Friday 15 March 2013

Story number 9: Time to Draw The Raffle Numbers

This is one I worked on for quite a while, and made several completely different versions, before I decided to focus on one moment, not the entire Tour de France.

When Sir Bradley Wiggins got up on the podium at the end of the Champs Elysées, with Chris Froome and that bloke who came third, a load of dignitaries, the sprinter Maurice Green and two skinny birds in yellow frocks carrying daffodils and stuffed toys, he addressed the gathered millions, and suggested that it looked like time the draw the raffle numbers. 

He did it for the British cycling fans who’d travelled to Paris specially to see him there, the winner of the Tour de France, in his yellow jersey. He wanted to say something that would be meaningless to the rest of the world, because only the British know that when it’s all over, just before we all go home, that’s when we do the raffle. It was outrageous, original and funny. And I wanted to put it in a perfume.

This is a perfume of parts. I wanted the scent of a crowd on a hot day; coffee, tobacco, hot tarmac and linden trees of the Champs Elysées; oiled bicycles; marmalade on toast. I’m not sure if Sir Wiggo had marmalade on toast for breakfast but I’d like to think it was his petit dejeuner of choice the day after.

I’d considered other parts of the Tour, but decided against mountains, sunflowers, the rest of France. I wanted the smell of the moment that Bradley Wiggins led the peloton into the Champs Elysées ready to catapult Cav into a position where he could cross the line first. Again. Where other Tour winners are generally taking the applause at a leisurely pace, Bradley was belting around the cobbled corners, part of the team, because it wasn’t over until it was really over. Then when it was over it was time for the raffle.

The materials

For the Champs Elysées: coffee, tobacco, aniseed, linden. Vetivert for the scent of hot tar and helional to symbolise sunshine, just because it’s named after the sun god. For the bikes I used damascone alpha because I think it smells of clean shiny metal; bitter orange and a CO2 extract off brown bread – not kidding - for marmalade on toast.

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