[image is a detail from the tour poster, post title is a lyric from "Three Peaches"]
Just typing "I saw Jeff Mangum perform on Friday" makes me tremble a little, filled again with disbelief, but this time at something that actually happened, rather than something I couldn't believe would. Waiting in line to pick up our tickets, I warned my companions that I might start sobbing during the concert. What is it about devotion that can make us sound so disturbed?
When we took our seats in the pews at Sanders Theatre, my friend Dorothy remarked immediately on how amazing it smelled. I agreed; it felt like being inside a roll-top desk: old wood, old books, varnish, worn lacquer, and leather blotter. Plus some dusty human smell that comes from sitting still for long stretches of time.
I was wearing East MidEast that day, but added Avignon because I couldn't imagine not wearing it to this show. The way Neutral Milk Hotel and Avignon make me feel are not similar, but they are related. More and more, this has become what interests me about perfume. Of course I like to smell good, but even more I like what I smell to make me feel a certain way, or think about things a bit differently, and I also appreciate being able to put on a certain fragrance and remember more fully a time or a moment in my life. Avignon, a fragrance that it's easy to feel religious about, now has this added weight for me, having risen from my wrists in the church-like atmosphere of Sanders Theatre during what, in some ways, is the closest I get to any kind of church at all.