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odourofdevonviolet.com

 The Scent That Captures That "1930s Moment"!

All material copyrighted to odourofdevonviolet.com © 2014

or to the various credited sources © 2014

atomiser DV bottle Dubbarys Building

I

 

What is that cheap perfume that punctuates everything today?

That plastic, elliptical scent, that clings in bargain basements

Insuperably as price stickers –nauseous, soporific? …Something

Old-fashioned, almost quaint, about this taint on the air,

Lingering in the nose, sweet sickly fumes, insipid as plastic flowers,

The kind of fragrance used to mask more authentic scents,

Disguise spices of indigence, less pleasant, but not so artificial;

Distilled in penny-pinching perfumeries, proboscis

Episcopacies, with all the other picturesquely titled temptations:

Evening In Paris, Night in Pimlico, Essence of Port Sunlight,

Blossom of Boots, Eau de Poundland, Flower of Woolworths…

Though none come close to O so revenant DEVON VIOLET,

Choicest cheap scent of the thrifty Thirties, its mysterious

Phantosmia floating in faint traces on the atmosphere

Almost everywhere in these austere times, ubiquitous,

And mysterious, best discarnate scent by far, and better

Than its temporal competitors -don't believe it? go compare

With practically anything anywhere, or, see the latest advert:

 

DEVON VIOLET! DON'T BELIEVE IT? WELL DON'T DESPAIR:

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BELIEVE IT, EAU DE CONTRAIRE,

JUST WEAR IT AND IT'LL DO THE REST -IT'S EVERYWHERE,

IN THE ATMOSPHERE... STILL SCEPTICAL? THEN GO COMPARE...

 

Compare with other olfactory compacts and you'll find

None come close to DEVON VIOLET's spectral spice, sublime

Pheromone -there's simply no alternative to the Palatine

Of the seven supreme smells, not even Flower of Woolworths...

 

 

II

 

Now no more, poor Woolworths, gone the way of all kitsch,

Though it was, in its day, hailed as a cheaply priced triumph

Of retailed democracy; pioneering thruppenny and sixpenny

Store piloted in Liverpool in 1909, year of the “People’s

Budget” (first grand design to vanquish poverty from this tin-pot

Ruritanian island, as with the wolves which once infested

Its forests) –all out with Woolies’ social-democratic store

Of faience tiled frontages, echoed on the derelict art deco

Of the discarnate DUBARRY’S SHALIMAR PERFUMERY CO. LTD.,

Long-extinct olfactory factory, but still making its presence

Felt with a lingering clairfragrance nostalgically wafting in

Like old affordable perfumes, favourite scents of gampstand

Grandmothers, once up to their elephant-shins in Moggies

And Mogodons, mothballed fossils now mythical as Woolly

Mammoths; a retail spectre touting its wares by the railtrack

Grimacing like a pair of wooden dentures stretched along...

...from the chalkwhite, whalebone, windgroaning girders

Of revenant Hove Station –its’ white-icing lettering curved

Tusk-like, halcyon, curling against munsell and feldgrau

Mosaic tiling –ocular respite from the Brutalism of contra-

Le Corbusier Rationalist times, dystopian phalansteries,

With sprawls of quaint advertising spiel, like elegant graffiti

From a former civilisation steeped in cosmetic sacraments:

 

SHALIMAR COMPLEXION CREAMS FOR LOVELINESS

THAT LASTS/ CREME SHALIMAR FOR DAINTY SOFT

WHITE HANDS/ DUBARRY'S SILKASHAVE SOAP FOR

A LUXURIOUS SHAVE/ SHALIMAR MANICURE PREPARATIONS/

LUXURIOUS/ COMPLEXION/ DAINTY/ CRYSTALS… CRYSTAL

BALLS/ ALL SHAPES AND FORMS FOR CORPOREAL

PETICURE/ OR, METAPHYSICAL RESPITES/ SHAMANIC

MASCARA/ SHAMPOO, SOAP AND PLATONISM/ EYE-

SHADOW FOR THE LONG-DEFUNCT PINEAL GLAND…

 

 

III

 

On every transient high street, punctuating the empty shops:

Tawdry pawnbrokers, CASH FOR GOLDs and payday cheque

Converter rackets, all gloriously unregulated –

As is the Gospel of the “free” flea-market; Satanic cats,

All, crouched gaudily by Swiss-coloured expanionist

Santanders and betting shop where once, so rumours moot,

Stood more equitable stores, quixotic co-operatives,

Quaint independents, cheaply priced emporiums

For the hard-up: mog-like purring shops one could

Depend upon, shabby budget-Bagpuss boutiques, which

Weren’t solely run for profit, but also to furnish our

Thriftless furs, in those days when Capitalism seemed

More harmless; almost accommodating; when one could

Splash out a bit but still have something left to show for it

In their pockets afterwards; now the only change we get

Is copper poltergeists, phantom coupons for Woolworths’ 

Once -affordable –but now obsolete– shibboleths…

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