. There is quality and abundance, but not enough soul or inventiveness. Thankfully we find that in other places. The true, undiluted spirit of sportsmanship can be observed, e.g. among players of Tipp-Kick, undisturbed by political functionaries, corporation cash or the need to dope.