Friday, October 26, 2012

Of Ben Folds Five, Burberry, and Feeling Free

*Current Fragrance: Boyfriend from Kate Walsh
*Currently Listening: One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces from Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five
A few weeks ago Al and I, along with Pretty Pretty Princess and Boyfriend of Pretty Pretty Princess, went to go see Ben Folds Five at the House of Blues. Al and I had gone to see Ben Folds with the Boston Pops a few years with Bartles and James and had an AMAZING time. We never thought we'd have the opportunity to see the original trio live, so when we did...we jumped at the opportunity!

Al went to college in Chapel Hill where the band got its start, so you can see why he likes them so much. (I get this nice nostalgic twinge ever time I hear a smidgen of the North Carolinian accent in Ben Folds' voice.) My emotional association with the group is a little more complex and convoluted. You see...I ran away from home, to start my new home and new life in North Carolina with Al. Not something I would recommend for everyone, but for me - it certainly worked. I've always associated Ben Folds Five with this time period, here's why.

Two or three days after moving to NC, which included moving in with Al and his two post college (sorta) fraternity brother roommates, I decided I was going to get in their good graces by making them a good and balanced home cooked meal. For me the contains marinated chicken breast, rice and green beans. Al must have gotten a ride to work that day, because I had his car at my disposal. I remember turning on the car and the Whatever and Ever Amen album was on. Either Battle of Who Could Care Less or One Angry Dwarf & 200 Solemn Faces was placing, both of those give me such freedom filled feelings. (Say THAT five times fast!) Once I got to the grocery store however, I wasn't sure I was going to STAY in North Carolina....$3 for a can of green beans!?!?!? I had mucked up Al's directions somehow, and ended up at the Whole Foods instead of Harris Teeter. Sadly, or perhaps not so sadly, I don't think I'd be that shocked by a $3 can of green beans here in Boston!

Ben Folds

Away from green beans and back to Ben Folds Five. I've always associated the music with my time in Chapel Hill and year and a half in North Carolina. I smile listening to Kate knowing that I've been at a particular intersection that he sings about in the city and feel a weird, WEIRD connection knowing that the Planned Parenthood where I got my birth control was most likely the place that they went to in the narrative of Brick, also...Ben Folds Five is nerd rock. I have decided that those are my people.

A few days before the concert I was straightening my hair, listening to my Ben Folds Five playlist on my iPhone, and the scent of Burberry for Women. OooooooKkkkkkk, my brain thought, and then it hit me....Burberry was what I was wearing perfume wise when I "ran away" to North Carolina. Thank you music and your highly associative properties plus the small degree of synesthesia I'm convinced I posses.

I haven't smelled Burberry in YEARS, but it's VERY distinctly in my "minds nose". There's an element of coziness and comfort to Burberry - a cedar drenched, musky vanilla. Plus there's blackcurrant and green apple: and if a fragrance has blackcurrant, given it's not straight up Raspberry Hoe Juice, I will like it! Burberry is like eating a delicious fruit pit on Christmas morning right after you've opened all your gifts and you've slipped that new snuggley sweater over your PJs. Oh yeah, the pie is left over from Christmas Eve dinner, the flavors have had plenty of time to meld. I want a bottle! It's, a little over ten years. Well....Christmastime IS a-comin'!

I really feel lucky  to have fragrances and music to bring me back to places and instances. I really think it is so much more powerful than a photo or a spoken remembrance.

Care to share some of your transporters, be it auditory and olfactory? Share in the comments below.

*Currently Listening: Army from Ben Folds Five
**Photo Credits: All images my own


  1. My most powerful association is Horkstow Grange. It was one random Friday afternoon when the rest of the university had gone home but SOB had required us to stay for rehearsal. We were playing Horkstow... it was extremely hot and he had the side door propped open. So, there was this thick heat hanging in the air making me sleepy, Horkstow was playing around me beautifully, I could hear the cars whipping by on MLK, smell the refinery across the street and the stale stench of the band hall. I could look right in front of me and see the clarinet section with my two best friends sitting in it...I had a complete Zen moment where everything was right and wonderful with my world at that very moment. And when I listen to that piece, I can still smell/hear/see/feel that same moment all over again.

  2. I've really only started to become tuned in to scent for the past half-year or so, since I started trying out perfumes. A bit sadly, none have brought me back to anything, with the exception of l'Artisan Seville a l'Aube. The beeswax takes me back to making Ukranian Easter eggs with my family--you scoop beeswax into a tiny wire-wrapped metal funnel at the end of a stick, heat the funnel over a candle to melt the wax, and draw on the egg. Dip it in yellow dye, dry it, repeat; dip in a darker shade, repeat; and again until you get to black. Then melt off all the wax. My dad would make the most gorgeous eggs! So, the beeswax scent always makes me happy, remembering that :)

  3. Sweet Milk by Jo Malone brings up very strong memories from my childhood. If you have time, here's my post about it.