Last week I was invited to programme the smell strand of an event hosted by agency Hi Fly Nest to showcase interesting work relating to each of the senses. Other than that it was a completely open brief. So I sat really still with my mouth hanging open for a while, trying to summon ideas.
Happily this time round, that tactic worked, as I quickly decided it would be quite fun to do something Life in Scents, the podcast I do with Jo Barratt where we invite guests to talk about their favourite/ most hated/most nostalgic smells. Until now, LiS has existed purely in radio format, so what Jo and I did was to pick some of our favoute ever moments and then let people listen to these clips on headphones while being able to interact with an exhibit relating to the smell in question.
This was the setup before we started, having had big support in the mounting from set sesigners Darling and Edge. Vast quantities of Chocolate Eclair sweets were consumed in the mounting period.
This exhibit was a rail of costumes kindly provided by perfomer Scottee, who could be heard talking about how he chucked Dolmio on the outfit to give off that lovely watery sweet tang:
One person got very involved with a tin of cult Italian talcum powder while listening to stories of motherhood from Scottish-Italian playwright Marcella Evaristi.
This guitar case was decked with teenage memorabilia and a certain bodyspray as musician Night Works aka Gabriel Stebbing talked about his memories of Lynx Africa. Oh look, there’s a cheeky can in the corner.
It really was good to see people so involved in the stories and smells. I think these two were hearing The Rare Tea Company’s Henrietta Lovell talk about the historic, hardly-ever-used way to make highly aromatic Jasmine Tea.
And we had not-enough headphones at one point. Never mind, it’s not the Pompeii Exhibition is it.
With big thanks to Hi Fly Nest for inviting team Odette to do this, and to all the interviewees who agreed to let us do stuff with their recordings: Marcella Evaristi, Henrietta Lovell, Amy Lame, Marek Kukula, Scottee and Night Works.
You can listen to all past episodes of Life in Scents on the tumblr.