26. Can sperm be a gift?

Have you ever seen a Persian cat panic?  They stick out their little pink tongues and pant. I’ll put money on the fact that there’s a bit of that going on in 312 this morning.

That’s because the purpose of the trip is finally upon us. We’re going to meet Orla May at 1pm and I have a very nervous  friend,  one floor below me in his own gorgeous room, prowling around and panting slightly I have no doubt.

If you’ve been with me from the beginning of this trip, you’ll recall that Stuart gifted the other half of what was required to make a baby  to his old friend and her girlfriend.  And it worked perfectly as now they have a beautiful little four month old girl called Orla May and we are in London to meet her.

Donor sperm is having a cultural moment it seems to me. “The kids are all right”,  “The backup plan”,  “The switch” – mainstream movies  for mainstream people with baby batter at the heart of them. And now we’re in our own film. Stuart is the protaganist. I have a small but stunning role playing a woman who knows too well the deep heart pain that unconditional love can bring and am standing by to catch the donor should he be blindsided by it.

Can sperm actually be a gift with red ribbon but no string attached?

Batter up folks. We’re going in.

25. Women talk too much

Just putting it out there. I’m sure if you’d been trapped  in Eurostar’s carriage 7 seat 23 with the world’s dullest woman in seat 20, I think you’d agree. Although you might be kinder and say THAT woman talks too much.  Which is possibly true, but not much of a story.

Unbelievable the shit she dribbled out over 90 minutes. From politics to Martha Stewart to currency exchange rates to what friends (who clearly can’t get a word in edgeways) were up to, she shamelessly segued from subject to subject and she was emphatically correct at all times. 90 minutes. 90. Minutes. There went the romance of train travel. Thanks love.

just a thought

I couldn’t get a word in edgeways to tell her of course but for me there is nothing like the contentment of companionable silence.  Stuart and I are very good at it.  Perhaps it’s my Southern roots; if you’ve got nothing to say, don’t say anything.  Or  say something funny.

Enough said.

24. It doesn’t need a reason

I can last about two hours in a gallery without needing to leave and  look at the sky. And a visit to the Pompidou Centre proved no exception.  I was taken by Yayoi Kasuma’s retrospective, a Japanese artist I have greatly admired since seeing her work at Sydney’s MCA a few years ago. She seeks obliteration – of herself and the environment around her – by covering it in  exquisite dots.

But it was a piece of work from Jan Mancuska that grabbed me by the throat.  The same conversation, told three ways, colliding in the middle. I don’t know why I loved it so much, but that’s the great thing about art. It doesn’t need a reason.

Jan Mancuska 'Oedipus' 2006 (detail)

23. Scene of the crime

 So we found ourselves in yet another Paris bar drinking house red. Unusual I know. And to be honest we thought it was tres ordinaire – until I found myself talking to some locals.

La Perle has been a famous fashionista hangout for years – like one hundred years – and is total facehunter territory. Like SPQR. But not.  There was a rumour that to ensure the bar went off every night , they laced the beer with absinthe. It’s never been proven of course.

It’s latest claim to infamy is that ‘that booth over there’ was where John Galliano’s anti-semitic ourburst took place. In New Zealand, we would put a plaque up. In France, we just order another vin rouge and smile.

After dark it's a different story altogether

21. Love letter to Hotel du Petit Moulin

I can not tell you how much I love this funny little hotel.

Nestled on the corner of Rue de Poutou in the bosom of the Marais district, this 17th century building, the site of an ancient bakery, has been completely renovated. For me.  Well perhaps it was renovated for some other people too, but I don’t want to think about them. The hotel facade dates back to the 19th century, as does the shop sign, and apparently they’re both registered as historic monuments.  (Like I will be in another ten years).

Christian La Croix is the man behind the interiors and I’m not going to lie to you, they are very ‘sweetie darling’. Every room is unique and  as mad as a redhead who’s just broken a nail.

I am sure the staff are actors; they are all so perfectly french – charming and  flirty  and helpful to a fault but with a faint whiff of  amusement at our gauche antipodean-ness.

The location too is a show stopper. Two minutes to  the exquisite Rose’s bakery and  a maximum of ten minutes walk to the coolest bars, bistros, creperies and boutiques in Paris (or twenty minutes in a Loubatain, bearing in mind the cobblestones).

It’s the second time I’ve stayed in two years; both times it had me at Bonjour.



20. I’m sure someone was watching

20. I’m sure someone was watching

Hey maybe this guy works for me and I don't even know it?

Felt very secretly royal tonight.

We threw ourselves at Paris, as we’re back on the Eurostar to London late tomorrow.  We went for a cruise on the Seine (strangely only ten people shared our boat, although the other boats seemed packed), took a spin on a carousel  with lots of wooping and giggling (very exclusive, the only two on it),  and much promenading with an abnormal amount of personal space around us.

It was like the secret service was clearing the way.

To top it all off, we stumbled into the middle of the most stunning open air  photography exhibition, right on the banks of the river. It was called Photoquai, and the rest of the signage was  in French so I’m damned if I know what it was all about apart from to shock, to move, to stimulate, to excite.  As you can imagine I was right at home. That’s an average day’s set of emotions for us at Radiation.

These were three of my favourite photographs. Or maybe they’re my secret service?

This guy definitely doesn't work for me. We dont do smoko breaks

19. Two million people and none of them lost with us

I like to think it’s a special skill of ours, being able to make finding the toilet in a large public structure such an adventure. We ended up on Level -2, just me and Stu , waiting for the laser beams to set off the alarms and bring on the swat teams. They might have cut back on the underground security men, but they didn’t spare any expense on the columns, I’ll tell you that much.

Eventually found our way out, and lived to tell the tale of course. It’s what we do.

18. Bed for six madame?

So we found ourselves at a hotspot called Derrriere for dinner. It’s fair to say, we were reasonably oblivious that it was a hot spot til well after the event. I think that’s the antenna that secret royalty are born with (sort of like a gaydar but for a different kind of appetite).

A quirky home away from home interior, the idea for this family apartment-style venue was to be able to entertain friends “at home” every night.  That’s if you’re okay about them eating in every room of the house. The name comes from its location apparently, right at the back of its two siblings 404 and Andy Wahloo.

Customers may end up  in the lounge, dining room, bedroom or boudoir. We were in one of the ‘bedrooms’  where we had our own little bench seat.  There were half a dozen people sitting on the bed though as two sides were used as seating. A lot of sexy  french laughter as folk were ushered to their ‘bed’ for the evening.

Very entertaining evening and, once again for me, so happy not to have the loudest laugh in the room.  Like going home.

I return from the bathroom to this. Is he trying to kill me?