Back in what she fancifully, but belligerently calls her boudoir, she unhooks her suspenders.
Throws the pair of blood splattered silks over the back of a San Francisco French chair, unwinds her stays, releases her bodice, allows her legs to escape from clouds of petticoats and then, only then, undoes her holster.
The colt is oily, smoky, sweaty.
All despite the mother of pearl handle she has had put on it.
Under the unlocked door she hears the bar room brawl she has left behind downstairs begin to die.
She killed it with a shot straight through the ceiling and into the sky.
Then she fled the scene: left her spot empty on the stage.
She will sing while they swig whisky, play cards, ogle the girls and spit tobacco. But she will not exercise her lungs while they are throwing punches.
They protested. Howled for their princesses’ return. One pretender grabbed at her. She kicked him.
He spat out a tooth and some ‘Kensington Gore’.
That was her mother’s name for blood. Well, all unwanted bodily effusions.
‘Kensington Gore’. A street name back in London, so she thought, somewhere fancy, by where the Great Exhibition was.
She died on the boat. Her mother. No joke, you know, in steerage.
Next to the gun on her ‘chateau dresser’, another piece of City on the Bay faux Frenchery, is her most precious Gallic frippery, though this one is the real deal.
Perfume straight from Paris.
Squeezing the puffer between her hard working hands she elicits a whole atmosphere’s worth of aroma to surround herself with.
The roses she can remember, just, from a childhood evading coppers in Covent Garden. Her mother amongst the flower girls a woman with something else entirely to sell.
Above it is another odour that she does not know but recognises as expensive.
The salesman says its saffron, he might be lying. She doesn’t honestly care.
When she wears her fine French fragrance she feels as though she’s singing arias in an Opera House.
Truly, she knows its two dime melodies she murders for the drunken cowhands out for a handful of flesh, a skinful of liquor and fight that are her crowd.
If the wind changes she can even smell them above her expensive scent.
They are her tragedy and her making.
Oh, one knows, we are just so over oud.
And oud with rose? Yawn. Patchouli too? The eyes do droop.
Even a generous handful of saffron does little to awaken.
Beaver, musk and amber?
Okay, so there’s a flicker.
But, I’ve news…
Midnight Oud by Juliette Has A Gun is the Ethel Merman of Rose Oud Aromas.
This is an undisputed Broadway belter of a perfume that owes its roots to rougher days when scents had to practically scream to make themselves heard.
Now, to be fair that this is no high-pitched affair.
Quite the contrary, like the Wild-West-saloon-turned-Vaudeville star of latter years of which this is the undoubted olfactory equivalent the tone is low, smoky, if not rich then razor-blade-gargling husky.
At the opening we get the smallest burst of citrus, a good spoonful of saffron and immediately the first rose.
Then within seconds the oud arrives.
To my mind this is a smoked, slightly metallic and very animalic oud. It is improved no end by and adopts many characteristics of the notes around it. Both the aforementioned and a second sweeter Moroccan rose, a dark oily patchouli, definite glandular animalics and salt and pepper supplied by geranium and amber.
At heart this is a rich, voluptuous, décolletage-on-display rose perfume wrapped up in a scaffolding oud and saffron bodice, the bloom bosom always desperate to escape that which holds it in.
I’ve heard it called a rock and roll scent. I’d say it was more music hall.
More ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’, or, to be frank, rather too much of what you thought you didn’t fancy is very good.
Chaotic, aggressive, camp and rather uncontrolled this is a rose off the rails!
Juliette May Well Have A Gun and she would seem to be as equally pleased to see girls and boys with friend in tow.
The Perfumed Dandy.