Childhood and youth were drawn out by blue biro. Delftware (‘Blue: Alchemy of a Colour’, NGV January 2016) reminds us of the margined pages of exercise books, careful cursive racing ahead of itself into satisfying scribble. Sums saturated graph paper with leaky ballpoint, spelling came of age in looping cobalt. As the refill reached the netherlands, cobalt stained and spoiled desktops, fingers, hair, title, date, aided by saliva, oozing where the end was chewed. Bitten Bic never replaced fountain pen, disposed as it was to the ephemeral. Midnight black replaced cobalt blue, around the time we started staying up late.