Ben had envisaged being able to ignore the World Cup entirely, not granting it the dignity of his attention. This was not to be. ... Nylon flags, footballs, cigarette lighters, baseball caps, scarves, condoms – all decorated with the black, red and yellow of the German flag. And Ben was, of course, alive to this chromatic reduction. A colour scheme was an event. Clusters and swathes of black, red and yellow, in stripes and hard-edged colourfields, on surfaces hard and soft, firm and flexible, manmade and natural, all united with the three colours. ... These were the colours of aggression. Yellow, red and black; bombs, blazes, blindness; ferocity, fire, fear; danger, defiance, death. Philistines like his father, who failed to appreciate the art of minimal decisions, did not grasp that there was a syntax to the juxtaposition of three or four colours. They became a sentence, the colours predicating each other. A wasp sting hurts. A candle left alight leads to a fire. An incendiary bomb kills.