BEIGE! The word sounds like a belch and is fifty shades duller than grey!

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THE MOST ALARMING NEWS OF LAST WEEK had nothing to do with either the monstrosities of Trump nor the British politicians’ Brexit death-wish.

A small news item crept in unnoticed by many but not, of course, by your eagle-eyed

correspondent who bravely and fearlessly goes where others won’t, his only ambition

being his courageous search for truth, exposure of despots, unearthing of

falsehoods, revelation of (Okay, just get on with it – Ed.)

Right. Well, apparently the most popular colour for UK cars last year was GREY! This statistic

alone is enough to plunge into deep gloom any self-respecting human being with even the

slightest zest for life (in which category I place myself).

Worse was to follow: hard on grey’s heels was the colour beige. I say ‘colour’, although I use

the word cautiously. Beige is not so much a colour as an anti-colour, a negation of all that

the word ‘colour’ stands for.

Some years ago my hostility towards beige reached such levels that I was moved to verse. The

poem, simply called ‘Beige’, made it into my second book of poems, I Married the Angel

of the North. This book caused a such a stir in literary circles that even now there is still a

bookshop in Stoke Poges where they talk in hushed tones of the day a customer came in and

almost bought a copy (although he eventually plumped for the autobiography of a

Celebrity Big Brother contestant).

I have recited my magnum opus at several public readings over the years, though only after casting a wary eye over the audience (should I be flattered by the luxury of attendances beyond single figures) for tell-tale signs that all might not go well.

When I spot more than a generous sprinkling of beige apparel amongst audience

members I apologise in advance for any offence caused. This has not, so far, caused any ructions among the Beige Brigade. But then ructions are probably not meat and drink to your average Beige-ite.

My own theory, for what it is worth, is that wearing the colour beige (and I have seen

some people dressed head to toe in it!) is a semi-conscious desire to retreat from the

world and become invisible.

But poetry should have as little as possible to do with theories. Much better that your humble poet offer up to you good followers of Voice of the North my paean of pain to the hateful word in the hope that it finds kindred spirits. So here goes:

BEIGE

Beige has nothing to say

beige does not know how to sing

it cannot move to the rhythms of music.

Beige cannot muster an orgasm

to make the moon tremble.

Climbing a tree to shout

from the highest branch, is an idea

that never enters beige’s head.

 

Even one thousand people

appearing along a hilltop

seem rather ordinary

if dressed in beige.

When you suspect someone of wearing beige

check it out. If there is no heartbeat

that is beige.

If the pulse is cold and still

that is beige.

You may discover such people

carefully organising their lives

in supermarkets, DIY centres

car showrooms or building society offices.

Say to them ‘Don’t be afraid.’

Though beige is always afraid.

The older these people are

the more beige must be discouraged.

The young may survive beige

but the old are slowly consumed.

It works its quiet way up

through shoes, socks and trousers,

skirts, cardigans, shirts and jackets

‘til that unchallenged moment of death

when beige paints its wasted pallor

across those acres of silent skin.

That’s it! Have a colourful life!

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