In Competition No. 2903 you were invited to provide an extract from an article in an interiors magazine featuring some paint-colour names of your own invention that rival the ludicrousness of the real-life likes of ‘potentially purple’, ‘salty tear’ and ‘likeable sand’. High points in a patchy entry were Adrian Fry’s ‘Dresden licht’, John O’Byrne’s ‘failed rouble’, Alan Millard’s ‘hectic cockerel’, Mike Morrison’s ‘Magaluf mea culpa’ and Bill Greenwell’s ‘tartar’s lips’. Chris O’Carroll nabs the bonus fiver. The rest take £25 apiece.
The entryway is done in this season’s all-the-rage shade of über-sunshiny yellow, Flower Formerly Known as Rape, with bold highlights in Vein of Stilton and Real Bitter. Deeper into the mansion, in rooms where large windows and good exposure provide ample natural light, the design tends toward a still vibrant but more substantial palette — Matador for the ballroom and Apoplexy for the drawing room, with highlights of Well Spanked, Pale Woad and Cornwall Daphne. In the great picture gallery, where designers prudently chose to step back and let the portraits and landscapes assert themselves without competition, the walls are an appropriately muted Tear-Stained Diary, with woodwork done in Wraith. Similarly, the entrance to the conservatory does not seek to anticipate or outdo the hectic hues of the award-winning orchids and other plants, but rather greets visitors with icy, ephemeral understatements in Don’t Exhale Yet and Half-Remembered Fog.
A glossy Bovrilion front door swings open to reveal a delightfully niched vestibule. This is a room designed both to embrace and to usher, like a swooping hostess. The walls are boldly slab-dabbed in Life-Force Placenta, while the niches are picked out in a duo of stunning rossi, Pavarotti’s Tonsils vying with Quarantine Conjunctivitis. Gorgeous. But what a contrast when one moves into the drawing-room! Here, all is bony scraped canvas: two walls in the lost-white nostalgia of Much-Washed Underwear, the others in a cloudily clotted Mucilage. The effect is at once soothing and tremulous. We sense that the surfaces are hesitating on the cusp of colour. And as if to lead them gently to that epiphany, the woodwork is daringly underbrushed in shades of Primeval Pond-Life. Never was sophistication more grounded in the elemental. Little wonder that the ceiling then teases us with a jeu d’esprit of Fossilic Permafrost!
In the dining room, either neutrals such as Elderly Rocker’s Eyebags, Overlong Anecdote and School Cabbage, or distressed shades such as Clammy Handshake, Embarrassing Uncle and Faded Expectations, won’t put your guests off their dinner. In the living-room you can opt for a bold look on one wall — Indigestion Remedy, Footballer’s Smirk or Teenage Contempt — as long as you pair it with a subdued counterpoint, perhaps Nightclub Miasma or Back of the Fridge. Think accents: Televangelist Hair, Student Idealism. In the bedroom you can really make your personal style statement with colours that pop, sing and other unlikely verbs: Self-Published Romance Cover, Amorous Llama, Generic Pop Sensation. Co-ordination is key — literally this year, when a slick of Dirty Old Key is de rigueur somewhere in every room. If it really won’t blend in, then go boho solo loco with Disappointing Sandwich or Alarming Fake Tan.
Before you take up residence for your annual fortnight, there is still time for you to have your bijou country hideaway redecorated in the latest style, enabling you to impress your urban visitors whilst giving due acknowledgment to the countryside itself. Have the half-timbering redone in the latest rich brown shade — Rusting Agricultural Machinery — to replace last year’s frankly boring Dead Rainforest. It will offset the quieter tones of walls painted an oaty shade like Weasel’s Underbelly. Indoors, provide éclat in the lounge by juxtaposing the subdued Watery Silage with a more vibrant tone, such as Recent Roadkill, and then highlighting those oak beams — Deliquescent Ceps would be a witty choice. Something stark is de rigueur this year for the screens round the outdoor hot tub — Rotted Wurzel will blend in well, but for a more authentically green tinge, try Elderly Foxpoo.
You may abandon conservative styles with an independent approach and go for our Mosquito Sturgeon, a loud red that looks great on skirting and is more attractive than wishy-washy Salmond Pink. Easy to put on, it cuts out labour. We have discontinued the once popular Lemon Clegg, which is now sadly out of stock. To satisfy the astonishing demand for shades of blue we have lots to choose from. You can take forget-me-not Boris Blue or classy Georgian Mint, which some may consider too austere but it gets the job done. Then there is Steel-Blue-Grayling, a leader if ever there was one and of course our top-of-the-range Cobalt Campaign that gives the house an aristocratic feel. Though we have discarded our mini-band lines, especially the inexpensive Miliband Maroon, which wasn’t as long-lasting as experts believed, we still have the enduring Blair Purple that lies well wherever it goes.
Picking a colour for walls is actually pretty easy; I usually plump for something bold and vibrant like Sodom and Gomorrah’s Tuberculotic Sputum or Agent Orange, or even St Valentine’s Day Massacre. Albumen from Dugong’s new range of transparent paints is perfect for when you’re quite happy with a room as it is. Choosing appropriate hues for trims presents rather more of a challenge, but I’d always recommend Billy Quatermass’s Cilla Black or Rabbi Lionel Blue, both of which work really well on window casings and door frames, and Putain de Paris’s Vomit d’Enfant in high gloss which looks very chic on mouldings. I also really rate Closet Fascist’s Mashed Zebra, a vivid, stomach-churning red with hints of both white and black, and their emotive Wet Weekend in Rhyl never fails to impress either. Both work extremely well on ceilings, furniture, carpets and household pets.
No. 2906: poetry in motion
Craig Raine caused a kerfuffle recently with his poem ‘Gatwick’. You are invited to submit a poem about an encounter in an airport (16 lines maximum). Please email entries to email@example.com by midday on 8 July.