I loved purple as a teenager, I wonder if I still could?
Looking back, purple was possibly my first obsession. An all consuming, head over heels, proper colour crush. Although I think I took it a bit too far.
Clothes, food, music. Smoke on the water…I learned to play it just so I could be closer to purple. Ye gads, did I really do that? Does your own teenage self make you cringe too?
Oh how I loved purple, I was the purple one. I had purple everything. I wore purple clothes, I wrote with purple ink (yes, really) I ate parma violets at every given opportunity, I even wore a perfume with a purple bottle that smelled of parma violets. I also actually painted the flowery purple logo from the bottle on my bedroom wall, four feet across. In purple emulsion. What possessed my parents to allow that? I think I’d just started at art college, painting on the walls was de riguer.
I was known by some of my friends as “er in the purple”. I completely immersed myself in the colour and absolutely couldn’t get enough of it. My purple safety blanket. I even once begged a purple cardigan from someone I hardly knew, just came right out and asked her to give it to me when she decided she’d had enough of it. Pretty please. She did. Result!
I also had a lovely amethyst brooch, shaped like a flower (it was the eighties, I’m forgiven). Amethysts – those gorgeous purple stones. They come in many different shades, ranging all the way through to the clear pale green of prasiolite. But the most popular shades, the ones they are most known and loved for, are the lavender shades, from proper purple through to palest lilac.
As a teenager purple always made me feel warm and safe. It might even have started with that amethyst brooch, worn mid eighties Madonna style, pinned over the lace on my customised denim jacket from Gabriels. Next to my CND badge and the one the Tufty club sent me. Oh dear, open the floodgates, here it comes, the nostalgia. I hadn’t thought about the Tufty club for fully three decades, now purple has released the memories again. ROSPA – the road safety society, was relaunched in 1979 with a new mascot, Tufty the squirrel. We must have signed up in school or maybe in brownies, but life time membership of the Tufty club has stood me in good stead, road safety wise.
So purple is my route to personal nostalgia, how we love to wallow in it. Perfect therapy, writing about colour. I loved that brooch so much, it might have been bought with my first teenage pay packet, from picking carnations in a sweltering greenhouse. I lasted all of two days in the job, but the brooch has lasted so much longer. I wore it until most of the stones had fallen out. But I’m such a hoarder, it’ll be here somewhere I’m sure.
After I realised I loved the amethysts enough to gaze at them all day, purple fully sucked me in, but then the purple vortex properly consumed me. If it wasn’t purple I didn’t want to know. It carried on well into my sixth form and early college years, fabric printing for making my own clothes and crocheting king sized purple bed blankets, all of which I still have, natch. Then one day I realised…bummer…this colour just does not suit me. And I simply stopped wearing it. But I also went off the colour totally, and even turned my back on amethysts. How foolish. It seems like a million years ago now, when I woke up and had the purple epiphany…time to move on with real life. Time to grow up. But looking at the P word now on the screen, writing this, it still somehow looks a bit naff, I well and truly ruined it for myself by allowing it to be all pervasive. Just like the time I ate two litres of salted peanuts, threw up and ruined them for myself forever. I was ten. Again, how foolish! It was a long time before I could eat peanuts again. Maybe revisiting purple after so much water under the bridge has enabled me to look at purple in a different light again. Now enough time has passed that I love the colour again, and I love working with amethysts, but not quite enough to wear them.
I never threw up from too much purple, but I’m sure people around me in my teens felt like they would from being in such close proximity to everything purple. I’ll have to ask my sister. Now that I can safely say I’ve matured in my colour relationship with purple, and left my teens behind, I feel like I’ve finally grown up.
Now, where’s my tufty club badge?