Many moons ago, when Manchester United were still rubbish1 my family would go to Old Trafford for most games. For those that know it, there is a huge tunnel under one of the stands, and when I came out of it one day thought to myself, “Wow, that’s a lovely colour they’ve painted that wall”. Only to realise that it wasn’t a wall, it was a glint of the sky, and an optical illusion from the design of the tunnel.
At 4.45 on a winter's day in Manchester, the twilight sky under the electric floodlights glowed a blue-purple that has stuck with me forever. The strange thing was, every time I saw it, I was so transfixed by the colour that I forgot it wasn't a wall, and was surprised that it was the sky every time. I was seven, to be fair.
For many years I never saw that colour again, but I sometimes thought of it. When I went on a corporate course that involved meditation, and they told us to close our eyes and imagine our body filling up with a fluid2 in a relaxing colour, that was the one I chose. Then one day my mum gave me a painting for my birthday. It was a picture of Old Trafford by a Manchester artist, Liam Spencer. I don't know how he does it, but his pictures always capture the glow of the lights in the Manchester rain perfectly. And there it was. My blue, painted in the sky over Old Trafford on my wall.
Which is why I was genuinely emotional when I discovered Iroshizuku Ajisai. To be able to write with a colour that has so much personal resonance is very special. I look forward to doing a review that does it justice.
1 Yes, yes I know. Let me pretend the dynasty isn’t over at least for another year or two. ↩
2 I won’t lie, I didn’t find that concept altogether relaxing. To recall a memory from a similar time period, it made me think of the first episode of Street Hawk3 where he has to get in a tank that fills up with foam so they can get his exact measurements for his suit. ↩
3 Look, it was the 80s. Knight Rider was popular, so of *course* they were going to make a version with a motorbike. And one with a helicopter.