Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Smelling nice and living well


So much vile wretchedness, hunger, and filth on one hand, and on the other such exquisite refinement, abundance and beautiful life. Was not this the answer to the question whether money is not education, health, and intelligence? Since the same human mire remains beneath, does not all civilisation reduce itself to the superiority of smelling nice and living well?
Émile Zola - L'Argent (1891)

So smelling nice and living well could be the bedrock of our civilisation. Yet by the time I’ve climbed to the top of Ecton Hill I’m not so sure I qualify on both counts.

Dave, Nick and Ed probably smell nice and live well, but do they represent what civilisation is all about? I think not. On the other hand Nigel Farage probably lives well but the beer and fags may let him down on the olfactory side of things. So not a particularly good guide. 

A few weeks ago while walking round an antiques centre I was suddenly enveloped by a cloud of weapons-grade perfume. The woman responsible must have been wearing about half a bottle. It's not nearly as common as it was though, the use of eye-watering quantities of perfume. A good thing too in my view. 

I wonder what the Queen smells like? She seems fairly civilised.


Demetrius said...

I suspect that until she gave up riding HM often might well have had a more natural aura to her persona after a good hack across country. Was it in '49 that I cycled along the Manifold again I suspect leaving a strong scent on the wind?

Sam Vega said...

Necessary but not sufficient conditions for civilisation.

Mark Wadsworth said...

"I’m not so sure I qualify on both counts."

"On either count"??

As to the topic, being clean is the goal of and not the means towards civilisation. It's what we want and not how we got it.

I guess the people who dug the drains and clear the drains were, or are, pretty smelly, but it means we can have a shower and wash our clothes every day.

Which is nice and I am grateful to them.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - we walked the Manifold quite recently. Lots of cyclists these days.

Sam - politically sufficient though.

Mark - I qualify on the living well count because the climb is well worth the views.