Perfection, except that it was in Manchester

FOOD IS a bore. Doesn't work, either. You get hungry, you eat it, but it doesn't last. After a while you get hungry and you eat more food. On it goes. And the fuss. Did you see the television programme about that horrible chef, the common one who goes red in the face and says "fuck" a lot? Who would want to eat food cooked by a man like that? Arms dealers, that's who; corporate hatchet-men, entrepreneurs, expenses experts: porky gits with bought-and-paid-for, nip-and-tuck girlfriends. You see them in fancy restaurants all over London, waving their credit cards at each other. The company that invents a credit card which can swell up and ejaculate is going to make a fortune.

And look at them: he, shiny-faced in his flash mohair suiting; she, an over-scented hardbody with rubber breasts. A threat of violence masquerading as sexual charge between them; his hand on her arm, hurting her subtly. Eat it, girly. And then the Mercedes, the underground garage, the interior- designed apartment, the vicious bed. In the morning she will take her wages in whatever form they are paid, then get on the phone to her girlfriends: God he's awful: ugly, vulgar, impotent, but rich. Darling, the dinner!

Food. The backing-track to all those acts of cruelty, betrayal, deception. Precursor to a billion little adventures: the personal ad in Private Eye, the hook baited and swallowed, the line drawn tight: Dentist, assertive, traditional, unattached, seeks fluffy, pref. desperate woman. The tremulous drive to the assignation, flushed with anticipation. The dinner: the food, the glances, the carefully controlled conversation. Then the hotel room - "You don't have to go just yet, do you?" - the mind changed but the body committed, please God let him be the one I want him to be. But no. Like the food: satiety followed by emptiness.

But every now and then you hear of something lovely. A man called Philippe Cauviere rang me up from the Crown Plaza in Manchester. He was arranging the first ever Perfume Luncheon. A dining room full of women; a specially designed menu; accompanying each course, a perfume, with exegesis by my hero, Roja Dove from Guerlain. Can you imagine anything better?

Yes. It could have been in France, not Manchester. But, apart from that, perfection: food, women, perfume. In the old days I'd have gone along on the pull, hoping to sit next to some huge-eyed beauty, a little sad, married to some thug or ratbag from a merchant bank, probably called Gerald, who buys the little woman whatever she wants (providing it's what he wants her to want) but hasn't a clue what is going on in her mind. I'd have talked to her about perfume. This is Jacques Guerlain's masterpiece but how terrible that he should have died without ever smelling it on you. Then the coffee and Armagnac and You don't have to go just yet, do you? And off we go again.

Times change, though, and I can't be doing with that sort of nonsense any more. The mixture of perfume and food is a sensual banquet enough, and if I were a rich man I'd adopt the idea as my own. Never mind Fine Wines; never mind megalomaniacal sweatbucket chefs; what we'd have is the Banquet of Heliogabalus without the suffocation scene at the end. To start with, a simple soupe de poisson, heavy with saffron, accompanied by rose absolue, with just a touch of bergamot to elevate the olfactory palette. Then a refreshing lavender sorbet, with an astringent offering of petitgrain, cedar and myrrh. Those choosing the meat dish - venison, I'd suggest, with caramelised shallots and a flambe reduction with Calvados - would be further seduced by (what else?) the animal sensuality of Shalimar; those preferring the alternative (alligator allumettes stir-fried with pear nectar and lemon balm and served on warm baby spinach leaves) would be further aroused by a special accord of lime, grapefruit, white lilac and a touch of vetiver. A dark, bittersweet pot au chocolat with coumarin and ambergris; a perfect Brie with civet and absolute of Grasse jasmin; then, finally, monsoon Malabar coffee to alert the senses, and grains of purest musk to turn them in the direction of venery.

This is clearly the way forward. Sensual indulgence on such a scale would immediately render unthinkable any mercenary couplings with import/export men and other people's wives. The passions would be aroused, but pure and affectionate, and if an explosion of orgiastic indulgence were to follow, it would follow at home, in the legitimate profundity of the uxorious bed. Marriages would be saved, love rekindled, the arms dealers and dogshit corporateers sent empty away, and, best of all, there would be no place for vulgar, shouty, self-obsessed cooks of an irredeemably below-stairs cast of mind.

News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy