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the Pale

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A Whiter Shade of Pale

Common words in use

Unconscious adoption of one's words by the person-in-the-street is a powerful index of success, albeit one that pays no royalty! We invite all visitors to send in examples if they find the phrase 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' being used in a context independent of any consideration of the song. Remember KR's protest a while back?

"The phrase 'a whiter shade of pale' has been ripped off so much ever since. To this day, every day, I pick up a newspaper and somebody's using either that phrase or an approximation of it. I feel that I should get some credit for introducing something into the English language, it's been used so often. It seems to me it was just such a very powerful statement in so many ways ..."

Keith Reid, interviewed by Paul Carter in Shine On, August, 1997

Great to find out that Keith has eventually got some of the literary recognition he deserves for AWSoP : see here

Amusing to see the continuing bafflement (and poor spelling) of some web-pundits

AWSoP has also made it into linguistic science, writes Jonas Söderström. AWSoP has now officially been recognized as a "some-assembly-required adaptable cliché frame for lazy journalists " - for which the short name is "snowclone". Read all about it at Language Log - read about it all here. Geoffrey Pullum is a well-known (I'd say world-known) linguist, author of (among very serious books) "The great eskimo vocabulary hoax" – some very entertaining stories if you're interested in linguistics. (See it at Amazon via this link) 

Fascinating stuff from the Wall Street Journal, (period!). Click here to read more

From a website calling itself Knox Beer Snobs ... click to read more, if you like the style ...

29 September 2018

Spotted here by George Lovell (the Procol author)

'No tears left to cry for poor mismanaged Argentina,' he writes. 'To play on another manager's memorable riff, "There's only so much money in the country" ...'

Click the graphic to read the story.

May 2018: title of book reviewed in The New Statesman (thanks, Christine Ayre)

'How Donald Trump combined the polar opposites of Aryan nationalism and the American Dream' (also refers to the amusing case of Bianca Trump)

Click here for the text or on the illustration to view just the
the concomitant photograph, which some readers may find offensive

Current Zoology 61 (4): 729 – 738, 2015
Corresponding author. © 2015 [Read more here]

A whiter shade of male
: Color background matching as a function of size and sex in the yellow shore crab Hemigrapsus oregonensis (Dana, 1851)
Gregory C Jensen, Michael S E Gnotovich; School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Box 355020, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

Juveniles of the shore crab Hemigrapsus oregonensis are highly variable in color, ranging from the typical yellowish-green of adults to pure white and myriad patterns of white mottling and other disruptive markings, but large individuals with white coloration appear to be very rare. Using image analysis to quantify the relative “whiteness” of beaches, we sampled crabs from nine locations in Washington State that varied widely in their amount of shell fragments and other light-colored material. The total proportion of white individuals in the different locations was strongly correlated to the proportion of white material on the beaches, but there was a striking difference between sexes. Although white specimens of both sexes declined significantly at sizes above 10 mm carapace width, white females generally persisted throughout the entire female size range on lighter-colored beaches while white males larger than 10 mm were virtually absent from all of the sampled populations. Pure white males held on dark backgrounds in captivity remained white, as they lack the dark chromatophores in their hypodermis needed to change color; off-white males became darker and in some cases lightened up again when transferred back to a white background. Behavioral differences between the sexes may result in differential mortality of white individuals by visual predators [Current Zoology 61 (4): 729–738, 2015 ].

Camouflage, Color, Polymorphism, Disruptive patterns, Crabs

A whiter shade of pale: issues and opportunities in prosopography’, Dion Smythe – found on this page by Peter Christian, who notes that it's 'a very odd place to see AWSoP'


Here's a reference to Procol from the Bill Maher Real Time show on HBO

(Friday, 27 March 2015).

The point being made was the brochure cover with two while males succeeding ahead of 'a black and female' (thanks, Tom)

Epoch Times: 17 April 2013The 1970s band Procol Harum wrote the song A Whiter Shade of Pale. It’s played in Oblivion. It describes the whole movie perfectly. Shot in whites, silvers, and grays, it’s quite pale. The content is pretty pale too. Oh, it’ll hold your attention; it’s Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman after all. Both can command attention. Cruise plays a commander, even. But afterward, you’ll leave the theater feeling a whiter shade of whatever you walked in as.

The year is 2077. Humans have taken up residence on one of Jupiter’s moons. There was a big war. Aliens invaded Earth and destroyed the moon. Gargantuan “hydro rigs” suck up Earth’s resources. Commander Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a “Tech,” a sort of futuristic auto-body mechanic in a silver suit with a silver gun, still on Earth, tending to white spheroid drones that scour the Earth looking for “Scavs” that are possibly left-behind aliens.

Jack lives up in a shiny, white, elevated military outpost with a swimming pool, way up there, in the middle of the air, from which he descends in his cool white jet-copter. He also has a cool white motorcycle, replete with a spelunking winch on the back (because we almost always like Tom Cruise on a motocross bike in a movie). Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), Jack’s superior officer, tells Jack where to find the downed, dinged drones. He awesomely fixes them with a nonchalant shove of a piece of white bubble gum into the complex drone innards, while reminiscing out loud about the ancient football game that took place in the long-dead stadium the drone happened to go down in.

Jack also has a great little getaway cabin where he plays vintage vinyl. Jack talks to himself a lot. Pieces of recognizable New York landmarks (Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty) jut out of the pale landscape, half buried. Now, although Jack’s memory has been erased, he recurrently dreams of proposing to Julia (Catherine Zeta-Jones look-alike Olga Kurylenko) on top of the Empire State Building. This very woman one day crash-lands into his reality in one of those sci-fi, you-sleep-long-time space-pod thingies. It’s a white space pod.

You’ll need to endure a lot of pseudo-military speak: “We have a rogue signal.” “Perimeter check, I may go off com,” and the like.There’s lots of leaping out of white flying machines and stalking around while pointing the silver gun. The ideas are not bad, but it’s heady with no gut-check, despite a fairly bombastic score. It’s difficult to connect with any of the characters to the point of caring what happens to them. Who are the Scavs, and why does Morgan Freeman’s character, Beech, hang out with them? What’s that mash-up of the “Star Wars” Death Star and the behemoth gestation contraption from “The Matrix”? Is Jack cloned? Why are there a few of him, and which one does Julia love? Is it memory, or is it Memorex? Why do you feel like you’ve seen all of this before? Where’s WALL-E?

You’ll need to turn a whiter shade of pale to find the answers to these questions. 3 stars

This exceptional specimen, 'A brighter shade of paella', was photographed by Emily Grayson (in a fishmonger's window in Eyemouth, Summer of 2012 ... but it came from The Mail on Sunday, 8 June 2008), and sent in by her father John of Shine On fame.

IN SPAIN, they are the crowning glory of the national dish of paella. But the fresh langoustines come from Scotland - and are so sought after by Spanish chefs that suppliers cannot keep up with demand.

Langoustines, known as the Rolls-Royce of crustaceans, have the body of a lobster, the head of a shrimp and claws like a crayfish - and the meat is reputed to be better than any other shellfish.

Nephrops, as fishermen call them, from the cold waters around Scotland are regarded as being the most tasty, juicy and colourful in the world.

Thanks, both!

Found here by Peter Christian

Don Farmer in the Wairarapa Times Age (19 October 2011).  Read the full story here

Sick kiwi a whiter shade of pale

The world's only white kiwi has become unwell after eating two large stones ... Manukura the Kiwi ... is not an albino but an all-white kiwi, believed to be the first since European settlement in New Zealand. Before falling ill this week she had been making steady progress ...

(thanks, Dave Ball)

The Independent on Sunday (7 August 2011)

Tuilagi shines but England are a pale shade of All Black (see here)

England 23 Wales 19: Rusty display contains sparks of promise but the world's No 1 team will not be losing much sleep, writes Hugh Godwin at Twickenham

' ... Metaphorical hillocks of rust were forming on both sides. Shane Williams was jeered when a cross-field raid ended in an ankle-tap by Tuilagi and running slap into Roberts. Scorned, perhaps, he responded with a try in the 56th minute. Mike Phillips' leap over a ruck was repelled by Stevens but a huge overlap soon presented itself ...'.

(thanks, Peter)

From the UK's Independent (July 2011)

Platinum hair: A whiter shade of pale

Platinum hair is a new model favourite. Harriet Walker tries it for herself.

Thanks to an influx of Scandinavian models, the very palest shades are appearing on the catwalks again, like photo negatives after so many seasons of Brazilian honey blondes, flaxen Eastern Europeans and the rich plum shades sported by certain X Factor hosts

There's a semi-reference to the words 'A whiter shade of pale' in Keith Reid's song The Art of Doing Nothing (2006), whose chorus runs ...

'Just laying back here and admiring the view

This day turned out to be the perfect shade of blue'

Read the whole lyric here

A whiter shade of tail makes this red squirrel stand out more than most

from the UK's Daily Mail, 16 July 2010

'Red squirrels are already a rare sight. But this one stands out a little more than most. With a distinctive white ring around its tail, the startling creature makes its plain red counterparts seem rather ordinary ... .'

Click the squirrel-shot to read more.

(thanks, Sue; thanks, John)


Courtney Love looks the whiter shade of pale as she shows off her 'moon tan' in New York

Kelly Hartog in the UK's Daily Mail (see here) 24 July 2010 (just one week after the squirrel piece above)

It's been a sweltering July in the Big Apple but you wouldn't know it if you bumped into Courtney Love.

Forget the sun tan, she had a moon tan in SoHo yesterday as she enjoyed a cigarette and a chat with a friend.

And her summery outfit revealed so much whiter-than white skin under the bright sunshine in New York it was just as well she was wearing a large pair of sunglasses.

Love, 46, was dressed in platform peep-toe pumps and a mini shift dress that was suitably summery. No doubt she was hoping to look stylish ...

(thanks, Sue, who writes 'Oh no! Another Saturday, another headline. Someone should have a word with the hacks at the Daily Mail ...)

Fudge Paint Box Whiter Shade of Pale Hair Toner & Creative Mixer

'Creative Mixer – use to change extreme Paintbox shades into pastel shades.  Mix thoroughly with any Paintbox shade to lighten or change the tone to the color of your choice. Toner - used for light blonde or bleached hair to neutralize yellow or golden tones.'

(thanks, Martin AWSoP)


Political Junkie (27 October 2009)  (thanks, Robert)

' ... it's not that difficult to figure out how to play ScuttleButton ... arrive at a familiar saying or a name. (Seriously: a saying that people from Earth might be remotely familiar with.) ... Here are last week's buttons, in case you forgot:

Some of My Best Friends Are White People / Bob Orr / Sketch of Che Guevara / Hands holding a peace dove / I'm a Lunch Pail Democrat.

So, when you add White + Orr + Che + Dove + Pail, you might end up with ... Whiter Shade of Pale -- the 1967 hit song by the British group Procol Harum.'

August 2009: A Whiter Shade of Pale – from Postonline (thanks, John)

August 2009 ... for those who drink coffee and/or can read Danish (thanks, Niels-Erik)

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Sorting through some old decorating magazines, I came across this rather unique item (Style at Home – July/August 2001 issue), which to me belongs to the "whatever turns you on" section. 

The story is about a lady who spent six years and vast amounts of money continually redecorating her home until she hit upon the "ideal" solution:  covering her antique pine furniture in white paint and rubbing out the edges to achieve that aged look.

Click the image to read more (thanks, Barbara)

August 2009

Teeth bared in bleach row                             (thanks, Joan)

Whiter shade of pale: Teresa Frangiosa undergoes the 20-minute bleaching method at a suburban Melbourne pharmacy. Her teeth are now six shades lighter and, she says, she can’t stop smiling.

Photo: Michael O'Dwyer

March 2009: "It seems the immortal phrase has been aped once again, this time to define a free online game with sinister overtones offered by Microsoft.  On the Sympatico MSN Games page, one of the featured offerings is billed as Women's Murder Club – A Darker Shade of Grey.  Find it here." 

Thanks, Barbara

'Procol Harum came from Southend and there's a few faces a whiter shade of pale in the crowd.'

BBC radio sports commentator (30 January 2009) after Southend took the lead against Chelsea.

Thanks, Charlie

The Guardian, 16 January 2009

Should we paint the world white to tackle the impact of global warming? Hashem Akbari, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California thinks so, and is launching a worldwide campaign to brighten up our cities. Turn enough rooftops and roads a whiter shade of pale, he says, and enough extra sunlight will be bounced back into space to cool the planet.

Thanks, Joan

Regarding the vampire film Twilight

Vampire teen flick a whiter shade of pale
by Jake Wilson (here) on 13 December 2008

The words 'whiter' and 'pale' appear in the text as well:  '... she meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a beautiful, pale, stand-offish boy with a dark secret....."Aren't people from Arizona meant to be really tan?" someone asks the pale-faced Bella on her first day at school ... The Cullens are even whiter ...'

Thanks, Joan

Dave Knight writes to BtP:

'Attached a scan from this month's (December 2008's) Glamour Magazine, which is apparently Britain's No 1 women's magazine.

Not really my cup of tea.'

"Cristiano Ronaldo or Justin Timberlake? If only we were really faced with a decision like tha! Perma-tanned or Whiter shade of pale?"

Click the image, if you can't resist inspecting the rest of the page.

To subscribe, click here. 'It's the only magazine that fits your life and your handbag'.

Mail Online, 11 October 2008

Beyond the pale: Uma Thurman looks ghostly white as she bares all without make-up

Uma Thurman looked a whiter shade of pale when she stepped out without her makeup on. The usually bronzed star revealed her ghostly complexion as she left her New York apartment bare-faced yesterday. Wearing holey jeans with a mismatched suit jacket and knitted boots, it looked as if the 38-year-old actress had thrown together her outfit in a hurry.

Thanks, Robert

19 May 2008: on Test Match Special, BBC Radio 4's long-running live cricket commentary programme, one of the English commentators said that after a hideous blow to the elbow by a cricket ball (a ball which non-cricket-fans may not know is extremely hard and can be propelled at speeds of over 150 km/h) the injured player had 'turned a whiter shade of pale'.  Not to be outdone in the classic rock-song stakes, one of the New Zealand commentators then said that the game appeared to be 'slip-sliding away'...

thank you, Martin

19 November 2006: in the thick of the A Whiter Shade of Pale lawsuit, UK satirist Armando Iannucci made fun of the leader of the opposition, who had claimed in his riposte to The Queen's Speech that 'the government was not so much a whiter shade of pale as a whiter shade of fail'. Stretching the parody still further, Iannucci coined A Fighter Made of Hail and A Brighter Glade of Crail ... read the whole ludicrosity here

thanks, Robert

From a novel, The Fourth Bear, by Jasper Fforde:
'It's the linear uniformity in the vertical plain [sic],' Ashley explained with a shiver, turning a darker shade of blue
[Ashley is a translucent, slightly luminous, pale blue alien working for Berkshire police – you know it makes sense]

Click the illustration to know a little more

thank you, Martin

From page 297 of a novel, How the Dead Live, by Will Self (2000)

'For the next eighteen months I existed on that back porch, screened in by the red fog of anger. Sure, I did my go-round, 24 x 7, 7 x f*cking 52, but I was a whiter shade of my former pale shadow. 'We skipped a [sic] light fandango!' sang Lithy, as it did just that. The little ones asked to wee-wee, the walls moaned, the Fats jiggled, and Rude Boy gave me a knowing eye ...'

[The narrator, dead from cancer, is now resident in Dulston, a 'cystrict' of North London, where her flat is haunted by her fossilised ectopic child Lithy, a singing lithopedion; the 'little ones', miscarried cousins who are effectively her grandchildren; The Fats, gruesome creatures composed of her unwanted blubber; and Rude Boy, her ranting son whose skull was crushed when she chased him into the road – you know it makes sense]

Click the illustration for some deliciously mixed critical responses

A masterpiece of copy-writing and punctuation A Whiter Shade of Pale

(Peafanfare) New Release 2006.

They do not come much better than this magnificent new introduction form Colin Pearce. Colin is renowned for breeding disease resistant roses and this is his best yet! It's a gorgeous shade of pale pink. The flower are extremely fragrant medium sized and carried in clusters of several together on a vigorous growing bush. Demand is certain to be high and in this its first season we know there will not be enough to go round! 95cm

See more of this online, whence the above version of the text.

A Whiter Shade of Pale is yours for £9.95

(thanks, Charlie)


From The Los Angeles Times 23 July 2006. Click to read!

(thanks, Judy and Bob Kloner)

The Observer, 1 October 2006: read it online here

Jane Eyre comes to the screen [BBC1] dragging enough baggage to fill the capacious interior of Thornfield Hall, the gloomy gothic pile in which the story unfolds ... Except Rochester's soul, as inhabited by Toby Stephens, was a purple shade of black. He played Charlotte Bronte's menacing hero as more ironic than Byronic ... (thanks, Peter Christian)

The phrase 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' occurs in the hit song I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker by Sandi Thom, which entered the UK singles charts at No 2 in May 2006. Read the rather quirky story of how Sandi got signed ... click here(thanks, Dave K)

Last week of June 2006: legendary youth-oriented-issues soap Hollyoaks in the UK featured the dad of a drunken teenager saying 'talk about a whiter shade of pale' re. her state. One could pause to comment that, roughly speaking, I suppose he might have been about one – in his character's age – when the song came out, or in fact possibly not born at all. Anyone over forty in this show is depicted as a 'coffin-dodger', in chav parlance (thanks, Sam)

4 September 2005: George Galloway MP in the UK's Mail on Sunday, writing about the tardy relief offered to victims of the New Orleans hurricane

'Permit me this suspicion, hopefully not unworthy. On my TV screen, virtually everyone beached and wrecked by Hurricane Katrina appears to be black. Would the response, I wonder, have been any speedier had those affected been a whiter shade of pale?'

(thanks, Charlie)

From an article in the Chronicle Herald from Halifax, Nova Scotia, by Laurent le Pierrès (12 May 2006)

Well, Willie [Nelson] is a big-time biodiesel booster. Last year, the godfather of Farm Aid even launched his own company called BioWillie, which is trying to break into the truck-stop market with 'clean' fuel derived from vegetables and animal fats. (How a guy who hasn’t had a good shave in 50 years ended up selling "clean" anything is truly one of life’s rich ironies.)

Anyhow, Nova Scotia is a small-time supporter of biodiesel – as of Tuesday. That’s when the provincial budget proposed to kill the tax on the 'bio' part of your diesel (like homegrown fish-oil extract) if you fill up with blended fuel.

Now all we need is for Wilson’s Gas Stops to change their name to Willie Nelson’s, and the jingles could write themselves. Turn a Whiter Shade of Pale into a Lighter Shade of Fuel, or something like that.

OK, so that was lame ... (read the rest)

(thanks, Robert)

While sipping a new beer I had found I came across something interesting on the label. On the lower left side of the front label were the words "a paler shade of ale".
'The beer is a pale ale called "Fat Angel Ale", brewed by the Magic Hat Brewing Co., Burlington Vt.  USA.
'Hope the enclosed pictures put a smile on your faces! Oh yeah, a great tasting ale it is!

(thanks, John)

See the Procol Ale page here

Record snowfall turns NY whiter shade of pale
Adam Harvey in New York
14 February 2005

Record-breaking snowstorms buried the East Coast of the US beneath almost 70cm of snow yesterday, as New York received the biggest one-day dump since records began in the early 19th century. Manhattan was unrecognisable ... (click masthead for full story)

(thanks, Bob)

A darker shade of Milk Chocolate
and very nice it is too
Yum ... thanks, Freddie

"Pillar of the establishment Lord Hutton may have used his impeccable credentials to paint the British prime minister a whiter shade of pale, but it's my bet that behind closed doors Blair's face is turning ever puce"

Linda S Heard: Beware the purveyors of snake oil (Gulf News, 10 February 2004) Read it all here


"If you thought Hutton was a whitewash, I'm here to warn you that Lord Butler might yet come up with a whiter shade of pale."

Read it all here (thanks, Jonas)

Silent Discrimination in Sports (by Gary Norris Gray)
published 23 Oct 2005

Could the new sports world be catering to cultural imperialism? Or is this the ultimate in hypocrisy? Each year we see Major League Baseball becoming a "Whiter Shade of Pale". Asian, Latino, and White players are now dominating baseball fields all over the country. While young African Americans are not throwing the little white baseball around the diamond.

Read it all here (thanks, Robert)

'...and I've just seen Jim Maxwell turn a paler shade of white...' 
Henry 'Blowers' Blofeld, BBC R4 national radio cricket commentary, August 2005.
(thank you, Martin)

Sydney Morning Herald, 9 January 2004

"For the past few years, pale skin (à la Nicole Kidman or Cate Blanchett) has been in vogue. But my fair skin is a whiter shade of pale. Seen in its full glory, it's enough to make one gasp in wonder or fall about laughing hysterically...." Learn all about fake tan smell (!) by reading here (thanks, Jonas)

"... I told her I was going on a friend's motor trike, like the one Billy Connolly rode around Britain on. She went a whiter shade of pale."

WILL WALK DOWN THE AISLE! (story in The People, early 2004)

The bride who lost both legs in an horrific accident on the way to the church said last night: "I WILL walk down the aisle."

(thanks, Jonas)

A whiter shade of pale

The UK's Guardian Newspaper for Monday 9 September 2002 used this banner headline, conspicuously sited at the top of the back page, to introduce a story about the restoration (using 160 tonnes of chalk and 2,000 feet of timber) of the Cherhill White Horse in Wiltshire ... in the heart of crop circle country, as it happens ... which was designed in 1780 in imitation of the bronze-age hill-figure at nearby Uffington.

Thank you, Jane, Martin, et al

A Whiter Shade of Pale (headline) ... from the International Bureau of the British Local Government Association.

"A village in South Africa has banned non-white residents in an attempt to escape the escalating crime wave that is engulfing the country ..."

Full story about this village in South Africa (pdf copy here)

Thanks, Jonas

Tuning up at Dawn was read by Philip Jackson as BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week in late November 2004. Its author, Tomás Graves, son of the poet Robert Graves, was brought up in Deia, a village in Majorca, where his father kept open house for the itinerant international hippy set - a bunch of rock and folk musicians, actors, poets and other cultural luminaries. Perhaps that's why it includes the clause ' ... a whiter shade of weed like myself ...' which drew my late-night attention (RC)

Tomás Graves writes to BtP (December 2004): 'You mention my mention of the phrase "whiter shade of weed" being mentioned on the radio ( in the BBC Book of the Week slot) and I'd just like to mention that the phrase appears in the book itself in allusion to an earlier anecdote that Chas Chandler's secretary Patricia Linnick told me. Chandler was offered A Whiter Shade of Pale for The Soft Machine to record, and he turned it down "because he thought it was rubbish [...] one of pop's biggest blunders." (Tuning up at Dawn, p 62).  By the way, I wore my Procol Harum album to death when I was at boarding school, where my band's cover of Homburg stayed in our repertoire for four or five terms!' (thanks, Tomás)

Gordon Edes in The Boston Globe, 24 September 2003
"This is average for this year for us, isn't it?" said John W Henry, the Sox owner who was an even whiter shade of his usual pale after a 6–5 Red Sox win in 10 innings over the Baltimore Orioles that will rank as the season's most exhilarating on a list that undergoes revision seemingly on a daily basis.

(thanks, John)

Virginia Hennessey, in Monterey Herald, 3 Jun 2004

Like many visitors to the Monterey Bay, they flew in for a brief sojourn and decided it was just too nice to leave. The food's good, the social scene's happening and, heck, you can't beat the view, so they're staying, at least until natural instincts pull them away ...

Thanks, Robert

Whiter Shade of Pale

14 March 2005, from the UK's Guardian newspaper. Click to read the 'Country Diary', a daily feature which in this instance appraises the relative pallor of two brands of swan

Thank you, Nicholas

John Gibson in The Scotsman, 17 December 2003

"Bring back National Service! The clarion cry that turns every 18-year-old a whiter shade of pale rings out from, of all people, former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman. Hard to believe, but he's done NS himself.

Bill was conscripted into the Army in the 50s. "National Service calms you down and gives you perspective," he claims. "Perhaps I would have been more crazy without it."

Thanks, Jonas

Loh Keng Fatt writing in Asia's The Straits Times, 27 November 2003 ... A suspected case of dengue fever in Singapore:

"... It takes at most two minutes to extract the blood. The doctor slaps a plaster over the spot, asks the son to curl his arm up and says: 'You'd better lie down'.

Indeed, his face has taken on a whiter shade of pale. He protests, perhaps out of male pride, but his words do not ring with authenticity."

Thanks, Jonas

Summer 2004: Dying for a good tan?
Helen Carson in The Belfast Telegraph, 26 May 2004

The safe sun message is getting through with young people shunning the sun.

Forget bronzed and beautiful, today's teenagers prefer to be a whiter shade of pale, according to Boots scientific suncare expert, Dr Mike Brown. "Teenagers think that an overly tanned look is passe," said Dr Brown. This was one of the findings in a study carried out by Boots which also revealed that young people are more aware of the health risks associated with prolonged exposure to the sun.

Thanks, Jonas

David Gonzalez in the New York Times, 18 May 2004

A Romantic Ideal of Italy, Over a Samba Beat

"Francesco, singing to no one in particular, wandered the street singing, in Italian, A Whiter Shade of Pale. The lyrics made about as much sense in his mother tongue as they do in English, which is to say none..."

Thanks, Jonas

From an MSN 'Entertainment' page, November 2004

Kate Bosworth has recently denied rumors that she's engaged to Orlando Bloom and that she's on an all-liquid diet, but while there's no sign of a kiwi-sized diamond on her all-important finger, we have to wonder what solid food she's downing to achieve such lightweight proportions. At the Beyond the Sea premiere, the blond beauty barely fills out her demure and forgettable cap-sleeved purple dress with pleated hemline. Kate is also in serious need of some color on her whiter-shade-of-pale cheeks and lips, although we're more concerned with her lollipop look, as her regular-sized head is now out of proportion with her puny bod

Thanks, Joey

Olympic hopeful keeps feet on the ground (from Manchester online)

'Twice an Olympic silver medallist, Tergat has had a sneak preview of the Athens marathon course awaiting him and Morris in August.

He describes it as "a killer. I am not sure what time the women run but by the time the men set off, the sun will have warmed up the tarmac and it will be like running on a frying pan.

"It's going to be very tough," added Tergat as Morris turned a whiter shade of pale. "I think ignorance might be bliss," she added.

Thanks, Jonas

"A Darker Shade of Grey"


This was heard on the BBC's 6 pm news on Radio 4, 23 January, in the course of a report about a downturn in the UK stock market. It seems that the FTSE 100 index of leading UK shares has closed lower for a record ninth day in a row, making it the index's worst losing streak since it was launched in 1984. Over the last nine days, the index has shed almost 9% of its value. Geoff Randall, the BBC's Business Editor, commented that "It may not have been exactly black Monday, but today was definitely 'A Darker Shade of Grey'".

Graph of FTSE 100 index from 1995 to 2003

Thank you, Martin

A Darker Shade of Pale

Title of masterful book by Wilfrid Mellers on Bob Dylan with particular reference to the musical backdrop he grew up with: Faber and Faber 1984, ISBN 0 571 13345 2.

Mellers gives no acknowledgement of the origin of his book's title, but he obviously has a keen eye for masterworks: his book about the Beatles carries the Wagnerian title, Twilight of the Gods: so Keith Reid is in elevated (if not congenial!) company.

During lengthy discussions (2 August 2001) about the changing colour of Australian cricketer Shane Warne's dyed hair, BBC Radio 4 commentator Tim Lane remarked that on that particular day it was "rather a blonder shade of blond". I suppose this could be seen as quite a different pop reference, really.

