I received a Facebook e mail the other day. I love that little red circle that appears on the ‘mail’ icon: I suppose we once waited for postmen with just the same anticipation.
This was from my IT-wizard friend, who is revamping the firm’s website. Please look at all these shades of blue, it read, and tell me which you like best. The most popular would be used as our new corporate website colour.
So many blues to choose from: I went for the china blue, a muted, understated shade. And it set me thinking.
Because I have been wearing rather too much blue for my liking recently. I am reticent about the colour for a reason. When I was a teenager I was a little old for my years: when everyone else was going to raves, I was playing a flute in some concert or other. Others went to Wembley to see Michael Jackson…I went to the Proms to see Schubert. And I lived in clothes that were different shades of blue.
Emerging from my chrysalis, I felt the need to put off childish things. So staid, blue was far too level-headed and, quite truthfully, not like me at all. I embraced those electric eighties colours, I left part of myself behind, and began to become what I am now. I love my shocking pinks, adore scarlet and embrace purple. But I have been giving blue a very wide berth.
But here I sit, bashing away at the keyboard, clothed head to toe in navy blue.
It seems that unconsciously, I have been buying more and more of my old colour. And today I looked in the mirror, and had a disturbing flashback to a photo of myself as a sixth former. I must have looked about 24 in that picture, and I was 17.
So what is this subconscious move back to the colour I was so keen to put behind me?
If in doubt, Google.
I found the predictable words to describe it: calm, aloof, distant. But I also found other aspects of my old friend: alongside calmness and serenity ( of which I have considerable need) blue is generally thought to be the most productive colour, men love it, it’s peaceful. tranquil, secure.
And then it hit me: all these years I have been avoiding the colour because I thought it reflected a part of my character I didn’t want.
In reality, what if I was seeking out a colour which balanced my excesses…which made a fiery character quieter and more measured?
And yes, one has blue Mondays and one sings the blues. But there are startling and assertive images of blue in our past: think of the ancient British warlike woad: the vivid lapis-lazuli blue. which was thought as valuable as gold leaf in monastic illuminated manuscripts.
And of course there’s Derek Jarman’s amazing film, Blue: an extraordinary man, Jarman was just months from death due to AIDS when he made the film. It’s really just him reading out a long poem, coming to terms with how and why life ends, the ones he has loved, interspersed with snatches of his experience.
In the pandemonium of image
I present you with the universal Blue
Blue an open door to soul
An infinite possibility
So, here I am, dressed in blue and finally unrepentant. Calm and stalwart, it’s a colour of infinite possibility, an open door to soul.
And I wonder, if I asked my friends what their key colour is – not their favourite colour, but one which is a bedrock to their lives – what would they say?