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Deodorant, Music Festival, City Romanticism
By Arman Amin
arman@tehranavenue.com
March 2010
به فارسی بخوانيم
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Deodorant

I hadn't paid serious attention to odors until recently. During the month of Ramadan, the month of fasting when public food consumption is considered a misdemeanor, I was with a bunch of friends and we were looking for a place that could offer us some food. Ultimately, we found one that gave us cold sandwiches. The owner said that he was allowed to give out food that was uncooked. The culprit here was obviously the odor.

The same logic (not making a stink) could be seen everywhere. When a young person smokes, he immediately thinks of chewing gum or spraying some cologne before going back home to his parents. When someone drinks, he or she does the same. Some say that kissing was also meant to find out the odor of the other person's mouth!

Shops in Iran burn rue (as incense) early in the morning. It is probably to cover other smells! How about the new odorless bug sprays! In Tehran, though, the effectiveness of an insecticide is measured by the smell that it gives off (or covers).

The more I think about it, the more I see that deodorants can be seen everywhere. In this country, one can do anything, provided that it doesn't stink.

The Tehran Music Venue

The grief of not having a venue for music free of constraints and in public space will be with us for years to come. Many even before us failed to see such venues and they are gone. This feeling of lack has become even more acute since we get to watch concert in different parts of the world through various means like DVDs and websites.

It could be, though, that Thursday nights in Tehran are changing this a little. If you walk the stretch from QODS Square to BAGH-FERDOWS Neighborhood (a mile or so), you may catch a unique scene. You will see people on the sidewalks with all kinds of different instruments. From traditional to Western, young and old are playing music. I have seen kamancheh, setar, harmonica, guitar, and clarinet. All this, however, is to squeeze some money out from passers by, who spend on average fifteen seconds in front of them, and to listen to their music as they go by. Needless to say that this occupation is far more better than washing window of cars or dropping fortune cookies in people's pockets. With the cloud of "Geographic Determinism" that hangs heavy over us, even these can be considered advancement in music. When {Mohsen Namjoo} goes on stage as part of sideshow to the Venice Film Festival this year, {Abdi Behravanfar} can have no better place than on the sidewalks of Tajrish to present his works.

The Pill of Success

The city walls these days are drawing my attention. They are seldom without marks. Advertisements usually cover these walls. This time though, posters are not for electoral candidates or for educational institutions. They bear the word "success" and they are conspicuous from a distance of a few dozen meters. They advertise various seminars and gatherings. I am curious to know how popular these seminars are. Of course, we can estimate their success by the increasing number of posters, which is an unfortunate event, because it shows people feel that they are not successful in life; otherwise, why would people want to listen to "experts"? It could be that our people see success as that far-away peak that they can only reach if there is a paved road leading to the top.

Urban Romanticism

Love is dead in Tehran. It is dead because the harmonica-playing boy is not allowed to board city buses, because the dominant colors, whether on people, in architecture and in cars are black and gray. Love is dead in Tehran because traffic gets worst by the day, subway cars are less on time, vendors on the streets can be seen more often, and because cats no longer have the desire to pursue the underground mice of VALIASR Street. Love is dead in Tehran because outside every girl's high school we now have speed bumps.



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