How to paint this wall

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Stripped lining paper off and filled lotsa holes/cracks but, as you can see, the plaster is all different colours and materials probably. What's thr best way to prepare this for painting. I don't wanna use lining paper so is there a base coat that would do the job or should I go to the expense of getting the walls skimmed?
 
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Apologies
 

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The colour makes me think it is an old house that has been distempered. See if you can clean a patch with kettle hot water

Distemper is unsatisfactory to paint and will need lining paper. It is hard and slow to clean off.

I don't wanna use lining paper
Tough.
 
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That's a shame. It is an old hous. I have used Zinisser paint in the past to block stains. Is this not possible? Failing that, would skimming be an option?
 
Yes. Plastering is expensive. I just had a couple of ceilings boarded and plastered and got little change from £1,000.
I guess I should establish whether or not it actually is distemper. Is there any definitive test I could do?
After a bit more research, I came acoss this:
https://community.screwfix.com/threads/emulsion-over-distemper.89908/
Anyone used this or a similar product? If it works, it could solve my problem.
 

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