Thank you, Martin

14 October 2003:
The UK's Guardian newspaper refers to a performance of Riverdance in China:
'Beijing's Great Hall of the people, once the reddest place on earth in political terms, turned a Gaelic shade of green to stage sell-out performances etc etc...'

Thank you, Martin

From the October 2003 issue of Modern Salon
Q&A Workshop: A Lighter Shade of Brown

Q. I need help working with brunette shades. My natural Level 3 medium-brown client wants her hair to be a lighter shade of brown. She is about 30% gray and I've been using a permanent formula of 4N mixed with a 20 volume developer. Since she wants to go lighter and a bit warmer, I looked at the chart from my color company and decided to use a color one level lighter and just a bit warmer. I mixed permanent 5G with a 20 volume developer. The results were much lighter than I expected and the roots looked red. The gray was covered. but it was far too light and warm. What did I do wrong?

For the answer ... consult with ;-)

Thanks, Beverly!

A whiter shade of Rowling [From the online Bookseller magazine of 20.02.2002]

The Daily Mail devotes two pages to the "new" J K Rowlings, perhaps unaware that voters on have already decided that J K Rowling is the "new" J K Rowling. The Mail's new J K Rowlings - Georgia Byng, Adria Meserve, Nick Singer and Katherine Roberts - are all female, seem to have a penchant for dressing in white, and appear in a very nice glamour-photo in the paper. We also learn that Byng might upgrade her "15-year-old Mercedes" with her publishing lucre; Meserve has so far received just £10,000 for her first two books; Singer still buys her clothes from Oxfam; and Roberts sold her first book to Barry Cunningham at Element, but that two weeks after it was published, the company went bust.

Thank you, Martin


Cosmic wallpaper is a greener shade of pale

(From the UK's Independent newspaper: Steve Connor, Science Editor, 11 January 2002)

Stephen Hawking once speculated that we may one day know the mind of God. Astronomers yesterday came a shade closer by revealing God's colour scheme for the heavens.

A study of the light emitted by nearly 200,000 galaxies has found that the ethereal equivalent of magnolia turns out to be a slightly greener shade of pale turquoise. The astronomers who discovered the colour call it "cosmic spectrum" because it represents the average shade for the light emitted within our neighbourhood of the universe.

Karl Glazebrook and Ivan Baldry from Johns Hopkins University told the American Astronomical Association in Washington how they collected cosmic light wavelengths and computed the red-green-blue response of the human eye. The end result is "the colour you would see if you were to view all the light in the universe together," Professor Glazebrook said.

"The colour is quite close to the standard shade 'pale turquoise' although it is a few per cent greener, the eye can easily tell. By eye the colour appears to lie between 'medium aquamarine' and 'pale turquoise'," he said.

The scientists surveyed 166,000 galaxies, using telescopes at the Anglo-Australian Observatory near Coonabarabran, Eastern Australia.

One implication of the research is that as the universe and its stars age the cosmic wallpaper will become greener.

Thanks Beverly, thanks Joan

From the New York Post, 5 May 2001 ... Rock Review; a column by one Dan Aquilante - the subject of the review was an artist named David Gray. ....not a very positive write-up - hence, the title ....

A Duller Shade of Gray

Thanks, Bert

Of the album Brighten the Corners by Pavement (1997) (see here)

Although it is certainly their most consistent and accessible release, none of the inventiveness of previous outings has been sacrificed. The playful arrangements remain and Malkmus remains master of sly, but not overwrought, references. The whimsical "Shady Lane" springs a false ending on you before the song is even halfway through. It also boasts a line that owes a debt to Procol Harum's '60s hit, when Malkmus sings of "a redder shade of neck on a whiter shade of trash".

Thanks, Marvin

A whiter shade of pale

A homeowner achieves the decor of her dreams by painting it all white [by Diane Bellissimo]

"It just wasn't quite right, but I didn't know why," says the owner of an Oakville, Ont., condo, who has spent the past six years continually redecorating without ever being satisfied. Until now.

The problem: The antique Canadiana pine furniture she owned was too dark.
The solution: Paint it white. "I've always loved white," says the homeowner. In fact, over the years, she had tried to brighten up the space by painting a mantel mirror, coat of arms and concrete cherubs white, and by introducing white accents, such as lace bedspreads draped over the sofas and a lace canopy in the master bedroom. Going all white was another matter entirely, but her decision was carefully thought out ..

Read the rest of this story on the website Mocha Sofa, 'women connecting for solutions'

Thanks, Beverly

Recyclers seek a paler shade of white

'You can try to recycle too much': much of the paper collected for recycling in Blacksburg ends up in the landfill because residents aren't sorting it correctly. Tim Myers held up a sheet of black paper found in Tuesday's batch of "white paper" recycling from Blacksburg. "That's the wrong shade of white," joked Myers, recycling coordinator at the Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority ...

16 August 2001 : Tom Angleberger in The Roanoke Times

Thanks, Snake

Tom Angleberger wrote to BtP in October to say, 'I was proud to see my article listed but in truth I can't take credit for it. My editor BRIAN K Kelley wrote the headline. He's an accomplished punster!'

THE AUSTRALIAN (Australia's national daily newspaper)
Multicultural Australia examined: census reveals whiter shade of pale
By George Megalogenis, 9 May 2002

Australia remains one of the whitest nations on the planet. Almost nine in every 10 residents (89.24 per cent) is Anglo-Celtic or continental. The Anglo-Celts represent 71.45 per cent of the population and continental Europeans 17.79 per cent ...

There is nothing remarkable in Australia's colour chart. We are not as white as the northern Europeans. Norway, for instance, has a combined Asian and black African population of just 4.7 per cent, leaving a white majority of 95.3 per cent ...

Australia is one of the few nations that does not explicitly colour-code its population with labels such as white and black. The US census breaks down race into six categories: "White, black or African-American; American Indian and Native Alaskan; Asian; Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders; and some other race." ... The UK census uses the term white ... The Canadians are more subtle. Their census does not mention whites at all. Instead, it refers to "visible minorities", which include "black" ... [full story here]

Thanks, Joan

BBC website, 30 October, 2000: White leader's darker shade of pale

The leader of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance has been accused of changing his political colours - literally. Weekend papers suggested that the latest local election posters for the party - which has mainly white support - showed party leader Tony Leon looking several shades darker than usual. Mr Leon and his party have moved quickly to shrug off speculation that this could be a subtle attempt to win over black and coloured voters.

"Speak to the printers," Mr Leon was quoted as saying on Sunday, "I've got nothing to do with this."

He admitted that he had had a holiday in the sun, as well as a haircut, before the picture was taken. But he dismissed as "bizarre" the light-hearted speculation that the new look was intended to appeal to dark-skinned voters.

Thanks, Bulbonis

May 2001:
'A Los Angeles conservative radio talk show host, Hugh Hewitt, is using AWSoP as bumper music on his morning program on KRLA AM to lampoon California's Gray Davis with A Darker Shade of Gray. The song never fails to sound great crackling the air waves even under dubious conditions.'

