Some bright spark in marketing recently came up with the idea of selling colouring books to grownups, and it’s taken off in a big way. You can’t walk through a bookshop this Christmas without being assailed by ten or twenty stylish offerings, from Harry Potter and Game of Thrones official merchandise to variations on the theme of ‘peaceful zen garden’.
The cleverest thing about the way these tempting but ultimately vacuous tomes are being sold is the use of the words for adults, which can be found defensively emblazoned across the prominently placed colouring-book table in fashionable bookstores near you. These words, combined with the claim that colouring is Mindful and therefore Serious, have magically removed the stigma of people older than twelve doing an activity traditionally only available to children and Geography students.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m massively in favour of everyone being a bit more juvenile most of the time. Children tend to be happier than adults in my experience, and that’s probably because they haven’t undergone quite so much pressure to redefine their idea of fun to include mainly not-that-fun things (Clubbing is Exhibit A).
However, it seems a tiny bit wilfully blind that we’re pretending to do colouring for Sensible Grownup Reasons. Let’s face it, most people just quite fancy a bit of colouring and are happy to have an excuse to do some. And honestly, it’s quite enjoyable; I had a go at a friend’s colouring book recently, and bought myself one the next day. For purely therapeutic reasons, of course.