February 16, 2011
Pop star Katy Perry told Rolling Stone magazine that her upcoming world tour will serve up a sweet treat for fans’ eyes, ears and noses. Yep, to add even more pizzazz to her already-splashy stage spectacle, Perry’s concerts will smell—that’s right, smell—like cotton candy. How? Via a resurrected-from-the-1960s technology called Smell-O-Vision that shoots scents into the air. Duh.
(Yes, you’re reading a NewHope360 blog. No, you weren’t slyly redirected to some teenybop website or online fanzine.)
It’s just that whenever I hear of scents being pumped into public spaces, the first words that come to mind are gag, choke, wheeze, and toxic. At some point we’ve all been trapped in an elevator with a cologned-up cad or felt our nostrils prickle as we passed a department-store perfume counter, so fragrance-caused irritation is hardly a secret. And now we’re finding out more about the possible respiratory and even neurological and hormonal damage that synthetic scents can trigger.
Thankfully, it seems like more of the collective populace has moved past bathing in Malibu Musk and cK1, and personal and home care products containing natural, nontoxic scents now abound. But pumping mass quantities of fragrance into an arena full of twitterpated tweens? Sounds to me like a public health hazard of the worst kind. What immediately comes to mind is the San Francisco-based teen activist group Teens Turning Green staging a protest outside a NorCal Abercrombie & Fitch store last fall to demand that the retailer stop blasting toxic synthetic scents through the vents and exposing employees to noxious fumes as they peddled sweaters.
Now, I can’t say with any certainty that Perry's impending cotton candy dandy will include toxic or health-harming chemicals—I’m only guessing. And while I’d love to uncover the truth, I sadly have no ins with Kamp Katy, and trying to dredge up more info on Smell-O-Vision has sent me tumbling down an answerless (and totally random) rabbit hole I’d have been smarter to avoid.
Alas, since Katy Perry isn’t so much my scene, I may never uncover the truth. But at least my nose will be spared. Not that a much-more-my-style Allman Bros. show necessarily smells peachy, either, between the hippie funk and wafting “skunk”—but at least I can dance away from those scents.
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