Wednesday, 24 August 2011

She talks to you in monochrome

The sky looked like a swimming pool this morning, it made me feel all energetic and excited. It didn't last, I now sit and look out at a sky resembling wet-wipes I've taken my eye make-up off with.

Evening sky over the M4 a couple of weeks ago

It's so grey today in South Wales, slate roofs, grey terraced houses running either side of the murky river Taff, grey mountains. It's so green too, something I never appreciated until I didn't see it everyday, Slough to Cardiff and towards the valley was like finally adding a fresh, crisp salad to a meal of boiled potatoes and fish.

View from bridge to train station, I live near the red-brick school

Ladies walk past en route to the corner shop, permed grey hair frames their grey-skinned faces. On the way back, they clutch a grey newspaper in the crook of their arm.  Window panes used to be framed with colourful gloss painted wood, now they are all white PVC, speckled with grey dust.

Current view

Cars are black or silver, white towels flap on washing lines, a black cat walks like an Amazonian super-model along the grey concrete wall. They cut the tree down, the tree which spoke to me every summer since I moved here. I could have thought I was mad, but my neighbour cried when they cut it down, she loved it too. Cigarette poised, and blowing her smoke into the evening sky, she would echo my thoughts "I love the way that tree rustles in the breeze" I'd tell her about closing my eyes and the tree became the sea.

Lyn no longer smokes, she was ill when they killed the tree, that's why  it upset her, and now she wants to be well, smoke and ash will not help, just turn all the pinkness of her lungs black-grey.

The birds, all of them black, the grey gulls are out too, always slightly less anxious when bin-day is upon us. White, cream or grey blinds and net curtains help conceal my neighbours' black TV's, cream sofas, chrome accessories.

My town, it's all being demolished, sadly!

Black computer, white screen, black coffee giving me grey teeth. The rain has just arrived, it looks like the pretend rain on black and white films, or interference on a rubbish old television screen.
I used to think the 'olden days' were black and white, I thought colour didn't exist when my parents were small. I wonder if my children will feel the same.

Caption competition

The title inspiration for this post comes from Adult's 'Hand to Phone'... "she talks to you in monotone": (which unless you like emotion-less unnatural robotic music, you will HATE!)


  1. I have that tune - it's on a 2manyDJs mix! Great writing as usual Luce.
    Did you ever read Calvin and Hobbes cartoons? Calvin's dad convinces him the world used to be black and white and colour only came in in the 60s. My son's just discovered them and devoured 3 books in one sitting.

    I love seeing the hills come into view as I head home, shame Port Talbot is on the other side of the road though- now that's grey.

  2. Lakota's always beating me to it these days, lol - I also have that on a 2 Many DJs mix :-)

    It makes me think of those people who have completely minimalist interiors in their houses, all stark lines in black and white.

    Jem xXx

  3. P.S - There's a completely random stop motion video someone made for the track on YouTube that I'm quite keen on

  4. Beautiful word painting Luce.

  5. Beautiful piece of writing, Lucy and such a sweet photograph of you and your boys.
    I'm always struck by how grey the UK is when I come back from India. Over there, no matter the poverty, there's a riot of colour wherever you look. A flash of pink sari or a glint of a golden anklet disappearing into a slum dwelling, a line of patchwork bedcovers strung out on a balcony or pyramids of vibrant spices piled up to entice housewives in the market. Wearing colour feels like a daring thing living in the industrial wastelands but well worth it when I get thanked by strangers for brigtening up their day. x

  6. Great post - you put colour into the monochrome.

    Caption: So show me where I came out from Mummy.


  7. One of my fave lyrics is 'Tango in Mono' (Since you've been gone I have to tango in mono - by the Expressos, a mod group! Brilliant post.

    Thank you for your lovely comment, have a brill bank hol! I love you blog name, it is so funny and I bet doubtful! lol!!!! xx love Annie xx

  8. That's good writing.

    Puts me in mind of Gwyn Thomas's, The Alone To The Alone - I wonder have you read it? Recently re-published in the Library of Wales series - funny and poignant and very much grey.

  9. Oh, and shameless plug, but as you write so well, you might be interested in this:

    Be delighted to have you there - there are some bursaries available too

  10. Lakota - Yes, we loved Calvin and Hobbes cartoons, I'd forgotten about them. I'll be ordering some books later, such classic, quotable lines. I think I'll have to get some Fungus the Bogeyman while I'm at it too.
    Thanks for the link Jem , I'll replace my link with yours - much more interesting.

    Wendz - thanks, I'll have to write something cheerful one day!

    Vix - I love your descriptions of the vibrancy you enjoy in India. I nannied for an Indian family but never got to visit, despite their promises to take me. I brought the children to stay with my family once, as we walked up the lane at the back of a row of terraced houses from the station, Nidhi (9) said "Oh, Lucy, it's just like India here". Must have been the painted wooden gates!
    Rattlebox - I just can't WAIT for that question, I think I'll have to dig out that wonderful yet weird 70's book with the ridiculous illustrations culminating with a baby emerging from mum complete with jazz hands - anyone know the title? It was a great laugh.
    Annie - I will check out that track - thanks. Lucewoman/loose woman - don't ever get me drunk, ever. You'd be sorry. I promise. I'd MORE than live up to my name.

    Mark - I haven't read that, a very intriguing title though, I've made a note - thanks. I couldn't possibly afford the writing course, as much as I'd love to indulge my very new interest and learn more. We're at that rice and tuna stage where money is concerned.

  11. Great picture of you and your beautiful boys. Love your observations, and so sad about the tree :o(.

    Scarlett x

  12. P.s forgot to say - we need more pictures of you, you are a stunner :o) x

  13. Gosh I enjoyed reading that, like having a good big meal, satisfying.
    Calvin and hobbes, heh! We made a calvin and hobbes snowman last week, dead, half under the car!

  14. This post very much describes most of summer this year!! A swimming pool in the sky; a romantic image of the clouds.

    CJ xx

  15. Your children live in a world of colour, as we all did when we were young. It’s just that looking back it’s not colour which is the dominant memory. Some people say they dream in colour, but I don’t think I do. On waking, what remnants of the dream I can recall before it fades, are more about experience than colour. The preponderence of black and white films when you were young could account for your belief about your parents, just as I believed that my mother went to school by horse and carriage (apparently). A bit rambling, but I think I’m saying don’t let the grey day get you down :)

  16. I lived in London for a year in the mid 80's and as soon as I got back to Australia I walked off the plane, saw the immense blue sky, felt the brilliant colours and smelt the eucalyptus and knew I was back home.
    Even now, 25 odd years later, I think of the greyness of London and glory in the light of Australia, even in winter.
    I watch these awful late night shows on tele that show Brits moving to Spain and Italy and Florida. They always look a bit sad. They all tend to live in Brit enclaves and really don't embrace their new culture. Even if it is black and is still home...just like Dorothy.

  17. Scarlett - thanks, you're not so bad yourself - foxy lady!

    Max - happy to have fed you well, what do you fancy for dessert?

    Little Nell/Nick - your recent pictures with the clearest blue skies did highlight how grey our skies are. I don't necessarily feel grey inside about living here, but light does give me energy, something I seem to be lacking this summer.

  18. Moving from California to Oregon has definitely made me appreciate color even more. Who ever said you can't wear pink in winter can kiss my arse! Color lets me know I'm alive and that life is good, and color no matter what shade let's others know it too :)


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