Thanks, Bert

A Whiter Shade of Pale: White Floribundas [By Jeff Wyckoff at The Official Website for the Seattle Rose Society]

White roses have been around for a long time. Many of the 100 to 250 (depending upon whose list you consult) species or wild roses that we know today are white. As a family, the Albas (Latin for "white") established themselves early in many parts of Europe, and appear throughout English history in references to the "white rose of York" and the "Jacobite rose." ...

Thanks, Beverly

San Francisco Chronicle, 29 June 2001: from review of the film 'crazy/beautiful' by Wesley Morris:

"....[Kirsten] Dunst's face is itself some kind of 12-step program. She looks as if she's been launched from a confetti gun, her hair wet with bong water and skin chilled to a whiter shade of bathtub pale ..."

Thanks, Joan

By Andrew Loung, of Varsity Staff, web-posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2001

A whiter shade of pale: the lack of diversity on U of T faculty

The University of Toronto faces a future with little visible minority representation on its faculty, say concerned members of the University's academic community.

Thanks, Beverly

Sophia's whiter shade of pale

This article from London's Evening Standard (4 Sept 2002) purports to inform us that Ms Loren still has 'a wonderful face for a woman of 67' but regrets that her 'off the bosom' dress reveals that 'from the chin down the decades are starting to show' - and confides to her that 'it never does for your face to be a different, paler colour from the rest of your upper body' when it's the arms and hands that separate 'the grandmothers from the girls'. Impidence!


Thanks, John

Find out how a Swedish poet uses 'A Whiter Shade of Pale'
in a novel: click on the cover picture.

A more mauvey Shade of pinky russet

"It is of course perfectly natural to assume that everyone else is having a far better time than you. Human beings have a phrase 'The other man's grass is always greener' which describes this phenomenon. The Sheltenack race of Brupekedrin 13 had a similar phrase, but since their planet is somewhat eccentric botanically speaking, the best they could manage was 'The other Sheltenack's jupleberry shrub is always a more mauvey shade of pinky russet' and so the expression soon fell into disuse ... and the Sheltenacks had little option but to become terribly happy and contented with their lot - much to the surprise of everyone in the galaxy, who had not realised that the best way not to be unhappy was not to have a word for it."

From The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

An Off-Whiter Shade of Pale (a nightie from the Vermont Country Store)

Winter white, winter warm, this soft, romantic 100% cotton flannel nightgown has white embroidered flowers, eyelet embroidery, and pintucking on the button front, while the round neckline, sleeves, and hem are trimmed with white eyelet lace. The long sleeves have gentle elastic around the wrist. 51" long. Machine wash and dry. Imported.

S(6-8), M(8-10),
L(10-12), 1X(14-16),
2X(16-18), 3X(20-22)

Embroidered Flannel Gown

Thanks, Nina

Robert Kitson, in The Guardian newspaper of 21 May 2001, reporting on Leicester's (superb) victory over Stade Français in the Rugby Union European Cup Final, remarks at one point that "... Dorian West's face ... was turning a worrying shade of puce."

Thank you, Martin

From Modern Jeweler's Consumer Guide to Colored Gemstones (Vance Publishing Corp., Lincolnshire IL USA, 1990).

Fancy Brown Diamond: "And once in the realm of off-white, you're really entering the realm of color, even if subtly ... brown diamonds-whose lighter shades of pale often face up far better than their more expensive yellowish-white counterparts ..."

Kunzite: "Hot lights can, and do, turn this stone a whiter shade of pale, although color loss is usually very gradual."

(Brown diamonds can vary from nearly colorless through off-white to yellow to brown; kunzite ranges from pink to deep violet.)

Thanks, Nancy

A Darker Shade of Pale

This variant title has quite an online presence with this girlie club, this online novel, and this fan-site for Buffy the Vampire Slayer

While driving along Sunset Blvd. yesterday, I spotted the phrase A Different Shade of Yellow looming down on me from a billboard. It was advertising a product called 'Doc's Hard Lemonade'. I suppose yet another slogan having AWSoP as its antecedent. [1 June 2001]

Thanks, Jeremy

From an article on celebrity plastic surgery by Sally Ogle Davis and Ivor Davis

"It's the nature of existence in the latter part of the 20th century," says dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein, the man who brought the collagened lip to America and is responsible for Michael Jackson's whiter shade of pale, "if you want something done and you happen to be famous, you'll get it done."

Thanks, Unsteady Freddie

'Whiter Shade of Pale'
Mutant X Episode Number 11, first aired 26 January 2002
Writer Tony Di Franco, director Terry Ingram

Synopsis: A new mutant capable of going without sleep is preparing to deliver a gene resequencer (built by Adam) that Jesse and Brennan deliver to him, when it is stolen by an invisible thief. Adam tracks the gene sequencer to an old girlfriend and new mutant, Danielle. She only stole the resequencer to attract his attention, and leaves until they can rendezvous later. Then a new mutant/feral working for Eckart, Aldus, shows up, beats the snot out of Adam, and take the sequencer. Meanwhile, Emma and Shalimar have tracked Danielle to her home and found she has a daughter with the same invisibility powers. Danielle's powers are out of control, and Adam needs the gene reseqencer to cure her. Adam temporarily stabilizes Danielle, who goes to visit Eckhart, whom she has a history with. Meanwhile, Emma uses her powers to get the resequencer from Aldus. Eckhart tries to take Danielle prisoner, but Adam, Brennan and Jesse defeat his men and Aldus. Using her daughter's gene sequence, Adam manages to stabilize Danielle. Mother and daughter leave, but not before Danielle tells Adams that her daughter is not Adam's (and hints she may be Eckhart's). Meanwhile, Eckhart poisons Aldus for failing him.

Notes [from TVTome Site]: ... It's not clear what the significance of the title is to the episode. There's a song title by that name [sic], but typically if an episode uses such a song title, they make some kind of allusion to it in the script itself.

Joan May says: perhaps the title was meant to describe the invisibility power of the mother and daughter, or the mother's sickly appearance.

Thanks, Joan

"You might wish to examine issue No 184 of Ceramic Review (The international magazine of ceramics), to which Gulielma Dowrick of New Zealand contributed an article entitled A Whiter Shade of Pale."

Thank you, Martin

The language of Gulielma's article in issue No 187 ("... these glazes have ingredients like gerstley borate in quantities which flocculate the liquid ...") suggests that the above-mentioned treatise (on 'White glazes for stoneware temperatures') will not fail to disappoint ...

The Guardian newspaper (Tuesday 14 November 2000) had as the main headline on its letters page

"A very pale shade of green", referring to half-a-dozen letters from correspondents bewailing the lack of environmental responsibility shown by the UK government and many of its citizens.

Thank you, Martin

'A band called Fates Warning, a progressive metal band, in 1997 recorded a 55+ minute concept album called A Pleasant Shade of Grey. It actually happens to be very good.' (sample)

Thanks, Aaron

A Whiter Shade of Wash

From British satirical magazine, Private Eye, No 1024, 23 March 2001

[Britain's high-profile Cabinet Minister for Northern Island, Peter Mandelson, resigned when allegations emerged that he had interceded and used his influence to help obtain British citizenship for some Indian businessmen who had made million-pound sterling donations to the Millennium Dome, whose construction Mandelson ('Mandy') was overseeing.

