If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked musician Alison Mosshart — who this month releases her new book, Car Ma, and spoken-word album, Sound Wheel — about the candle, notebook, and film she can’t live without.
I’ve been into photography since I took my first photo course, in sixth grade, about learning to print and develop in a darkroom. I love this film because you can shoot in low light. Say you’re at a bar or one of those other places we all used to go — this film works great there. It has such a beautiful tone and texture. It’s actually the very same stock that would be used in a 35-mm. film camera, and the images it produces remind me of how films used to look. In my opinion, it’s the best camera film you can get right now. Because it’s a little expensive, I try to reserve it for special occasions.
The smell of L.A.’s Chateau Marmont hotel drives me wild. This is the exact scent that hits you as you walk into the hotel, and it’s in all the rooms too. I love going there because, when I leave, my clothes all smell like it, and I tell myself I’ll never wash them again. I don’t check out unless I’ve bought one of the candles to take with me. Living in Nashville and now unable to get to L.A., I’m burning them all the time. They make me feel better.
If you go to any studio, these headphones are what you’ll use when you record. They’re awesome, honest, completely standard headphones, and I’ve used a million pairs. They have curly cables, so they can stretch when I walk around or when I’m playing guitar. I always have a pair in my suitcase and two pairs in my studio. I know you can spend a lot of money on headphones, but I don’t want to break them or leave them on a plane. These do the job.
These are my treat to myself. I lived in London for 16 years, which is how I came across Smythson. At this point, I probably have a hundred of the notebooks in all different colors. They look so good together. I can get my initials stamped on them, and they just get better and better as the year goes on, like a good leather jacket. The more you use one, the cooler it looks. Because I write down everything, from songs to personal notes, losing my notebook would be worse than losing my phone.
A friend bought one of these really cool, extra-big trucker hats for me because I was always wearing ball caps. I put it on and did not take it off for a year and a half. It got dirty, but I couldn’t leave my house without it. When I went to buy more, the site just said “coming soon,” but I didn’t have time to wait! I got in touch with them, and they sent me a big box, which was like Christmas. Now I have them in every color, so nobody can yell at me for wearing the same hat anymore. I’m always wearing one, even right now. We’re all trying not to touch our faces, and this hat means my hair isn’t tickling the shit out of my face all the time. It could be saving my life, come to think of it.
I also haven’t taken these boots off in what seems like a million years. They look kind of like Dr. Martens, but the zipper is on the back, which looks really jamming. They’re the best boots, hands down. There’s hardly any break-in time — I’d say just one wear, that’s it. And they’re so comfortable. My girlfriends and Jamie, my bandmate, all have them. They’re quite expensive, but I promise they will last your whole life. And like the Smythson notebooks, they get better looking with time.
I found these in Japan at Tokyu Hands. They’re like an oil-paint marker, but they dry in five minutes, when normally oil markers can take days and days. I used to fly back to the States with sacks full of them, and I know other artists did too. But then, to much joy, I learned they’re the same markers that car dealerships use to write on windshields. All the auto-parts places sell them! I use them every day and take them with me everywhere. You will not see a painting of mine that doesn’t have these somewhere in it. They’re really bright, like oil paint, which is so vivid compared to acrylic.
A makeup guy once used this on my face. I looked in the mirror and was like, “What is this, baby juice?” It’s the best moisturizer I’ve ever found. All the ladies I know asked, “What’s going on with your skin?” I was like, “Crap, now I have to buy more of the vegan baby juice.” I’m on bottle three. It’s lightweight; typically, I have pretty dry skin and would want something heavier, but I don’t need anything heavier with this. I truly can’t live without it, because I’m afraid of its effects wearing off.