Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nosy Interview: Ted Ollier

 Ted in Light Echoes V838 Mon, © NASA, ESA, H.E. Bond

Ted is the captain of Bow & Arrow Press, the swell letterpress studio in the basement of Harvard's Adams House. I took his introductory letterpress course last semester and he helped me make some Nosy Girl note cards, among other ephemeral treasures. Visit Ted's web site, mindhue studio, and peek into Bow & Arrow Press via its Twitter and Facebook pages.

What do you smell like? 
You would think that people wouldn't really notice how they smell, the scent being all around them and part of their basic chemical makeup. But the glomeruli cannot be denied, so one's skin has a definite smell that is obvious and familiar. I can't say it's the best smell ever or an amazing smell, but it's me. It would be interesting to find out if there are people who hate their own scent. Caveat: I'm going by the smell of my arm or hand skin, because that's something of a generic scent area and not a place, like the armpits or groin, which have been designed for more specific scent generation.

For a description, I have to use words related to food, maybe because we're really talking about raw bushmeat here. Maybe not savory, but fleshy, a touch mushroomy, maybe a hint of pepper or spice in there, some salt, some salami, and a fillip of musk. There are also non-scent words that come to mind: basic, satisfying, comforting. And finally, I get into synaesthetic terms: golden, orange, crenellated, curved, looped, and laminated.

What do you like to smell? 
As a hominid, I've traded quite a bit of my natural mammalian olfactory talents for binocular color vision. For myself, this already-stunted smelling equipment has been further compromised, either by allergies, lack of attention or just additional deletions to the detection genome. I can smell, just not very well. Because my smell channel is relatively quiet, any strong smell is anathema to me. So... smells I like are muted and layered, with no one note predominating. Food scents are fine when I'm hungry, any other time they can be annoying and pushy--although herbal and spicy scents are fine, as they are not food in and of themselves. Floral scents have to be subtle and unobtrusive if I am to co-exist with them. Spring is my least-favorite time of the year, because of all those damn flowers. The habit of burning incense I consider an abomination unto the Lord. Non-volatile industrial scents are fine, too--like the smell of oil-based printing ink, or Simple Green, or freshly-printed photographic paper. But mostly I prefer very little smell to intrude on my sensorium.