Last summer, I joined a crocodile of honest folk, queuing alongside the Olympic competition pool, awaiting the pleasure of jumping in and swimming to the Great Island. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the Great Island is an enormous, blue/yellow inflatable that dwells in the midst of the pool, a cross between a bungee jump and a Wipeout-style challenge. I plunged into the 10-foot pool, bobbed to the surface and swam to the island. I grasped the pull-handles and pulled, and pulled, and pulled…
I had just about given up when I pulled me out of the water and onto the Great Island – but the challenge was just beginning. I cleared one hurdle, climbing a plastic mount and sliding down the other side – loved that bit – and that was it. The next challenge was to negotiate another obstacle by working sideways along it with the aid of yet more pull-handles – and there was no, but no way my floppy body was going to triumph. I plunged back into the water, said good-bye to the GI, and spent the rest of the session swimming up and down, up and down, as one does in a pool. Yet, it was an enjoyable experience, and leaving the Tom Daly-style flip dives to the kids did give me an opportunity to contemplate the architecture, and the sheer luxury of swimming in such a space.
Congratulations to Zaha Hadid for winning the RIBA gold medal, and a parallel thanks for that marvellous building. I have been to the Aquatics Centre twice already and each time, excitement has filled me on approaching that soaring, inspiring building, and thrilling to its extraordinary shape. What matter if first-time visitors get confused when looking for the entrance? My bet is that the architect intended us to walk around and actually look at it – it’s hardly a hospital A&E department or a police station, after all. One thing is certain; an entire generation of young people in and near Stratford are unlikely to live as couch potatoes – and a number may even become architects.
The idea for a book combining colour theory and Greek mythology, which has always held my fascination, occurred to me just over two years ago.I have now launched Mythical Colouring. The majority of colouring books provide colour enthusiasts with patterns for essays into pure colour. However, even imagination requires a helping hand when matching and contrasting shades. The introductory notes and the guidelines that accompany every story serve as a springboard for the aspiring colourist.
Each story consists of two images, an A4-sized image and a smaller – though enlarged - detail from that image. Many enthusiasts may prefer to experiment on this detail before moving on to the full-sized picture. I have also provided blank squares at the outset of the book for pure colour experimentation.
Beginning with the story of a prehistoric deluge, the reader is taken through a montage of scenes from the lexicon of Greek mythology that include the pastoral worlds of Hyperion and Endymion, to the subterranean realm of Medea and the adventures of Hercules. In the accompanying guidelines, I explain how to attain the requisite atmosphere through the use of colour, and reminding the enthusiast that he or she is free to experiment.