Grey matter


I try to be environmentally friendly. I chastise my parents for boiling a full kettle for a solitary cup of coffee, I recycle with vigour and would secretly love to launch a hate campaign targeting those devilish swines who actually use the standby function on their TV. But every now and again something is sent to test me. Initially it was £9 cardigans in Primark. Now, it is concrete.

In its raw state, concrete powder is a bosom buddy of the earth. But the industrial extraction of its raw materials, along with the mixing and application of them, mean that it quickly ceases to be so. In its final form, as waste, it’s as biodegradable as a bin bag, requiring a large man showing his backside to the world and wielding a sledgehammer to smash the stuff to pieces to get rid of it.

Now, I know all of this. I watched the episode of Grand Designs where a hemp wearing eco couple pledged to build their dream home sans concrete. I too was heartbroken when structural complications meant tonnes of it were poured into the foundations of their green palace. Yet while mentally planning my future abode I can’t help dreaming, nay – longing, for a concrete floor.

All thoughts of environmental degradation, excessive water usage and builders bums go straight out the window (which is probably flung open above a sweltering radiator) in favour of scrummy, chic, grey flooring. My colour palette for life is a muted one; nothing too bold or outrageous. Black, navy, grey, brown. Throw in a little purple, ox blood red and fiery orange and there you have it. So dreams of a house lined with solid silken grey are enough to have me drooling. Be it a cool, clean ocean of untouched concrete or intricately etched tiles, a floor of grey is surely the most divine backdrop to blonde wood bookcases, super soft rugs and steel chair legs.

Forgive me planet earth, can we pretend this never happened? I can push my feelings aside. Besides, concrete brazenly spreads itself all over the shop: on roads, paths, walls and bridges, fraternising with any old stone and asphalt with not an ounce of self restraint or respect. It’s nothing more than a builders whore. And, let’s face it, that’s not chic at all.


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