Dirt blue, it doesn’t even exist. How can I write about what doesn’t exist? It’s only history.
Once, the Tuaregs wrapped indigo scarves round their heads like crowns. Blue kimonos made women dream of silk. The Yoruba passed cloths down as heirlooms, etched their life stories in wax.
We beat slaves to make indigo cake. We pissed in it, added arsenic, freeze-dried it.
Now your denim hovers somewhere between blue and bruise purple, and the jeans you wear are sweat-shop fakes.
Take them off. Show me where the veins run under your skin, the beautiful, dirty blue blood.
nb: I had a bit of trouble with indigo. Apparently it’s not officially, scientifically a colour. Doesn’t appear on the spectrum. Almost all indigo dye used today is artificial, no longer from the indigo plant. Actually, the history of indigo is endlessly fascinating. Find out more here