Many of you have certainly seen the film Iris, the Albert Maysles documentary on Iris Apfel. It’s a film that will stay with me for many reasons one of which is the absolutely encouraging fact that this 90-something year old is vibrant, clear in her thoughts and speech and isn’t afraid to state an opinion! Recently, in an interview about the film, Iris said,
There is a terrible yearning for glamour and fantasy, fantasy, fantasy… and some mystery which is all gone out of today’s life. Everything is so cut and dry and grey and same.
Of course, today’s progress has certainly given us a more comfortable life than former generations. My grandparents lived all their adult life in relatively poor conditions… I’m talking material wealth. My grandfather was a common labourer. Three of my grandmother’s sisters and one brother lived in a lower flat that even a couple without children today would find small! My great aunt Marie slept on the couch in the living room for much of her life. The four adults all shared one unheated bathroom! However, when they partied… that little flat couldn’t contain the love and the overwhelming joy of us all being together. I know this may sound something like “Little House on the Prairie”… but it’s true.
Today… we have larger apartments and sleeping on a couch is unheard of unless it’s a pullout and even then, it would only be for a short time. No doubt about it, money doesn’t buy happiness… but it does buy comfort.
In exchange for this comfort, all the fantasy of life is gone… all the mystery. Maybe by wearing some crazy incense perfume or some heady, indolic over-the-top jasmine or simply über-luxurious Chanel No. 5 Parfum we can add a little mystery to our lives… a little luxury to make up for the loss of magic.
Addendum (added June 29th) : Here is the interview from where I pulled the above quote.