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What Miss Plumcake Is… | Manolo for the Big Girl

What Miss Plumcake Is…

It’s the final Tuesday of the year, time to see what Miss Plumcake is…

What Miss Plumcake is...

Reading: A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. A re-read for me, since it first came out in 2005. You’d think a novel about a quartet of people trying to commit suicide on New Year’s Eve wouldn’t be very sweet or touching (or funny) but it is, with a good slathering of misanthropic mustard to keep it darkly funny. You can pick it up pretty much for the price of postage at Amazon. Just click the link.

Watching: It Happened One Night
starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, directed by Frank Capra. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t love It’s a Wonderful Life, preferring instead this, the ne plus ultra of all screwball comedies. As a fashion side-note, you’re probably already aware that Clark Gable did irreparable damage to the undershirt industry when he unbuttoned in this film and revealed nothing more than a hairy chest under his dress shirt.
Hearing: Handel’s Messiah. I sing a lot of Handel, rare is the week I don’t have two Handel arias in the works and another one on deck. You’d think I’d get bored of GFH’s greatest hit.  I don’t. Yes, I still prefer it at Easter, but Christmas is no time to be pedantic. The Rutter/Royal Phil is my favorite widely-available recording.


Smelling: Filles en Aiguilles by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens
. I am an old and jaded frag hag. I roll my delicate nostrils at 99% of mall fragrances. I don’t jump at the newest niche release and I’ve almost given up hope on Jean-Claude Ellena ever releasing anything truly brilliant again –he’s the house nose for Hermes now, which means he’s got marketablity to think about– I am, according to Angela’s brilliant list at Now Smell This, a stage four perfumista. Which is why getting a fragrance that really excites me is a rare experience. Filles en Aiguilles (literally “Girls on Needles” though it’s a play on words, since the French slang for stilettos is talons aiguilles) excites me. A lot. A LOT a lot. Aiguilles opens as a pine bomb like I’ve never experienced, with just a bit of camphor,then it develops into something more resiny. It evolves into a high mass on Christmas eve, where the incense and the wreaths and the smell of old polished wood melt together into something transcendent and just slightly wild around the edges. As it dries down you’re left with a bit of warm pine and buttery skin incense. Equally good for men and women, it’s only available in the states at Barney’s.

Loving: Jon Richardson’s BBC 6 podcast. Generally speaking, comedians and humorists are –as a species– little more than seething balls of neediness, sexual deviance and empty takeout containers. It’s true. I mean, I’m not. It’s a well-documented fact that cartoon bluebirds dress me every day and when I smile you can literally hear the silvery ting! of sunbeams and happiness. But the rest of them? Useless, impotent and in need of a bath. Which is why it’s rare for me to bestow my highest honor —the Order of The Good Egg— to comedian Jon Richardson. I admire his work professionally but more importantly, he is responsible for propagating good deeds hither and yon via his Deed-ication feature. Basically he invites his listeners to write in with their good deeds for a chance to have the show dedicated to them, which is brilliant. Co-presenter/sidekick Matt Forde receives entrance into the Order of The Speckled Puppy for being adorable, endearing and definitely not allowed on the couch.

Hating: Bad Chocolate. I don’t know much, but I do know this: life is too short for small jewelry, faked orgasms and bad chocolate. I’ve managed to eradicate the first two, now if ONLY I could get people to stop giving me the third.

Wanting: Laphroaig Whisky. Islay malts aren’t to everyone’s taste, but they’re certainly to mine. Laphroaig, easily the most famous and accessible is It’s a big peaty smoke bomb of deliciousness. In my head, this is what Mister Badger’s sweater smells like. Drink it neat, with a drop of spring water or for an interesting take on a martini, mixed 1:4 with Hendrick’s gin.

Buying: Kiva Gift Certificates. By now everyone knows about Kiva, the microlending project that’s revolutionized charitable giving. I’ve been into microlending for years, ever since I met a group of women from southern Malawi. If you’re new to microlending, check it out.

