Home reno advice sadly lacking in Fifty Shades

Last updated 09:38 20/08/2012

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Bob Irvine

Answering the call of the wild Fast food favourites from friends A plea for those who merely stand and wait At least there was chocolate at Easter And now, a word about all these goings on Germs and rules lurks round every corner Backyard moonscape is fertile ground for fakery Warm fuzzies and buzzies in Deep South When we were very young Hats off to the people who honour promises

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.

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"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.

- Nelson


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