If you’re not in the mood to read a seriously pissed off rant, dear blog reader, and are looking to read something sedate and pedestrian, then you’re shit out of luck because I’m here to rant about how we are given way too much choice in life.
Today I’ll be pitching the polite humble Brit overboard and adopting a brash tell-it-like-it-is, don’t get in my fucking way Yankie approach. Just for shits and gigs.
There’s no preamble here. We’re skipping the starter and going straight for the meat and potatoes.
That being said, read and enjoy or get the fuck off my blog.
See that picture up there?
All those little vaguely white squares? Except none of them are proper white. They’re all kinda white, but not quite white, but want to be white, but also want to be “different” in their approach to what they think white means to them.
During the creation of Paint Company Ltd’s new Colours 2016 Collection, a journo from a posh interior design magazine asked an insanely clever, artistic and not overpaid in the slightest Colour Imagineer a simple question:
“Please share with the ordinary and very naive consumer how you interpret the word ‘white’ and how you’re so adept at dreaming up such new and amazing twists on what is essentially the absence of colour. Not dissimilar to black in that respect. Be as creative as you like so no one will understand.”
Those squares, and more importantly the brilliant creative minds at Dulux, are an interpretation of white and how they might appeal to like-minded people looking for something “different” to give their home a “different” look.
And when I say different I mean the same as everyone else’s home because white is fucking white!
When viewed in context with furniture, wall & floor coverings and so on any normal person will take 0.5 seconds to refer to their mental model of the world, what colour the white on the walls closely matches, and then slot that colour in a single box: white.
Yep. The colour that took you hours/days/weeks/months (Jesus, I hope that’s not the case with anyone) to narrow down and select as “the” colour to represent who you are, what your room means to you, how it represents your life’s hopes/aspirations/history/mood, how it reflects your unique and interesting personality, and just as equally what you hope it means to guests and how it will surely enrich their lives because you’ve chosen it so well.
It’s just white, Dave, calm down.
That’s not the point. Here are some more vaguely white, but somewhat creamy colours.
Okay, there’s some variation here, but still, that’s just too much choice!
If I asked you to choose one for say, I don’t know, your living room, how long would it take you to narrow that lot down to 1? If it’s less than an hour I’d be impressed.
If you’re one of those people who agonizes over which particular shade of white is the correct one for any given room or wall then you have my heartfelt and sincerest pity.
There are vast ranges of paint. Take a look at some whites I found on the line. It’s mind-blowing.
There are Autumn Whites, Summer Whites, Winter Whites, Winter Cream White, Spring Whites, Violet Whites, Ocean White, Pastel White, Warm Whites, Cool Whites, Natural Whites, Hint of Whites, Crisp Whites, Muted Whites, Cloud White, All Wight (snigger), Mmillennium Falcon White, Stormtrooper White, Wedding Dress White, Angel White, Exotic White (seriously, WTF is that?) White With A Hint Of White Whites, Dusky Whites, Shades of White, Neutral White, Dazzling White, Urban White, Pure White, Pure Brilliant White, Shimmering White, Whiter Than White, Moody White, Serene White, Country White, Cotton White, Crushed Cotton White (yeah, cos that’s sooo different) White Mist, Vintage White (which in my book means stained old yellow kinda manky lookin) Chalky White, Chiffon White, Steel White, Jasmine White, Peal White, Dentist Bright White, Barry White.
That last one is okay.
Too. Much. Choice.
You think I’m exaggerating?
That little lot are what Dulux call Soft Warm Neutrals.
An entirely different set of colours than the previous set of Creams.
They’re all different colours!
Holy fucking shit! This is proof enough that the human race has got its priorities all fucked up and back to front.
Let me paint a picture for you.
The other day I happen to listen in on a conversation between two people in a DIY shop as they discuss which paint to use in their living room. This is the general gist of how it went down.
Man: We should go for bold colours. Make a statement. Go for the wow factor. Like a big blue.
Woman: [Giving the man a withering glance] Blue is cold.
Man: [Pointing to the paint chart] No it’s not. This one says Summer Medley 6. Summer isn’t cold.
Woman: We’re getting a warm colour. Something light and warm and inviting.
Man: Beige then.
Woman: Beige is so 1990’s. What do you think about Vintage Chandelier?
Man: Kinda white isn’t it?
Woman: Not pacifically white. More creamy.
Man: It’s in the white section.
Woman: It’s not supposed to be white white. Just more than white.
Man: More than white? What’s that supposed to mean?
Woman: [Sighs] How about White Mist? That would go in the hall.
Man: [Hands on hips] We’re painting the hall now?