Accepting Mandelson's resignation, Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons that the Minister had paid the penalty for wrongdoing, and he asked senior lawyer and former Treasury solicitor Sir Anthony Hammond to prepare a report.

Hammond's report entirely exonerated Mandelson ... hence Private Eye's 'whitewash' jokes]

Thank you, Martin

Recycling of AWSoP words:
Nicholas Clare writes to BtP (March 2001): 'In the contents page of last month's Mountain Biking UK magazine the section-heading 'Escape' has the sub-heading 'Skipping the light fandango - but no cartwheels on the floor'. Don't know why it is cartwheels on the floor as opposed to across the floor.

Thanks, Bodger

On page 4 of the metro section of [5 April 2001]'s New Yawk Times there's an article about the frequent recent sightings of pale cinnamon brown, as opposed to the usual gray-colored squirrels, in Manhattan. Page 1 of that section has a couple of photos pertaining to the article and the headline A lighter shade of squirrel scampers across the parks."

Thanks, Marvin

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Tim Dorsey is a Florida author who has written five or six novels, who lives in Tampa Bay: he was a reporter and editor for the Tampa Tribune from 1987-1999.

His second novel (2000) is Hammerhead Ranch Motel and it contains a strong Procolism (thanks, Judith)

Click here to buy the novel from Amazon USA

"Good, good" said Serge. "Nothing to it. I was telling Lenny about my first hurricane party back in '65. That was Betsy, killed seventy-four. Donna, back in '60, killed one forty-eight, but I wasn't born yet. Then there was Okeechobee in '28, killed eighteen hundred out at the lake, but the big one was Galveston in 1900, six thousand perished." The men turned a whiter shade of pale.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Serge said with an awkward laugh. "Getting off-track. Like I was saying, you want to keep thinking good thoughts. My first hurricane party was a blast. We were over on the east coast in Riviera Beach, just above West Palm. When she started to blow, we cut the power in the house so there wouldn't be a fire. We lit candles and played Monopoly in the hallway. We had a big metal drum of Charles Chips and we listened to our little transistor radio for the mounting death toll down in Fort Lauderdale and Miami......" The goons went green ...


A Whiter Shade of Pale / Becoming Emma : Two Novellas:
see some reviews here


Thanks, Beverly

Click on the book title for more information


6-5: A Different Shade of Blue

Steven Herberts

A Darker Shade of Bale

Sabine Bussing

A Darker Shade of Crimson

Pamela Thomas-Graham

A darker shade of pale

Vern Trewartha

A Darker Shade of Pale : A Backdrop to Bob Dylan

Wilfrid Howard Mellers

A Deadly Shade of Gold

John D MacDonald

A Deadly Shade of Green

Prem Willis-Pitts

A Deeper Shade of Grace

Bernadette Keaggy

A Hazy Shade of Winter

(but as Peter Christian reminds us: '... surely A Hazy Shade of Winter is from Paul Simon and nothing to do with AWSoP, which it predates').

R Patrick Riley

A Lighter Shade of Blue : The Lighthearted Memoirs of an Air Marshal

Christopher Foxley-Norris

A Paler Shade of White : The History of White People in America

Martin Mull, Allen Rucker

A white thought in a white shade : new and selected poems

James Liddy

Another Shade of Blue

John Miller

Another Shade of Blue : Sun Ra on Record

Chris Trent

Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano

Ruben, Jr. Navarrette

Just Another Shade of Blue

Charles Porter

Just another shade of brown

Lorna Wright

Lighter Shade of Brown (Indigo: Sensuous Love Stories)

Vicki Andrews

Nightwing : A Darker Shade of Justice

Chuck Dixon

Red, White & a Paler Shade of Blue

Mary Kinnunen

Scott Walker : A Deep Shade of Blue

Mike Watkinson, Pete Anderson

Shade of Pale

Greg Kihn

Thinkpad : A Different Shade of Blue

Deborah A. Dell

9 May 2000:

The Scotsman runs an article on page 14 of its S2 supplement about the real Sally Bowles (from Cabaret) titled 'Just Wild About Sally'. It begins, "She had a face like an Egyptian mask, with immense, shadowy dark eyes to match her black hair. Her complexion was powdered a whiter shade of pale and the fingernails on her grubby, nicotine-stained hands were painted a divinely decadent emerald green."

(Thanks, Axel)

Click image to read more

Surving [sic] A Visit Home
"It's hard enough for any child that has fled the nest to return home for a family visit / party. Well take those problems and mix in a good helping of queerness, multiply by ten and you have disastor [sic] written all over your Conran table. Well read this little file for practicle [sic] advice on what to say and do without revealing your fabulous little secret."

Eclipse turns Moon a deeper shade of red

From the BBC Web news front page, 21 Jan 2000 (thanks, Peter)

Pictorial proof here should you require it

A television program called HOMICIDE Life on the Streets was on the air for several years. It was a great show, but never got the ratings (read sales). As a series it went off the air last year. Last Sunday (13 February 2000) evening a two-hour special sort of reunited all the players in one last episode that gave it closure: a moving ending that made me miss the series all the more.

In a scene where two white detectives have been told to go and interview a militant black suspect, one of the detectives, Richard Belzer as Munch, sez,

"Yeah, that's a good idea ... send in two Whiter Shade of Pale guys like us to see him". (Thanks, Leo)

From Dinner with a Stranger at the Whip Mark's [sic!] website : read more of this inept stuff at your own peril!

Later, in her bedroom I was to stammer nervously: "W-what is th-th-that for?"

"You know exactly what it's for, little man" she said, predatory glare in amber eyes. "I always find a man a much better lover after he's had his naughty bare bottom warmed."

"You do!?"

My face once just ghostly turned a lighter shade of pale. The predator's smile broadened as she witnessed my increased excitement, then she resumed her stern demeanor. A magnificent 5' 10", she was far from being a small. I, dressed in only clumsy white Y-fronts, felt scarcely 6'. Not surprising since I'm only 5' 6". The beautiful woman who'd had [sic] just transformed into a stunning dominatrix tossed the paddle on the bed, sat next the paddle crooking a finger at me, beckoning. "Come here, little man."

San Francisco Chronicle, 27 November 1997: [front page of Datebook Section -- preview of top articles]:

Shades of Pale
The trend for spring colors is cool, soothing and delicate

And from the actual article on page C13:
"... spring's five leading colors based on the designer collections. They are: blue / turquoise, skewed to green; soft powder blue; creamy custardy yellow; gray; and fandango pink, which is not a real bright fuchsia ..."

Time Magazine, 2 November 1998:

American Scene
Hue Must Be Joking
by Nadya Labi / South Gate


A town cloaked in shades of pale shudders as homes cross the color barrier

Sports shoes of some kind or other

Entertainment Weekly magazine, 20 November 20, 1998, article on The Big Chill by Lisa Schwartzbaum:

"... A decade and a half later, that group hug is imitated, in a whiter shade of pale, by countless young-demo shows on TV ..."

