I have been thinking a lot about paint recently

By Nick da Costa

We have an item that needs painting and I need it to chime (I believe ‘chime’ is the correct word) with the kitchen walls – which are Farrow & Ball’s ‘Cornforth White’ (pale grey to you and me.)

Unfortunately, Farrow & Ball is more expensive per litre than good wine. My advice (which I failed to take when we painted the kitchen) is forget the paint, drink a few glasses of really good wine, then you won’t worry about the walls any more.

We also painted one wall of our sitting room in – wait for it – ‘Medici Crimson’ (dark red). I’d like to think they named it after the Medici because it doesn’t show bloodstains, but who knows? My better half has a better name for it – ‘Tart’s Boudoir’ – but there is no way I’m owning up to that over a glass of Prosecco. 

Actually, getting hold of a Farrow & Ball colour chart is marginally more difficult than getting your hands on the Dead Sea Scrolls. But – it has to be said – it is a joy to read.

You may have thought (as I did) that White was White. You could not be more wrong. White is not an absolute but a relative. So in addition to our ‘Cornforth White’, F & B offer us ‘White Tie’ ‘New White’ ‘Wimborne White’ ‘James White’ and something white-ish called ‘Wevet.’

Who names these shades? Are there specialist copywriters who sit at their desks all day answering briefs like ‘Right. Listen up: we have 23 new shades of green and I want 23 pretentious names by lunchtime.’ (How about ‘Bilious Green’ for the toilet, dear?)

As a copywriter of some reputation, I am just a tad offended that F&B have never beaten a path to my door. So in a spirit of generosity, I have been giving thought to some new shades for their 2021/22 colour chart.

As with every project I have taken on, I first apply my incisive analytical skills before putting pen to paper. And it seems to me that where the present colour chart falls down is in its lack of social awareness. Surely it should chime with the issues of our day, so that people can see their concerns reflected in the colour of their walls? What is needed are shades that are ‘on message.’

I’ve not spent long on this, so here are few suggestions – and I invite all to contribute:

‘Colonial White’ – (caution: highly inflammable).

‘Woke Grey’ – (in matt, satin & dismal).

‘Snowflake White’ – (a bit thick and hard to coax out of the tin).

‘Trans’ – (you don’t know what you’re getting until you open the tin).

‘No-Platform Red’ – (a really aggressive shade).

’Trump Orange’ – (Cleverly produces a white border as you apply. Bound to be a hit in the Rust Belt.)

‘Purple Rage’ – (chimes with the over 70s).

Toodle-Pip! (That isn’t a colour, it means ‘ta ta for now’).

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