R has this weird heightened scent perception/association thing going on where he will randomly pick up a scent in the air and he immediately say things like 'Ah, that scent, it reminds of Brisbane, the Expo in '88....'
I think we all do that consciously or subconsciously, he just seems to be particularly acute at associating smell with memories. You can also get a powerful sense of this with music and I think this is common for a lot of people. You hear a tune and and if it happened to be playing at a particularly poignant moment in your life you're quite likely to recall the event every time you here that tune. Some music just reminds me of a certain person. For example I hear CocoRosie's werewolf (click the hyperlink to listen to it) I think of second daughter. She used it in one of her design exhibitions so it infiltrated our living space for months. It's such a part of her persona that to imagine her without this particular music inhabiting the air around her is like trying to breath without oxygen.
So this association works for all six senses. Six? you say. Well yes, because you would have to agree that if we include intuition as a sense then this is extrapolated into the experience of Deja vu. Association by sense and perception works for me with visual cues. I can't glance at the spine of a Günter Grass novel without thinking of my dad or if we talk about movies - I freely associate life experiences with movies. What I'm talking about here is the ambiance that a particular director creates in a movie, the personalities or actions of it's characters. It's all sense and perception.
For example in my last post How many times have you been engaged? my life with engagement no 1. Saul Atkinson had the ambiance of the movie The Boat that Rocked with the pathos of Frida - the story of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. R would have said it smelt like the ocean with a hint of chili.
Engagement no 2. was definitely a Betty Blue, the French cult movie of alarming obsession, destructiveness, alternating in comic and tragic modes mixed with curiosity of a Marquis de Sade novel and a healthy swig of cognac. Definitely a metal and butter scent. The smell of guitar strings and freshly buttered croissants in the morning.
Engagement no 3.was definitely The Painted Veil heavily mixed with A Streetcar Named Desire. The smell of ordinary suppression - soap and vinyl.
Life with R? The beginning was Serendipity to the sound of Vampire Weekend's Holiday (click the hyperlink to listen to it), with a touch of Nina Simone's My Baby Just Cares for Me (love this clip from the fantastic movie Fritz the Cat!) drunk with the flippancy of a Limoncello on ice - a chance encounter with impossible odds of actually meeting again.
This is followed by the rebellious immature romance and drama of the Titanic (and we have hit a few icebergs along the way) to the sound of French Horns solos from Mahler 5 (R plays French Horn). In fact whenever I wear Chanel's Allure parfum he says ' Ah, you're wearing the Titanic perfume!'
Now it's more the irrepressibly of the The Notebook to the strains of the Foals Big, Big Love, nibbling on marzipan and savouring the unsurpassable '82 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay.
Now if you've in any way touched my life for sure you'll eventually pop up in one of my blog posts and I'll have a movie and music association for you. If you can't wait however, (patience isn't always a frickin' virtue) and want to know what it is leave a comment in the comment box.