“Listen – can you smell something?”

Smells exert a powerful hold over our imaginations, probably because it’s one of our least-utilised senses. A sudden whiff of some long-forgotten odour can bring back memories with a speed and intensity that no other sensation can match.
Some are predictable and common to all – summer smells of fresh-mown lawns, everyone likes the smell of freshly-baked bread, etc. It’s common knowledge that estate agents recommend you make a fresh pot of coffee before someone comes around to view your property, so as to make the potential buyer feel warm and fuzzy and at home.

Some more personal examples:

– Christmas when I was a child (the 1970s) smelt of brandy and cologne/perfume.
– Summer smells of creosote.
– My father smells of engine oil (I think of him every time I go to fill my tank) and Swarfega (he used to work as a mechanic).
Certain movies of the period smell of bubble gum, as I used to collect sets of cards which always came with a free stick of bubble gum.

Also, does anyone else experience olfactory hallucinations? Occasionally I’ll get a really strong whiff of a distinctive smell that I know can’t really be there. Fortunately these aren’t the kind of unpleasant smells associated with Phantosmia; I’ll just be walking along the street and suddenly say “Hey – can anyone else smell bacon”? Invariably no-one else can.

A special prize goes to whoever can identify from which film this post’s title is quoted.


One thought on ““Listen – can you smell something?”

  1. simonlitton October 16, 2007 / 12:22 pm

    Comments from:

    Posted on Nov. 17th, 2006 12:04 pm (local)
    I do have olfactory hallucinations and they are always about bacon. I’m not kidding.
    “I don’t have to take abuse from you; I’ve got hundreds of people dying to abuse me.”

    Posted on Nov. 20th, 2006 03:19 pm (local)
    *Always* bacon? Thanks once again for making me feel less weird than I would otherwise. That’s the beauty of the Internet, I guess – “look, I’m not the only freak!”


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