Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Warhol's idea to make media books pages profitable

The Guardian's splendidly dyspeptic media commentator Peter Wilby yesterday bemoaned the recent culling of books editors and feared a trend - apparently the Telegraph and Time Out are among the print media to have made an excuse of the global economic downturn and retired the nation's literary desk tenants. In the next breath Peter indicated that all or a few of those dumped had been replaced so I was left uncertain as to his point. But one came to me anyway.

Last night, as I sat upon my often bleached lav, I was leafing through Bob Colacello's riveting Holy Terror - his bio on his editorship of Andy Warhol's Interview. Andy was surprisingly astute about making money as we know, and he thought nothing of turning his magazine into one long ad - rather like Vogue is and most other glossies. He didn't see much point in interviews with writers, what was their commercial use? Writers didn't draw ads.

Then Warhol had a brain wave. Get every writer subject to mention which scent they wore - this would appeal to the perfume houses. I don't know if Bob bought the idea but I think it's an excellent one. Perhaps Roger Alton of the Indy and other editors might like to think about it - I have often wondered whether VS Naipaul wears a cologne and would love to know whether Doris Lessing likes a squirt of Caron's Poivre - a lively blend of red and black pepper, cloves and other spices. The bottle comes in a limited-edition Baccarat crystal.

Incidentally, Peter quotes novelist Susan Hill's disparagement of book critics and calls her a blogger. I think she is no longer. Susan disappeared from the blogosphere in the summer, probably because she thinks blogging's a waste of time. Susan is an Aquarian and I have learnt from experience that people born under the water bearer are given to capricious mind storms. They can go this way and that.


Robin Hunt said...

From Saturday's Fashion Wire daily:

As Ghislaine and his partner Magali Sénéquier showed off their “library” of scents, a carefully developed series of perfumes, he noted that his concept is to impart each one with a narrative. For instance, “Personnages Principaux,” or main characters, are Ghislain’s odes to the male and female historical figures he admires or who fascinate him – George Sand for the scent “1804,” a spicy, amber-based perfume; a fresh citrus for the Colette-inspired “1873,” which alludes to the author who was “fresh in everything she did,” said Ghislaine. For men, there are scents like the oceanic “1828,” inspired by the work of Jules Verne, and the seductive “1725,” after Casanova, combining woody scents with citrus and lavender.

“I don’t have time to write, so I write books with fragrance,” said Ghislaine. “Fragrance is my ink.”

Madame Arcati said...

Thank you Robin, most appropriate indeed. I do like your website, http://aroundrobin.blogspot.com/: elegance itself. Of course, I can't imagine that a vulgarian like Roger Alton will actually reinvent his literary pages with a commercial cosmetic imperative: yet I'd rather read about the sweet air behind an earlobe than an author's latest semi-psychotic confessions dressed up with dialogue.