60 Minutes TV show - piece on Tom Wolfe, 22 November 1998:

"His suits cover the full spectrum of white, from cream to a lighter shade of pale, and he does not apologize for his foppishness ..."

TV Guide, Cheers and Jeers, 24 April 1999:

"Cheers to a pixilated pairing [a Miller Lite commercial featuring George Hamilton and Edgar Winter] ...The gag, of course, is the chiaroscuro contrast in complexion between the sun-roasted actor and the whiter-shade-of-pale rocker...."

A whiter shade of pale [title] John Mullan in The Guardian, 10 July 2002
Word of the week: Ecru

It is the colour of our times ... . Deep in home improvements this week, wading through catalogues, I found ecru everywhere ... The wonderful thing about "ecru" is that it appears to be a real colour, not just some copywriter's clever coinage. Indeed, despite its sudden recent prominence, the word has been with us since the 1860s. It derives from the French "écru" meaning "raw" or "unbleached", supposedly referring to the colour of unbleached linen ...

They are special, these colour words that fix themselves in the language and become as natural as, say, "pink", not used until the 1820s. A famous example is "mauve" (coined 1859, from the French for "mallow") ... contemporary was "magenta" ... an Italian town where the French and Sardinians defeated the Austrians, it gave its name to the colour of a crimson dye discovered shortly afterwards.

The 19th century ... saw the emergence of many new colour-words ... "cyan" and "beige" in 1879 ... "taupe" (from the French for "moleskin"), first spotted in a fashion article in the Glasgow Herald in 1921 ... "teal" ... found in a dress advertisement in 1923.

Thanks, Beverly

Entertainment Weekly Magazine April 12, 1991

Dollars And Sex
The Escape Club Dollars and Sex (Atlantic; CD, tape)

In 1988, this British band somehow made it to No 1 with their clumsy if mildly catchy single Wild, Wild West. They have not been humbled by the experience. Throughout their second album, lead singer Trevor Steel spends most of his time brushing off women unworthy of his newfound celebrity. There's the space-cadet bimbo he meets at a club in Call It Poison, the woman to whom he sings "All I need is a night with you / Do all the things that I want to do" (notice the emphasis on I, not we, in the second line), and the uppity babe he dismisses in So Fashionable ("She got cheekbones, she got legs / She got a million-dollar beautiful empty head"). As on their debut album, the music is heavy-handed white-boy funk-a whiter shade of INXS. Just remember, boys: Fame is fleeting. [grade] F: David Browne

Entertainment Weekly, Fall, 1995 Cover Story

Fall Movie Preview Also In September

.... The Addiction

A Brainy Young philosophy graduate student (Lili Taylor) gets sucked into the nightmare world of the undead in Abel Ferrara's black-and-white indie vampire tale. No stranger to the dark side himself, Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant) fittingly cast Christopher Walken, who really is a whiter shade of pale, as one of the hemophiles who guides Taylor through her bloodthirsty journey. "What can you say?" explains Ferrara. "The guy's a national treasure." (Sept. 29)

From the San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle, Sunday Datebook Section, 16 April 2000.



The San Francisco Zoo welcomes the return of an old friend, Antoine LeBlanc, a rare white alligator who first visited the Bay Area in 1996. At that time, Antoine was 6 feet long.

He's added 4 feet to his length since then, not to mention some weight. He'll hang around until October in a new exhibit area in the Aviary Building.

From the San Francisco Examiner

"A WHITER SHADE OF PALE FOR PG&E {PG&E is Pacific Gas and Electric, the California public utility -- jm}

Examiner Staff Report 20 August 1996

Nothing is sacred in the realm of the corporate cost-cutter, not even the familiar blue of PG&E trucks. To save as much as $500,000 annually, the utility said it would no longer paint its work vehicles and equipment blue. They arrive at PG&E white and white they shall remain...."

From San Francisco Chronicle:

"Animal Magnetism From Manson : Review by James Sullivan, Sunday 20 September 1998

3 stars


Mechanical Animals Nothing / Interscope, $16.98

"... It's a concept album of sorts, addressing the torment and inflated self-perceptions of rock-star hedonism in the manner of Pink Floyd's The Wall. Manson's propensity is for the visual. The cover of Mechanical Animals features the singer as a transgender nude - not exactly anatomically correct, and not exactly a healthy shade of pale, either ..."

From San Francisco Examiner

Love exists amid racism, but painfully : Michael Buffington


"Editor's note: For millions of young fans around the world, the question posed by Michael Jackson's latest incarnation has nothing to do with controversial lyrics. Rather it's Jackson's ever-lighter shade of pale ..."

From San Francisco Chronicle:

"HOT STUFF : Wednesday, 24 December 1997


Home Accessories in a Whiter Shade of Pale by Diane Dorrans Saeks

"First-time visitors to Alabaster, a new design store in Hayes Valley, might wonder where all the color has gone. The store's superbly edited collections of accessories and furniture are all in paled-down tones of ivory, white, eggshell, cream, buff, beige and off-white. There's no strident color - and no pattern whatsoever. Alabaster's chic merchandise also includes architectural ceramic vases and chargers by Pentimento, pressed-glass compotes and cake pedestals, hand-tinted photographs and vintage furniture - all in shades of alabaster, of course ... "

From San Francisco Chronicle

"49ers Blow Cover - On Their Way To Super Bowl : Scott Ostler

Monday 9 September 1996

The 49ers tried to sneak into the season through the back door, with a 1-3 practice-game record and so many seemingly legitimate concerns that George Seifert's hair was turning a whiter shade of pale. But they have blown their cover. With only 14 games remaining in the regular season, the 49ers are Super Bowl-bound, baby......."

From San Francisco Chronicle

"Science Fiction - Reality Slicer, Banshee Dicer and Rain Taker : Michael Berry, Special to The Chronicle

Sunday 30 November 1997

"... Bay Area rock musician Greg Kihn follows up his award-winning first novel, Horror Show, with a second occult thriller, Shade of Pale (Forge; 255 pages; $21.95). ... Shade of Pale is a no-nonsense supernatural thriller, lean and low key ..."

In April 2001 the Norwegian TV station NRK 1 aired a programme about all those inexpensive Eastern European dance bands that play in hotels and ships all over Europe. They were following the Bulgarian band The Jet Set in particular, and while on their first gig on a boat between Denmark and England the drummer got very seasick. "He is like A Whiter Shade of Pale" one of the singers commented.

'Our local weekly paper (the [lamentable] Wilts and Glos Standard) carried the (depressing) front-page headline this week, following the UK's 2005 General Election:

"Election results turn many areas a deeper shade of blue"'

thanks, Gummo)

Lastly, a special case: Leslie Deak in 1997 on Nanci Griffith (here)

... In her latest album, Blue Roses from the Moons ... the band ... an upright bass in the almost-orchestral-feeling Waiting for Love (in which Griffith sings the best line on the disc, "Whiter shade of pale is my best-kept secret," in a silent nod to the Procol Harem-esque [sic] nature of the tune) ...


More about A Whiter Shade of Pale

Thanks to Joan May for getting this particular ball rolling

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