I have in my possession a lilac swimsuit, purchased c. 2007, size 14, long body, scoop necked, high-cut leg – a real classic, you could say. It is the remaining one of a succession of suits, identical apart from their various colours, which I owned at the crest of a watery phase in my career. In my inward eye, I can see the late line-up in my wardrobe; fuchsia pink, bright blue, navy, black and exotic orange in addition to said lilac. I purchased all of them from BHS and, at £10 a pop, no better value existed for a water babe who had not yet earned the right to wear a suit marked speedo – and very appropriate merchandising for an erstwhile store owner who spends much of his time larking around on a luxury yacht. Certain of the suits were replaced a few times over; I got through three black suits and two pink ones, I think.
When I wanted a new suit, I simply went to the BHS swim shop with the product tag from off the previous suit, matched it and purchased accordingly. I can’t remember exactly when matters began to change, but change they did. I still have impressions of wandering confusedly around the swim shop, trying to match my product tag with luxury striped maillots and suits sprouting exotic blossoms – and all with at least a 50% price mark-up on the plain, classic suit. Was it a coincidence that my life’s circumstances began to change around the same time, leaving less time for going to the pool? It’s a moot point and one to ponder as I wander around the now ghostly BHS, customer voices echoing as the last bits and pieces leave the rails. My sadness at its demise is tinged with satisfaction at having supported the store in its heyday, and anger at the forces that have brought it down – and I’ll ever treasure my £10 lilac maillot.
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.