Home reno advice sadly lacking in Fifty Shades

21:38, Aug 19 2012

The old house is due for a tart up, so I nipped into Page & Blackmore to pick up a book on interior decorating. Fifty Shades of Grey looked promising. I guess it includes a paint chart.

"BDSM", said the blurb on the back. That's a new one on me. It might stand for Brushes, Dropcloth, Sandpaper and Masking-tape. Grey, though, is a whisker away from the dreaded taupe, so I went for a companion volume called Fifty Shades of Blue.

I'm halfway through and not a mention of rag-rolling. The plot's a bit lame too. This young woman called Ana goes off to interview a super-rich political hotshot called Jonathon Blue in his office.

She trips and tumbles into the great man's presence.

"Double crap. Me and my two left-leaning feet again. I steel myself and look up. Holy cow, he's gorgeous. And so youthful. He doesn't look a day over $50 million.

"Are you all right?" says Mr Blue. My blood flames.


He offers me a manicured hand as I haul myself into a chair.

"I have some questions, Mr Blue," I gasp.

"I'm sure I can sidestep them after a call to Melbourne," he says with a wink, sitting on the edge of his desk. My inner goddess chews her thumbnail.

"You are riding incredibly high in the polls," I riposte.

"Politics is about people," says Mr Blue. "I hire people who know people. What makes them tick; what makes them kneejerk."

"You sound like some sort of control freak.”

"I exercise control in all things," he says, picking up a riding crop to sweep two sets of handcuffs discreetly into his top drawer. "Sorry, I've just had a Cabinet meeting in here."

I am staggered by his lack of humility. He is heartstoppingly beautiful, though. My inner goddess twiddles a lock of her hair.

"Do you feel you have immense power?" I ask.

"I have a mandate." He leans forward. "May I call you Ana?"

My inner goddess splinters into pieces.

"Ana, are you old enough? To vote, I mean."

I nod. Holy crap. This is no time to mention that I am an electoral virgin, newly enfranchised and yet to cohabit with a polling booth.

"Ana, I think we can do wonderful things together, for the country,' says Jonathon Blue, "but I have certain rules . . ."

He hands a 20-page document to me.

"Contract", it reads. ‘The following is a binding three-year agreement between the Dominant and the Submissive."

My eyes widen. I read on, hardly able to contain the riotous feelings that rage through my body.

"1A: The Dominant shall take responsibility, but no blame, for the state of the nation.

"1B: The Submissive shall acquiesce.

"2A: The Dominant shall embrace socialism - for the rich - and capitalism for the poor.

"2B: The Submissive shall aspire to be rich.

"3A: The Dominant shall spend $1.7 billion bailing out South Canterbury Finance investors - more than all the Treaty of Waitangi settlements combined.

"3B: The Submissive shall feel that race-based Treaty handouts are indefensible.

"4A: The Dominant shall mortgage the nation to the eyeballs, and pass the bill on to our children.

"4B: The Submissive shall mortgage her soul for a big-screen TV.

"5A: The Dominant shall sell off the assets that would have given our children some small chance of paying back the bill.

"5B: The Submissive shall not complain when power prices go through the roof.

"6A: The Dominant shall eye a $1.7b ‘holiday highway' that gets his Auckland friends to their Bay of Islands mansions 10 minutes quicker.

"6B: The Submissive shall applaud investment in infrastructure.

"7A: The Dom shall throw poor people into the voracious maw of pokie machines.

"7B: The Sub shall buy a Big Wednesday ticket for the Porsche, the Audi and a 100-gram wedge of havarti and chives cheese. "

I'm lost at this point. Suddenly we are talking newspapers and sandwiches. Fifty Shades of Blue continues . . .

"8A: The Dominant shall set up charter schools with untrained teachers and no curriculum, because he values education.

"8B: The Submissive shall be educated in the school of hard knocks, which will do her a power of good.

"9A: The Dominant shall ignore report after report that the wages of resthome workers are a disgrace.

"9B: The Submissive shall feel that workers ought to be realistic in the present climate."

Mr Blue hands me a pen.

"Sign. Incidentally, are you into MMP? Do you like dressing up? Coat-tails, that sort of thing."

"Coat-tails? No."

"That's a shame. They work fine for me. You'll wear it anyway."

My inner goddess slips a hand into her bag to answer a text from her friend Katherine, whose ex-boyfriend has just posted their bedroom snaps on Facebook . . ."

And so the book goes on for another 300 kinky pages. Unless the boyfriend is holding a roller in those bedroom pics I'm not interested. Where's the tips on how to remove a stippled ceiling? Or trim your wallpaper for a neat fit around a light switch? Very disappointing.