This week, I ‘ave been mostly listening to…Wilfred Giroux. His ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’ was the soundtrack to my time in Brussels, and the recently released ‘Stronger’ may be making a late claim for the musical backing to my sleep-deprived internship here with Monocle.
I’m not very well versed in the complexities of the human brain, and I’m pretty sure that even the nuggets of information that I do have about it are way outta whack – some science dudes just refuted the claim some people are right-brained creatives, and others are dominated by the other half and realise that only by spending your time on STEM subjects can you actually have a successful career – but I do know this: smells, songs and tastes can transport me back to a period in my life faster than any string of words can.
Certain perfumes drag me back to being a shy 16 year old, desperately reaching out for attention from the opposite sex (CKin2U); certain songs thrust me slap-bang in the middle of my heady period as an online gamer (pretty much the entirety of Gorillaz’s ‘Demon Days’); and certain tastes place me in the curiously triumphant mindset of an exam student (I decided to drink Banana Yazoo milkshake after receiving my school exam results, and did so for GCSE, AS-level, and A level).
I tried in vain to make an album stick during my dissertation, but the only trigger I managed to store was the pungent, nostril-stinging smell of ripe urine in the passageway between Holborn tube station and Red Lion Sq – just next to that bookshop that allows you to take a book for free – that would replenish itself without fail to accompany my late night returns from the Library. It was a particularly potent aroma, and I’m certain that if I were to come across the smell again, I would instantly be transported back to the difficulties of obtaining reliable data on the number of civilians’ lives decimated by drones during Obama’s premiership.
So yeah, I dunno how storing a mental trigger works. Maybe it’s all about repeating the same situation multiple times. So, you know, library > dissertation > walk > piss-sniff > home. Ad infinitum. But the chances are that Mr. Giroux will earworm himself into my memories for this week, and when I hear the refrain ‘I thought that I was stronger’, I’ll instantly conjure up memories of jogging on the spot at a bus stop outside Tulse Hill station, waiting for the N2 at 3:28am, or squinting my eyes whilst the black plastic office phone rested against my temple and just praying that the guest I’d booked to give a live check in our show at 12:10 would fucking answer his phone and stop messing with our schedule.