WEEKEND columnist Nikki Owen's memories are bound up in perfume
Perfume. In this day, this age, a time of celebrity worship and big bucks, perfume has changed.
There was a time when, washed out jam jars laid on the pavement, two bottles of pop tipped out to make room for water, perfume marked the start of something. The start of growing up.
Me and my sister, to passers-by thrusting their eyes to the ground to avoid us, would try and flog our homemade rose petal perfume wares. We thought we had the market cornered.
Come teenage years and our fragrance tastes had progressed. We had progressed. Gone were the childish attempts at flower smells and in was the experimentation with pulling power.
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We tried them all. Lulu, Charlie, a bit of my mum's Yves Saint Laurent. Every scent marked something, marked a stage in our lives. Boys, friends, highs, lows, spilling the entire bottle.
Perfumes, see, are like pins in a map, marking out journeys in our lives. Sniff a perfume and you're sniffing a journey. You're sniffing a period of time in someone's life when that aroma, that heady scent, meant something.
My first years at university were marked out by Samsara. Every time I whiff it, I'm transported back to a time of study, parties, pulling all-nighters to get essays done, staying out 'til 6am clubbing.
Later came Happy, Clinique Happy, the perfume I wore on my wedding day, a day so wonderful, so filled with family, friends, with utter heavenly contentedness, that when I smell it now, I pause, breathe and smile.
Unlike my day, celebrities now have got a corner on perfume. Kylie, Britney – even David Beckham's got his own scent going on. And I look at them with their Champagne lifestyles and their bling and think, what journey are they forging? For the folk that buy these perfumes to be like their celeb idols, what journey will it mean for them?
Jennifer Lopez launched her new scent this year and for many it means a quick buy. But that will soon change. It will change from just a fragrance to a memory, to something that stirs thoughts of everything you've done, everywhere you've been for that snapshot in time.
Yes we have cameras. Yes we have smart phones to record events. But it's perfume that leaves behind it, like aeroplane vapours in the sky, the real trail of the journeys we've made.
Follow Nikki's blog at http://www.nikkiowen.wordpress.com