Woman: You could if I went with White Mist. [She points to another white] And maybe Moon Shimmer on the back wall, to emphasise the big mirror your gran gave you.
Man: [Scratching his head] Moon Shimmer?
Woman: Or maybe Frosted Dawn.
Man: Both white. We should just get the one with Brilliant White on it.
Woman: Don’t be thick. We spent ages waiting for the work to get done and we’re not just slapping white everywhere.
Man: We’re not?
Woman: No. That room needs character. We got to choose something that really reflects the mood we’re creating. Colours are important. You didn’t do art at school. I did. I remember everything Mr Penner teached us. We got to create a ambience.
Man: [Losing interest. Tone of voice now flat] We do? Fine.
Women: Maybe if we took some tester pots. Moon Shimmer. Frosted Dawn. Mineral Haze. White Cotton and that Boutique Cream would go good in the downstairs loo.
Man: I did the loo a few months back.
Woman: Don’t you want our home to look proper nice?
Man: Yes but-
Woman: Then we got to do this right. People are going to see it. I’m not having them talking about us. We can’t just chuck any old colour on the walls.
Man: White isn’t a colour.
Woman: [Staring hard at him] What did I say about my teacher?
Man: [Huge sigh] I’m going to look at the drills.
I don’t recall the exact name she used for her teacher, but it stuck in my mind that she said “teached” and “pacifically” which tells you a lot about how she fits in with the world.
The point is that they, like all of us, have too much choice in life.
And we don’t need it.
Paint is just an easy example.
The reason for the mind-boggling number of paint choices isn’t because Dulux, Crown or Valspar want to enrich our lives. Ha. They don’t care about your life and whether your feature wall colour makes you happy.
They create these colours to make money.
Nothing wrong with that.
Take Heinz Baked Beans
For years there was one type. Beans. Nice. Tasty. Classic.
If I wanted a twist I’d drop some grated cheese on, or a splash of Worcestershire Sauce.
In recent times there has been an explosion in different types of beans.
Now we have this collection:
Did anyone ask for them?
Because it seems the public were desperate for 10 different types of baked bean.
And that’s not getting into the beans with sausages/meatballs/piri piri/Mexican/big breakfast combinations.
50% Less Sugar Beans I do approve of. Anything to stave off the diabetes plague a little longer gets a tick in my book.
Why We Don’t Need Choice.
If the human race spent less time dreaming up ways to screw each other out of a few extra pennies by giving us an ever-expanding horizon of shit we didn’t ask for, want or need, then maybe, just maybe we’d make progress in solving some of the bigger issues facing our planet.
Imagine a world where the creative energies currently spent naming and producing a million variations of white were aimed at the really big problems.
Sure, there’s freedom of choice to create choices for others, but as a race can’t we harness that energy for something better?
What concerns me is a possible future where mankind has been so consumed by profit that we’ve squandered the opportunity to achieve so much more. All that brain power could be used to cure for all manner of biological problems, or tackle food/water/energy shortages, or bring an end to poverty.
It sickens me to hear anyone argue over what type of white to use on their walls when people on the same planet are dying through lack of basic necessities like food and clean water.
I’m angered at the thought of how much natural resources are consumed by Heinz (as an example) to bring a new product to the market, but people are dying because they don’t have clean water. How can we as a race ever hope to have a healthy future where we live in balance with our planet when we’re obsessed with pathetic trivialities like Chiffon White versus Cotton White?
I’m amazed we’ve got this far at all.
The amount of waste we produce as a species is simply staggering. Have you ever stopped to question where your food really comes from? Where the packaging comes from? It hurts my head to calculate the sheer effort that goes into harvesting raw materials, packaging, transport, oil, water and so on, all so we can have a snack.
I was in a KFC a week ago. Had a tasty chicken Rio burger, fries & drink. Midway through my meal I paused to wonder how many chickens are slaughtered daily, even hourly, just to support the sales in that one KFC outlet. How much oil and chemicals are used to produce the feed rammed down the gullets of the chickens, or even used to produce potatoes for the fries?
200 chickens per day for that one outlet? 500?
A quick internet search suggests around 1 billion chickens are killed every year for KFC.
And think of how many trees are chopped for the paper to make burger wrappers. It doesn’t all come from recycling. Most packaging will have something on it like “Made From 42% Recycled Materials”.
And then think about where the waste goes after. Recycling isn’t a solution, not even for the minute amount of garbage we genuinely do reuse. It takes energy to recycle. It’s a stop-gap measure at best.
I’m a hypocrit, just so you know. Right now I’m tucking into a bag of Cheese & Onion crisps. Can’t recycle that packaging.
Fuck the human race. I’m disgusted to be a part of it.
We don’t deserve this planet.