CRAIG BROWN: Nothing can beat Chateau Le Silage Pit! 


Last Thursday in my column, I celebrated an exciting new range of candles called Scents of Normality, designed to evoke the smell of places and events that have been cancelled by lockdown. 

These candles may sound like a joke, but I am happy to say they are real. The Festival candle is described like this: ‘A floral haze of cut grass, burned skin, and sun-warmed cider, with just the merest shimmer of distant Portaloo. 

‘Top notes of burger van and singed candyfloss bloom above an earthy bed of unwashed hair and dew-damp sleeping bag. A resonant bouquet, tied with a ribbon of sweet cannabis smoke.’ 

Anyone who has ever been to a rock festival will recognise these aromas, and may well be spurred to purchase a Festival Candle. Of course, smells, though evocative, are not everything. 

Last Thursday in my column, I celebrated an exciting new range of candles called Scents of Normality, designed to evoke the smell of places and events that have been cancelled by lockdown

However, those requiring the complete Festival Experience can recreate it by sitting in a corner of a muddy field and watching a television in the distance through a pair of binoculars turned the wrong way round. 

The manufacturers of these candles have broken new ground by bringing authenticity to a market steeped in the phoney. On Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP website, overpriced scented candles are described in absurdly overblown terms. 

We are asked to believe, for instance, that her ‘Orchard’ candle (£66) — has ‘a scent of sun-warmed apricot, fresh hay and dry earth… 

Sandalwood and orris root deepen the fragrance and give an addictive, sexy aspect. Grounded in earth and infused with the almost-pregnant atmosphere of impending harvest, Orchard possesses a pure, utterly original sensuality.’ 

Paltrow attempts to force upon her customers all sorts of off-putting smells. At £70 a pop, her Revitalising Body Serum, for instance, is, she enthuses, ‘a miracle blend of oils — including sea buckthorn, prickly pear and baobab’. 

On Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP website, overpriced scented candles are described in absurdly overblown terms

 On Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP website, overpriced scented candles are described in absurdly overblown terms

For many years, the great satirist Auberon Waugh wrote a wine column, in which he eschewed the fancy-pants prose taken by such sensitive souls as Gwyneth Paltrow. Pictured: Stock image

For many years, the great satirist Auberon Waugh wrote a wine column, in which he eschewed the fancy-pants prose taken by such sensitive souls as Gwyneth Paltrow. Pictured: Stock image

But if we accidentally spilled any of these on our skin, most of us would reach for the nearest J-cloth. Elsewhere on her website, Paltrow offers her advice on ‘Everything You Need to Nail a Beach Picnic’. 

Most of us would be happy to settle for a few cheese sandwiches, a bottle of wine and a packet of smoky bacon crisps, but Gwyneth clearly expects more from a picnic. ‘Just round up the essentials,’ she advises. 

She then goes on to list 18 items, all available through mail order from her website. 

These picnic essentials include hand sanitiser, balm, Sweet Potato Chips with White Bean and Basil Dip, sunscreen, a set of four stainless steel straws, a black string triangle bikini top, ‘sneakily sexy and utterly classic’ (£160), plus black bikini briefs (£140), a long skirt, described as ‘a quick and easy cover-up for when you’re en route to the beach/pool/lake’ (£148), sandals (£234), a Zoodle Salad with Grilled Corn and Cherry Tomatoes, a pink beach blanket which ‘doubles as a cozy throw’ (£120), a beach bag with a ‘chic’ looped strap (£346), plus a set of ‘Inner Compass Cards’ which come with the instructions: ‘Pull one or a few of these pretty cards, and see what symbols and themes — vulnerability, practice, letting go — you connect with’ (£42). And, last but not least, the most essential of all picnic items — a Marlo Laz Lucky Charm Bracelet, ‘inspired by ancient Greek and Roman coins’ to help you ‘get lucky on the sand’, which can be yours for around £3,300. It all makes me yearn for the more robust British approach.

For many years, the great satirist Auberon Waugh wrote a wine column, in which he eschewed the fancy-pants prose taken by such sensitive souls as Gwyneth Paltrow. 

Of one French wine, he noted that: ‘People say it reminds them of violets and wild strawberries, but I feel they must be mad.’ Waugh preferred the no-nonsense approach. 

He described one wine he had sampled as tasting like ‘blue ink and curry powder’, another as ‘Ribena-flavoured beetroot soup’, and another as reminiscent of ‘a collapsed marquee fallen into a rotting silage pit’. 

For him, strong cocktails were mandatory for the early evening in order ‘to anaesthetise the brain, drive out the worries and preoccupations of the day and prepare men and women for each other’s company’. 

But of course, as Waugh observed, most British prefer beer, because ‘the beer belly is sexually irresistible to many women in the north of England’. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk