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 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!