Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Boxeuses by Serge Lutens
When I was 17 I lived in Thailand for a year as an AFS Exchange student. At that time Thiland did not have it current day status as a holiday paradise but was viewed with a bit of suspicion. I stayd in the smallest province, named Samutsongkhram. The only tourists ever to come there were safely enclosed into air conditioned buses, heading for the beaches further south.
It's difficult to describe the culture shock I experienced. Everything was different from home. The lush vegetation. The spicy food. The Buddist mindset. And there were temples all around, serene at day, loud and crazy at night hosting fairs full of song and dancing performances - and also Thai boxing matches.
The first 30 minutes of Boxeuses take me right back to one of those fairs. It opens with a bang, the initial notes are jumping one off another. There are mothballs, camphor and wood. There is an extremely life like smoke note that only lasts for a couple of seconds. There is leather and lots of sweet incense. I think it's the incense that does it, it smells exactly like I remember the incense from those temples. The smoke reminds me of fire from burning dry palm leaves and the wood comes from all those huge tropical trees that grew all around.
When the scent calms down, the incense stays. It's now a sweeter than I remember from Thailand. There are prunes and leather as well.
I'm rating Boxeuses a 4 out of 5. I love the beginning, just as I came to love Thailand and its people. But I'm not yet ready to smell like a prune yet. Sorry!
The picture above is of Parinya Charoenphol. He became a Thai boxing champion in order to pay for a gender change. It's a true story and there has been a movie made about it. See trailer below for more of the atmosphere I'm associating with the Boxeuses scent.