14 Responses to “What Miss Plumcake Is…”

  1. Veronica December 29, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    I’m with ya on the Messiah at Easter more than at Christmas and I heart your posts! Anyhoo… wanted to let you and your readers know another way to give this season. I’m currently a Peace Corps volunteer serving in Eastern Europe. I found out at training a few weeks back about the Peace Corps Partnership Program. Folks can donate directly to projects in various parts of the world and help a small community out. It’s pretty cool. And I’m not plugging for myself (yet) — I’m still a newbie and haven’t done all the paperwork. Here’s the link: http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors

  2. Lisa December 29, 2009 at 2:36 pm #

    This morning wearing Mahora, which smells very nice on me, reading a book for my class next semester, and fretting because I am so behind.

    BUT I did want to comment on It Happened One Night. I LOVE that move for very strange reasons. It does an excellent job of showing what transportation systems were like prior to the US Interstate system, the gas tax, and widespread paving. The difference between how somebody rich could get between Florida and New York (a plane) and how somebody poor got between these places (on a crowded, noisy, uncomfortable bus vulnerable to ginormous potholes if it rained) helps us understand why people wanted the interstate system and how it completely changed the way people and goods could get around.

  3. LL December 29, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    I gots me a question, Miss Plumcake. Can you help?

    What’s the best way to find a perfume that works on me? I am intimidated by the perfume counters, don’t have tons of money to blow on experiments and apparently have the strangest body chemistry in the world. Something that smells just lovely in the air will smell like, well, monkey butt on me.

    Also – I’m quitting smoking, so should I wait until I’m completely quit before I start looking for a scent?

  4. Margo December 29, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    I have been going through a great month for books – Irvin Yalom, Tarjei Vesaas, Shirley Jackson, and some of the ever-lovely Alice Munro.

  5. All Women Stalker December 29, 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    I heard that Hornby’s works are pretty good. I’m gonna try to get a copy of his stuff. Wanna read him one of these days.

  6. Plumcake December 30, 2009 at 1:18 am #

    LL, definitely quit smoking before you start looking. You can’t really smell right now. Also, save up about $50 to blow on samples. That can get you a long way in the world of samples. Also, avoid the mall. Who wants to smell like other people?

  7. lucylang December 30, 2009 at 2:20 am #

    I completely agree re: bad chocolate. 30% is ruined for me now that I’ve tasted 68%+.

  8. LL December 30, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    Unfortunately, I can smell right now and everything smells like ashtray. I’ve never used this much Febreeze before. Lordy.

    Thank you! Now I have a reward for my first smoke-free month!

  9. MJ December 30, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    I’m too excited by seeing your reference to Laphroaig to read the rest of your post!

    I shall make a point to return later when I have had a calming dram.

  10. raincoaster December 31, 2009 at 7:39 am #

    Every Scotch that starts with L is perfect. It’s a FACT.

  11. Jennifer December 31, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    mmm Laphroaig! I drink it with a splash, and it is (as raincoaster says) perfect.

  12. Chelsea January 4, 2010 at 1:27 am #

    I adore ‘It Happened One Night’. I watched it as part of a 30’s film class at my university…best class ever.

  13. LL February 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    Follow up that no one will read, but the only other option is to walk around the office, demanding that people smell me and I’ve already been spoken to about Things Like That.

    I ordered a few decants from The Perfumed Court (oh, they are going to be getting SO MUCH MONEY from me.) The first one I’m trying out is Cumming – The Fragrance and I love it! I don’t care for the initial smell, it’s a bit…powdery? (I do not speak perfume, but I’m learning) for me. But after a bit, it kind of smells like I spent my lunch hour rolling around with a man who smokes expensive cigars and wears a tad too much cologne. But, y’know….in a good way.

    That part fades into a morning after version of the same smell – like I couldn’t handle NOT smelling like him the next day, so I maybe just didn’t shower. Again, in a GOOD WAY.

    Point is, I’m enjoying it. And I may or may not be compulsively sniffing my wrists all day. Allegedly.