Am Johal: Going Green: #008000

Other Colours Am Johal: Going Green: #008000


it’s not easy being green

sure, it’s the colour
of glacier lakes,
alpine meadows
camo underwear
tailings ponds
Colgate toothpaste
pool tables and 7-up cans
Islam, Brazil and Ireland
that’s obvs

but also the seats and carpets of Parliament
and 1/3rd of
the Pan-African flag

green eyes are an optical illusion

the discredited Lüscher colour test identifies
green with “Elasticity of will, passive, concentric, defensive,
persistence, self-esteem, assertion, pride, control”1

getting a green card means
you can live and work in the United States of America, woot woot!

every Saint Patrick’s Day,
the Chicago River is dyed green,
true or false?

verdigris was a pigment
made by fermenting wine
it didn’t mix well
with other colours
Da Vinci said you shouldn’t use it,
but Van Gogh did

to create the effect of green fireworks,
barium salts do the trick

let’s talk about monsters for a moment:
the Loch Ness monster isn’t green
but Naitake, aka Ogopogo, might just be
The left outfield fence
310 feet from home plate
for the Boston Red Sox

is called the Green Monster
I think of lizards and turtles
as little green monsters too

Derrida wrote that
“Monsters cannot be announced.
One cannot say: ‘Here are our monsters,’
without immediately turning
the monsters into pets.”

it’s a brand of movement politics
and the colour of money

green means go, but did you know
the first-ever traffic light exploded
and injured the policeman who operated it

“Green Light” is also
a 2017 song by Lorde,
that was (momentarily) critically acclaimed
as a breakup anthem

Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Tom Jones,
Elvis Presley, Burl Ives, Nana Mouskouri,
Kenny Rogers, Joan Baez
amongst numerous others, recorded
“Green, Green Grass of Home”
but it was, in fact,
written by Curly Putman,
whose last name is
often misspelt as Putnam

Tostitos lime tortilla chips…. mmmmmm
with mint juleps—even better

After your workout, remember that:
“Adding more plant-based nutrition 
to your day is easier
with Vega® Protein and Greens.
More than just a protein shake,
it’s a deliciously smooth protein
with a side of veggies
to help sweeten your day.”2

1 Lüscher Color Test
2 This quote can be found on Vega Protein and Greens packages.

Other Colours

Other Colours was conceived in response to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s True Colours, a program that offers grants to incentivize homeowners to restore heritage homes to their ‘true’ Victorian, Edwardian and War Time era (1880–1930) colours, with paint swatches such as “Oxford Bluff” and “Edwardian Pewter”. Canada’s colonial history is a violent history that must be questioned, not ceremoniously replicated. The True Colours program has been deployed largely in support of the gentrification of inner city neighbourhoods, particularly those with a history of immigrant struggle where homes were painted colours that represented diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences of the city. 221A led a Research Initiative with 10 contributors who were asked to provide a swatch for an “Other Colours palette” that would offer alternatives to the True Colours program based on the contributors’ lived experience, cultural traditions and artistic practices. Each Other Colours palette selection is detailed by the contributor with an original text or artwork. This collection of short prose, poetry and social history, printed by Brick Press as an Artist’s Book, offers a more pluralistic account of the city’s built environment and identity.