When our commemoration of the centenary of the Great War of 1914-1918 is over what will we judge to have been the most crass commercial exploitation of the centenary?
There's lots of time left for lots more products to emerge but for now we have a new front runner. It is the 'Rose of No Man's Land' perfume, a creation by painfully cool Swedish fragrancemongers Byredo.
Our first whiff of this grotesquerie comes from the aghast folk of Canberra-based Honest History http://honesthistory.net.au/. Honest History is that indispensable band of thinkers (lots of the thinkers are historians) trying to keep our feet on the ground during these sometimes delirious jingo-jangling times of extreme sentimental Anzackery.
Honest History reports "From machine-gun pits to intimate bits: Rose of No Man's Land perfume. It comes from Sweden and it is coming to a body near you."
Yes, Byredo is trilling that its new perfume is "a fragrant tribute to the nurses (often referred to by soldiers as 'roses of no-man's land,) who saved thousands of lives on the front lines".
Honest History contributor, distinguished military historian Carolyn Holbrook, is unconvinced and asks "I wonder what it smells of – rotting human bodies (the most potent scent in no man's land), open latrines, cordite?"
But no, it emerges that the perfume doesn't smell of any of the nasty things Holbrook imagines (nor does it smell of poisoned gas, another battlefield aroma). Instead, Byredo testifies, there is "pink peppercorn providing the delicate flower with the momentum needed to break through the earth". Then the "Turkish rose petals open optimistically one by one, and the perfect rose heart combines with a radiant chord of raspberry. Finally, a base of papyrus wood and white amber gives the rose an eternal and sophisticated aura; a bud of immense purity."
You'd think that Byredo might at least have tried to make a poster girl for the fragrance look just a little like a Red Cross nurse of the Great War. Instead she's a very 2015 Nordic temptress. Compare her with the winsome Rose (our other picture) of the 1916 sheet music for the song of the name that that Byredo has now snaffled.
Wallpaper the online lifestyle zine has rapturously reviewed the fragrance.
"We've long been fans of Byredo, the painfully cool Swedish fragrance brand ... It's a timely perfume, but – as you might expect of Byredo – it's also completely of our time: a rose fragrance, but a clean, modern, pared-down rose rather than a blowsy old-fashioned one."
The reviewer notes that Byredo is calling the new fragrance "a unisex scent" but fancies "it's probably too floral to appeal to most men ... although for anyone who likes a fresh floral fragrance it would be an appealing daytime choice".
Though in touch with my feminine side this columnist is unlikely to use the culturally and historically misconceived fragrance. One senses, too, that Carolyn Holbrook will be boycotting it, believing as she does, seething for Honest History, that Byredo's is "the latest and arguably most distasteful example of the exploitation of human tragedy for profit".
Honest History reminds that "The name of this 'trench pong' is, of course, taken from a famous Great War song, The Rose of No Man's Land, which will probably bring a tear to your eye. We express no opinion on what the scent of the same name will do for its users. We hope it gives them warts."
Reeling away, in horror, from capitalism's atrocities (of which Byredo's latest venture is a ghastly example) we seek solace, as poets always have, in Nature.
Last Thursday's column showed a picture of a Satin Bower Bird's bower in a Hawker front garden, decorated by the male with bright blue blingy objects. Males build and decorate these bowers, attempting to impress females.
Now ex-Canberran Sue Wallensky sends us from Canberra-on-Sea (Broulee) a picture from her garden of a judgmental female bower bird making up its mind about a male's creation and collection.
And while we are discussing the feats of our native fowls a Crace reader Philip White reports, with photographic evidence (alas we have no space for it), "These clever magpies in Crace built a nest last year using one coathanger."
"It obviously worked well because it added another nine coathangers this year! There are two healthy chicks in the nest."