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 The Scent That Captures That "1930s Moment"!

All material copyrighted to © 2014

or to the various credited sources © 2014



Now a new mongrel pedigree (for aren’t all pedigrees simply

Aggregates of mongrels?– of independent nostalgia shops

Have capitalised on the gap in the market: musty curiosity

Emporiums displaying relics of the post-war consensus and

Its proleptic edicts from the preceding decade: a scoop of Victor

Gollancz’s burnt orange offerings: Left Book Club Editions,

Stood like dusty bricks behind a glass partition, dialectical

Antiques of the proto-welfare state, printed by the utopian-

Sounding Camelot Press: The Labour Party in Perspective

By C.R. Attlee; The Road To Wigan Pier by George Orwell

(Tome to the notorious trope of perennial misappropriation,

“The lower classes smell”, in its contentious Chapter 8);

A Programme for Progress by John Strachey; Betrayal

Of the Left by V. Gollancz; Left Turn by M.J. Coldwell;

Funny Turn by V.R. Tigo; The Means to Full Employment 

By G.D.H. Cole; the Victory Books: Guilty Men by

‘Cato’ (Michael Foot) and Your M.P. by ‘Gracchus’ (Tom

Wintringham), as well as a snipping of ‘Red’ Ellen Wilkinson,

And the rhetorical Why Not Trust The Tories? by ‘Celticus’

(Aneurin Bevan); Studies in a Violet Culture by Christopher

St. John Sprigg; Better Red Than Violet by ‘Valeria’ (Olive

Vortiger); and Odour of Devon Violet by ‘Nerva’ (Ivor Mortise) –

Rubus shrubs published and circulated among amicable

Libraries of ripe like-minds to “help in the struggle for world

Peace and against fascism”; but now these decrepit spinsters

And liver-spotted widowers grow stiff in their blanched clothes,

Their age-abraded garments, embalmed air-tight in state,

As if to imply they’d disintegrate on contact with the toxic

Atmosphere (atrophic as it is), each explicitly out of reach,

Hermetically sealed in estranging legends NOT FOR SALE

TO THE PUBLIC scorched across the foot of their covers –

That unspoken, contradictory and self-immolating

Motto of historical socialism, reverberating as a hoary

Apologia to a missed opportunity for germinating social

Gospels, proselytising to the proletariat while the ideas

Were still warm, and getting warmer, clammily topical,

Urgently unguent, fresh enough to seed and flower,

To generate micro-cultures; now those tomes look pointless,

Quixotic, remote, smell sourly odourless like long-

Mummified bandages of trapped air, once the wounds have

Rotted beyond cognition, beyond the need for healing, past

Putrefaction; encrusted themselves into gore-red colophons,

Tubercule clumps of crushed-rose emblems, melted blood,

Bossages of congealed haemoglobin, crimson knobs of sealing wax…

Ring a ring o’ roses, pocket books of proses;

In tropes and aphorisms hope atrophies, decomposes –

Atishoo, atishoo, “We’re all capitalists now!

We worship the Markets, splice the Common Plough!”


Foxed apocrypha for political apothecaries, decomposed

To papery mottled tissue… The camphor of stumped polemic

Dissipates to simplistic platitudes of artificial sprays,

Purple resins of wilting potpourri, pink clouds of obfuscating

Violet haze, the past as represented in a bowdlerised bouquet,

A redacting scent that edits out the detail but retains mystique

Of the elliptical: the odour of DEVON VIOLET… And its own

Portfolio of contemporary pheromone-polemic, olfactorily

Off-topic, dialectically quotidian, contrapuntal to current

Nosterity narratives, scooping up for consumers a pedestrian

Cherrypick of a past transplanted –distinctly unambitious titles:

Capitalism Is The Only Workable System; Common Purpose

Comes Through Consumption, Unity Through Competition;

Socialism, Imprisoner of Choice, Enemy of Enterprise; Supply

& Demand; Private Enterprise, The Public’s Spice; We’re All

In This Regardless; The Violet Book of the Spendthrift Terror;

‘Tough Choices & Difficult Decisions’: The Almanac

Of Austerity Rhetoric –all lusciously pressed in pristine violet

Dust-jackets, and, without exception, obdurately authorless…

Odour of Devon Violet book cover
Left Book Club spines
Left Book Club spines
Left Book Club spines
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