COLUMN: January 12, 2011

“WEARING a green tie?” a colleague pointed out. “You’re brave.”

I should really have thought nothing of it, it was not the first time my sartorial decisions had been questioned, but I like green.

If I were called upon to fill in my favourite colour in a pop star interview – and I refuse to accept that that will never happen – I would unhesitatingly write “green.”

I decided I would make a stand on behalf of the maligned hue. “What’s wrong with green? Green is the colour of grass, of leaves, of . . . erm, of Kermit the Frog, of . . . ”

“Well, it’s unlucky, isn’t it? Green ties are unlucky.”

That was a new one on me. I’ve been asked to accept some pretty unlikely superstitions in my time, but I find the idea that green ties are unlucky to be particularly unbelievable.

For surely superstitions are meant to be ancient. Ties only arrived in the nineteenth century. At which point did the green tie become infra-dig? 

Is there an international convention of old wives which meets in some sort of coven to decide on which things people should be scared of? Apart from the Vatican College of Cardinals?

I imagine they take a look at how the world is developing and agree on contemporary superstitions to appear relevant to the modern age. And here I am, imagining it . . .

THE 23rd INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION OF OLD WIVES IS IN SESSION.

OLD MRS PREWITT:
. . . And I think we can finally decommission the “Your team only scores if you’re looking at a different page of Ceefax” ruling, after many years’ service.

OLD MRS BAGSHAWE:
All in favour? Motion carried. Ooh, sorry, Mrs Lewis. I know the word “motion” is a sore point. We will, of course, need a replacement in the Bumper Book of Old Saws And Folk Nonsense. Suggestions, anybody?

OLD MRS BEENY:
I have one. “Add two minutes at the start and the end at least one/ Lest the show you’re recording will overrun.”

OLD MRS BAGSHAWE:
Oh, that is very good, because it fulfils the criterion of making the believer feel as if a situation which is entirely out of their hands is, in fact, actually their own fault. We don’t even have to vote on that, do we, ladies? Instant classic. Next?

OLD MRS PREWITT:
Are we still happy with the unlucky green ties ruling?

OLD MRS BAGSHAWE:
I think so. Anything we can do to plant the idea in people’s minds that green is rubbish is fine in my book.

OLD MRS BEENY:
But is it rubbish? You know, there’s also the saying “Blue and green should never be seen.” But I went to a lovely valley in the Lakes, lush fields and trees against an azure sky and sparkling blue pool. I didn’t hear one person say, “Ugh! Right, tarmac over that grass and paint those DISGUSTING leaves orange, as that is the complementary colour for blue.” Although, in fairness, Jeremy Clarkson was filming elsewhere that day.

OLD MRS BAGSHAWE:
Now you say all those things, it sounds logical and reasonable. But the fact remains that my heart was once broken on St Patrick’s Day by radio football commentator Alan Green, who was dressed as The Incredible Hulk, so green remains anathema. Ladies! Throw Mrs Beeny out onto the pavement. But make sure she doesn’t touch any of the cracks, in case her innocent mother’s back is broken.

I imagine that is precisely how it happens. I speak from experience. I once wrote horoscopes for a now-defunct weekly newspaper. It wasn’t just made up. I spent time and great care working out the exact positions of the star signs on the page, before filling them in with any old rubbish and giving my own star sign the best luck of all.

Oh, yes, I’m not as green as I appear.

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