The monarchy, perfume and Tiger

With the 2011 Royal Tour to Canada by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, there’s been alot of  talk about breaking ties with the monarchy.  The monarchy is useless and costs too much money, they say.  (In fact, the monarchy costs each Canadian about $1.50 per year.)

So when has life become so down-to-earth… so utilitarian?  There is nothing magical anymore… nothing mystical.  Nothing aspirational!  All the fun has gone!

I’m for anything that takes us out of our dreary, daily lives… anything that brings some kind of magic.  For instance, when Prince William visited a center for troubled youth in Québec City he cast a magic spell.  He said to these street kids that nobody cares about… 

“Never let anyone belittle you… if it happens, tell yourself that there is a Prince who admires you!” (translated from the French… «Ne laissez jamais des gens vous rabaisser. Et si ça arrive, dites-vous qu’il y a un prince qui vous admire!»).

I got shivers when I read it.

It’s the same with certain passages from the Bible.  I still get goosebumps when I hear Luke 2:10-11 (King James version)…

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

Today it’s all about virtual friends on facebook and smartphones… technology, technology, TECHNOLOGY!  Anything that can’t be reduced to bits and bytes is yesterday’s mashed potatoes!

That’s what I love about really good perfume.  It transports you.  On the surface, perfume looks useless but… I wouldn’t want to live without it.

When my contract ended at the university I went around saying goodbye to colleagues.  Several asked me if I wanted the perfume samples I had given them over the years.  Jim opened his drawer… a little sample of Chanel No. 5 eau de parfum was lodged among his pens.  “Do you want this one back?”  I said, “I don’t know.  Do you want to keep it?”  Jim answered, “I like to smell it when I get depressed.”  I responded, “Then, keep it.”  Perfume… not so useless afterall.

And then there’s Tiger, my stray kitten, that I plucked out of the bushes last summer.  Tiger is useless… but I wouldn’t want to live without her.

Some songs are magical for me.  Here is a rendition that I discovered recently of a Judy Garland classic sung by a great Canadian singer/songwriter, Ian Tyson, along with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.  Beauty!


Leave a comment


  1. Richard Townson

     /  July 11, 2011

    Sometimes you just have to turn the world on its side to see the whole story.

    Touching post.


  2. isabelle

     /  July 11, 2011

    Dear Norm,
    Thank you for this feel good post. It starts the week with an easy and human touch. Really.

  3. FiveoaksBouquet

     /  July 12, 2011

    Hi, Normand,
    Lots to think about in your post. Perfume is often considered frivolous and unnecessary but that’s the olfactory equivalent of saying anything beautiful to your sense of sight is unnecessary. To me the magic of beautiful smells is not only a necessity of life but I would credit perfume with saving my life on a couple of occasions when things were dark but my unfailing interest in and love of perfume was about the only thing that kept me from losing all interest in living. So I would say magic (whatever is your magic) is a necessity, the Royals are a modern-day fairy-tale diversion and cats: priceless!

  4. Hey Normand,

    What a very beautifully expressed essay. Without the things that bring magic to my world, I wouldn’t stay tethered to this place.

    I love that you selected Ian Tyson’s rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow for this post. My father raised me on Ian and Sylvia music (as well another of your famous singer-songwriters, Gordon Lightfoot), and today I own a number of the old Ian-and-Sylvia albums on CD. (My favorite Ian Tyson song is “Someday Soon,” by the way.) Of course, that kind of music is out of style now, but still quite magical to me. 🙂

    • And Four Strong Winds… when they play it on the radio (rarely), I still stop what I’m doing to listen to the words.

      Thanks for the comment!


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