Oh Smell. In a gang of Skinheads she’s New Romantic, amongst aggressive behaviour she seems half asleep and out of all the gang she asks a 12 year old boy if he wants to suck her tits.
Played by actress Rosamund Hanson Smell should be, like the rest of the gang, yet another type of underdog. This is why we like the cast; every underdog has its episode. But Smell refuses the underdog role. That’s why she’s my favourite. Also I have a penchant for too much make up.
Where the beautiful and traumatised Lol wallows in self-sabotage, Smell neatly expresses exactly what she wants. Lol, whose face is peculiarly reminiscent of Jesus of Nazareth and therefore lends itself to the odd martyred expression often has her dialogue silenced. We don’t need to hear her talk because she’s not communicating, she rarely says what she wants to say, so we might as well listen to some bitching 80’s classic.
Smell is never silenced. Her directness is often mistaken for stupidity but where would anybody be if it weren’t for the marvellously direct. In one feigned misunderstanding Smell can dismiss a pubful of skinheads.
Just to be clear, I’m clear that Smell is a fictional character. But let’s continue regardless.
Smell is a character who has accepted she’s different, so what. She doesn’t need the gang like they need each other. Unusually this doesn’t make her a loner, the separation is demonstrated in her insight.
In response to Sean’s (spoiler) reaction to his mum’s relationship with his boss Smell calms him down, dresses him in her 71 year old dad’s clothes, then bluntly tells him to grow up and recognise his mother has Needs. "It's tough you've got that graphic image in your head now, but wipe it out of your mind".
Whilst Sean knows he’s lucky Smell chose him, he only understands this in the realms of how unusual it is for desire to be reciprocated. It takes (uh, spoiler) an encounter with the ordinary Faye for Sean to realise he’s lucky Smell chose him at all.
It’s not because Smell could have anyone, it’s because she’s not anyone.
Smell makes her own crazy dresses, backcombs, shaves and dyes her hair in a multitude of unflattering styles, says killer lines and exits This Is England ’88 with impressive dignity.
Smell, I think you’re lovely.