Exploring London: The Iconic Telephone Box

One of the most iconic symbols of London is the red telephone box. This beacon used to overcrowd the city streets as people do. Every borough became more populous with the additions of these fiery telephone kiosks from 1925 onwards, but in order to find them in the city nowadays, especially the operational ones, an intrepid explorer must really search for the treasure trove. Walking through Kingston, one may find these cultural symbols stacked, falling on each other like dominoes in the middle of the square. Upon actually seeing them, one realizes that they are not merely the boring well-known colour red, they have the subtlest colour gradations that catch the sight of only the most keen-eyed explorer.

The standard pigment red achieved by mixing magenta and yellow that most people see while looking at the box transforms into a plethora of shades and tints. The side-panels of the box melt away into scarlet red and at each new panel or edge metamorphose into a vibrant butterfly of unexpected delightful tints. On the rims of the panelling the scarlet meanders, slowly but constantly, as a river does, into crimson and then ruby red. The ruby is less sharp to look at; the scarlet and crimson pierce the explorer’s eyes with flaming rage that explode out of a soldier on the battlefield, but as the shades transition toward the softer ruby the volcanic wrath becomes more serene.

The ruby is less angry, but still possesses a blinding ceaseless luminosity that disconcerts the explorer’s gaze, so we must move on. The tone chooses to progress onto grapefruit-like sanguine. This reddish-brown envelops the cast-iron door insert that lies noiselessly under the fresh coat of paint of that regular pigment red. The sanguine is in waiting as if it were a lion stalking its prey, except that the colour cannot pounce, it will remain trapped under the layer of imprisoning red until it cracks and chips away. Then the sanguine can hope to be revealed to the explorer. Though most people will never see these, if one chooses to look closer, like our explorer did, one may find flecks of a darker more pungent red (a more intense version of the colour, if it was a smell, of course). The specs of these detectable tones are darker than the base colour of the box, but among them they possess a gradient also, there are the lighter shades of carmine intertwined with the astringent burgundies and maroons.

Every colour has gradations that words cannot fully describe, and every shade of said colour has a multitude of variations, and the variations of said shade have endless tints of their own. The end result? A colourful abyss.


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