Story Starter: Seeing Red

How’s this for seeing red?

I’m recently back from a couple of days in Amsterdam. We went to a concert at the fabulously old-style Carre Theatre. We had seats in the front row, and when I turned round to take my jacket off and saw the tiered grandeur behind me – my goodness. I wouldn’t have wanted to be up in the gods!

We enjoyed lots of wandering about seeing things. Not necessarily sights as most people think of it. We like just ambling aimlessly looking at the buildings, the trees, the canals. We had lovely weather, perfect for sitting around a lot in the outdoor cafes watching the world go by. People watching with side servings of cappuccino.

But we also ventured into one of the stores there. De Bijenkorf – it translates as the beehive – used to be a conventional department store. But then a few years ago it underwent a radical transformation and emerged as a very high end and exclusive version of itself. Gucci. Prada. Tiffany. That kind of label. The ‘look but can’t afford’ type.

I did wander around the Tiffany display, and admired, and wondered. One of their sales lines was something along the lines of a diamond being the symbol of true love. Implying that anything else is a lesser love. Bit unfair, if you ask me. What about a couple in love who can’t afford a diamond? Or don’t like them? And what makes a diamond worth so much anyway? Put a diamond and a similarly sized and cut cubic zirconia alongside each other: are they really that different?

So, that’s all one thought that came out of my visit.

But on the ladies fashion floor, I came across this display. Striking, isn’t it? It certainly caught my attention.

I’ve picked the obvious theme of seeing red. Red mist. Red alert. Red paint. Lipstick.

But the fact that every single element has been coloured red – perhaps it’s about blending in. Safety in numbers. Being uniform.

Who knows?


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Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.