Lette the beach be the best of times
Once a surfie girl from Cronulla, it’s hard to imagine Kathy Lette, co-author of Puberty Blues living across the fence from a dame, Edna no less, writes Chanel Parratt
“I ENDED up living here by mistake,” she says as she describes how she fell in love with human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson in London.
Lette was 17 when she cowrote Puberty Blues with Gabrielle Carey.
A best-selling book, then a film and now a second TV series produced by Channel 10.
Is it as thrilling to see it come to life now as it was when you were 17?
I’m currently enduring my fourth puberty. First there was my actual puberty, then the book, then the Bruce Beresford film, and then the TV series. As I’m now menopausal, it’s terribly hormonally confusing! But I’m very proud of that little book. And the new TV series has captured the era perfectly. It’s like a home movie. I’m torn between hilarity and nausea (laughs). The series brilliantly portrays the sexism of the time. The boys I grew up with disproved the theory of evolution – they were evolving into apes. The book is like straight Vegemite, no butter. It’s also a literary contraceptive.
Where do you live in london?
I live in West Hampstead, which is so full of shrinks. I call it “couch canyon”. Barry Humphries is my neighbour. His house backs on to mine. Whenever he gets back from a trip he emails me and says “Kathy dear, I’m poised at your rear entrance”.
What destinations are on your wish list?
The Galapagos Islands. I want to go to a place where for once, I’m not the weirdest creature.
Favourite place to travel?
Have globe, will trot. Book tours have taken me all across the world, from Bosnia to Barbados to Brazil.
But, apart from the obvious addictions like Paris and New York, I would say the Maldives, a necklace of 1190 coral islands, strung across the turquoise Indian Ocean, is my favourite destination.
And preferably staying in a resort so exclusive that not even the tide can get in (laughs).
If your 17-year-old self f could go on a girls’ holiday anywhere in the world where would she go?
Brazil. Girls worry so much about body image. There’s so much pressure to be thin. But not on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. The bigger the bottom the better.
Everyone from teenage girls to grannies parades along the sand in Gstring bikinis, with buttocks so big they could have their own postcode. It’s totally liberating.
Where’s your next holiday?
I’ll set off to Paris for a spring break. Although I’m always worried I’m going to be arrested at Gare du Nord station, by the Chic Police for not being quite suave enough. “I’m sorry madam, but you Cronulla C ll scrubbers are just not chic enough to rub shoulder pads with French sophisticates.” Puberty Blues, Wednesday 8.30pm on Channel 10. Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey, published by Vintage is available in store and online.
REVEALING: Author Kathy Lette (below) finds it liberating to be on a beach in Brazil where there’s no pressure to be thin to fit into a G-string.