Tuesday, 10 May 2011

On the topic of Soaps...

There are two mathematical certainties when one works in Manchester city centre:

  1. People you don’t know will approach you and ask you for money
  2. Every magazine will contain glossy photos of people I don’t know and offer to reveal their secrets to me, or show their entire form naked.
For the first point, I started to wonder about the last time a stranger engaged me in conversation without wanting money (there’s no evidence, given the clothes I wear, that I have literally one penny to spare) For the second point I initially feel a paucity of emotion given I don’t personally know these people; this rapidly transforms into mild irritation at the publisher’s presumption… That I might care about the bedroom antics of these people? Preposterous. This irritation then descends into mild despair and finally a beleaguered acceptance that clearly a large enough social demographic do care about the movements and activities of these complete strangers.

It’s a complex series of emotions for one man to experience whenever Hello magazine features the unholy trinity of Jordan, Peter Andre and Subject X (Subject X being the person Peter Andre of Jordan happen to be sleeping with at that exact minute)

That said, despite my dislike of celebrity interviews and gossip, just recently I’ve found people approaching me (or more accurately, the business) for interviews and articles; what makes us tick, our inspirations; people wanting to understand the life and times of the modern soap maker.

Basically, it’s difficult for a soap maker to spin an amusing tale; I’m not Iggy Pop, there’s only so many soap anecdotes people are willing to sit through before ostentatiously checking their watches and conspicuously mentioning “I’m very bored.”

I’m considering lying about the method of preparing oils; if saponfication takes place at the wrong temperature then the castor oil becomes sentient, a malevolent unusually focused kitchen oil that annexes the other ingredients forcibly… When this happens there’s no other choice but to call upon the Guild of Soap makers to sterilise the area. Obviously it’s still not as interesting as Iggy Pop’s average Friday night but that’s the best I can do. Oh and incidentally, there really is a Guild of Soap makers, I can happily say I’m a member.
Castor Oil, Improperly handled.
For the meanwhile, until I’ve ironed out all the little details in my super-intelligent castor oil fable, I suppose I’ll try to keep interviews light with soap trivia (“Did you know that Roman soap makers employed people called fallones to collect people’s urine to serve as key ingredient in soap? The ammonium carbonate reacted with… oh, bye”) and try to avoid trite and stock answers. Maybe I’ll just send Kate instead.

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  1. Oh, re: strangers, I think someone once asked me directions to Oxford Road Train Station. I was happy to help.

  2. The people who ask me for money in cities usually look better off than I do, and I share a mutual dislike of the magazines. Avoidance tactics break down when faced with one in a tedious wait in a waiting room, and a quick flick-through just makes me feel they have incredibly boring lives, more so than the rest of us...