Characteristically late for Kathy Lette‘s Press Literary Liaison last week I rounded the corner of a steepish Lyttelton Street and saw a woman in the distance. She was descending the hill in red heels high enough to require the support of an escort and the fact that she wasn’t from New Zealand was obvious a block away, I’m not sure why. Was it that she was wearing bright colours? Was it the shoes? The grooming?
Whatever it was, it was immediately evident that she wasn’t a civilian and it turned out to be the lady herself, resplendent in a suit featuring fabric printed with the latest book cover. Where do you get something like that made? I should have asked her but she was just a bit too scary.
It was an extremely polished performance and one that had obviously been done many times before, more stand up comedy routine than book reading, with a very nice class of name-dropping. Barry Humphries lives over the back in London, when he’s home Lette gets an email to say he is “poised at her rear entrance”. Donna’s fave Stephen Fry is another neighbour. Deep sighs greeted the story of writing for an American sitcom in the eighties and turning down a date with a young unknown because she didn’t “date actors. They put other people’s words in their mouths without knowing where they’ve been”. Years later, at home with two young children and covered in vomit she turned on ER and was transfixed by what she’d missed – George Clooney.
My favourite name was Nigella Lawson – Lette’s husband was engaged to her before he married Lette and she often wonders if he’s had cause to regret it, as she “uses her smoke detector as a timer”.
The one liners just kept on coming; these are a few that I remember. Breast feeding mothers are “meals on heels”, any woman who says she’s not a feminist has “kept her Wonderbra and burnt her brain”, she wrote Puberty Blues to show her friends they didn’t need to be “sperm spitoons” and when called upon to present the cups at a recent polo match she found Princes William and Harry are not averse to a bit of “flirtation and frottage”.
For women of a certain age (and they seemed to make up most of the audience) Puberty Blues was one of those passed from hand to hand books, still fondly remembered thirty years later. As Lette is about to turn fifty next up is Menopause Blues – how can she resist? I would certainly recommend seeing her if she comes out to promote it.
In the meantime all her books are amusing light reads, perfect for the holidays.