Welcoming 2016 With Open Arms!

I want YOU for armageddon!

I often dream of a world devoid of all life, except for mine. Selfish, isn't it? Or perhaps Sartre's "Hell is other people" is a phrase I've internalized somehow. I sometimes envision myself in a dilapidated room, an empty, L-shaped room, with no furniture or other objects in it, constructed of beat-up plywood boards painted a peculiar shade of purplish blue, with flecks of mottled grey from a previous paint job showing through. The room has two modest horizontal panoramic windows; one faces west, and looks upon a desolate cityscape of barren rooftops, set ablaze by a bright orange sunset eternally frozen in its first stage of civil twilight, while the second overlooks the south, and a highway overpass a half mile away, with a smokestacked factory just behind it.

The overpass appears to contradict my heavenly solitude by hosting a clamorous rush hour, the reddish-orange light reflecting glints of metal and glass as featureless cars and trucks cross my line of vision. Surely these are people driving home, right? No - closer inspection from the ledge of that splintered window frame reveals that these vehicles rest on tracks, spaced across four bidirectional lanes, which carry in an endless loop via electrical current (presumably from the factory in the background) this false display of evening bustle. They aren't cars and trucks; they are toys, rattling noisily along, repeating at intervals of ten or fifteen minutes the same sequential order of trucks, tractor trailers, and cars. These vehicles go nowhere.

Is this a detailed description of something? Can you see exactly what I see as you read my words? Does it elicit profoundly strange and mysterious feelings within you? This is the exercise perfume writers engage in on a constant basis: describing the indescribable. The goal is (usually) to convey to readers what something smells like, for people without perfumes on hand. Sometimes we're successful, but I think we frequently fall short.

Describing something with true clarity is hard enough when the subject is visual, like the scene above. It's even harder when dealing with the sense of smell. If I tell you I see a sunset, you can imagine a sunset you've seen recently, with all its reds and yellows and pinks and greys. But If I say, "Lily," there's a number of ways to interpret it. Is it sweet? Is it green? Is it bitter? Is it truly lily, or some synthetic analog of the flower? You get my drift.

I look forward to another year of doing this. When I look back at the years of writing this blog, I find some high points and low points, some clear ups and downs. What ties them all together is my fascination with how things smell. So how does this mysterious room that I envision myself in smell? I'll leave that one wide open. Sometimes the effect works better when the reader inserts his or her own sensation into the scene.

Looking back, I can't help but notice some high tide moments, like when I finally got my mitts on Le Troisième Homme, and found it to be just as hard to describe as pretty much every other person who has ever tried to describe it. Or when I interviewed Jeffrey Dame, and learned more about perfume in a day than I'd learned in ten years. The piece I did on Grey Flannel's corporate history, which precipitated the Dame interview, was probably the most enjoyable research post I've written for From Pyrgos. And somewhat unrelated to this blog, but still tremendously enjoyable, was reading this thread, in which one of the most intellectually shallow arguments ever made is roundly trounced by someone who calls himself "Lomaniac." I ate popcorn MJ-in-Thriller style as I read all seven pages of it.

Oh, I'm sorry, was that last sentence too "Donald Trump" for your liking? That was intentional. Last but not least, I'd like to mention the new American culture of Donald Trump, a nascent sociopolitical phenomenon that threatens the core of our humanity in a way not seen since the rise of the Third Reich. The spectre of 2016 as Donald Trump's election year is something that is both dire and inevitable, because frankly I don't see Hillary winning the country.

But maybe it's the chaos that needs to happen in America before things can actually improve here. For too many years the Obama politics of same-old, same-old have gripped the nation in vice-like fingers of political avarice and economic injustice. The President has taxed us to death, and his administration has fudged the numbers on the unemployed and underemployed in ways not seen before in our history.

Maybe we need a fat billionaire buffoon who hasn't a clue on how to govern to step in and really fuck the country up. Then, when all chaos has broken loose, and angry masses have stormed whatever passes for America's Bastille, the tide for true change can sweep across the nation and bring social justice and order back to our shores in angry, cathartic waves. Things must get worse before they can get better.

Fear not, dear reader. If Donald Trump is elected, and all bad things come to pass, From Pyrgos will continue on, unfettered by craziness, your comforting voice on the one thing that symbolizes civility and refinement: perfume.


  1. Sigh.
    When your dear old Aunty Bibi was but a young thing & Al Gore had just invented the internet, she had high hopes. The mystical, magickal information superhighway was going to change the world!!! Like a stream of light that shall pierce the darkness of ignorance & man's oppression until Liberty enlightens the world. (So spake Pres. Cleveland at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty also.)
    It just became an easier way to watch porn, buy more crap we don't need with money we don't have, & a prodigious platform for the willfully ignorant to validate each others' asininity.
    I now have complete & utter faith in the intractable stupidity of humankind.

    It really doesn't matter if Trump the Grump or Billary wins. Heck, maybe Trump's campaign is all just a ruse, he's been friends with the Clintons for years & has donated $ to their campaigns past & present too. Perhaps he'll declare himself so disgruntled with the GOP at the last minute he'll endorse Hilary- wouldn't that be a kicker?
    Fuck y'all.
    I'll be staying up here in the arse end of nowhere sequestered inside my Bin Laden like compound, meditating.
    Civility & refinement?
    Not today. I'm wearing a dab of Versace Blonde behind each ear along with my cheetah print polyester Oscar de La Renta caftan begotten for $19.99 at Nordstrom Rack in Ft Lauderdale. I like a bit of skank in my stank, thank you very much.
    None of this "New year, new me" bollocks either. Last year I was fabulous & next I will be fabulous! Screw the champagne, pass me the Stoli & a Marlboro, Dahling!

    1. Happy New Year, Mr Ross.
      Damn, those Marlboros are every bit as nasty as I remember. So's the Versace Blonde. Having myself a Stoli Screwdriver on this lovely first morning of 2016. Cheers!

  2. Arma-gedden outta here!

    Happy New Year to all Pyrgosians!


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