488 Rules for Life is not a self-help book, because it’s not you who needs help, it’s other people… whether they’re walking and texting, asphyxiating you on public transport with their noxious perfume cloud, or leaving one useless square of toilet paper on the roll, a lot of people just don’t know the rules.
But thanks to Kitty Flanagan’s comprehensive guide to modern behaviour, our world will soon be a much better place.
A place where people don’t ruin the fruit salad by putting banana in it. Where your co-workers respect your olfactory system and don’t reheat their fish curry in the office microwave. Where middle aged men don’t have ponytails!
What started as a joke on Kitty Flanagan’s popular segment on ABC TV’s The Weekly, is now a quintessential reference book with the power to change society. (Or, at least, make it a bit less irritating.)
At school Kitty was a small, stick-like child with very large front teeth and fuzzy hair. Nothing much has changed. After several attempts at university, studying things as diverse as Spanish, poetry and PE teaching, the government introduced HECS and the free ride was over. No more enrolling for a semester of tertiary good times then dropping out.
Advertising beckoned because it seemed like the job that paid the most money for the least amount of qualifications. And for five years she masqueraded as a copywriter. Eventually she was fired. She doesn’t know why and, more importantly, she doesn’t care. So then she tried doing stand-up. And then she got a job on Full Frontal (a sketch show, not a nudie mag). And then she moved to London and did stand-up … heaps of it.
There was another sketch show, an English one this time, cryptically titled The Sketch Show. And there was a short film that won a few awards. After that, she wrote stuff for the BBC and Channel Four with writing partner Julia Davis of Nighty Night fame.
Then Kitty moved back to Australia where she is now probably best known for her regular Tuesday appearances on The Project and most recently for her role as Rhonda in Working Dog’s Utopia on the ABC. She also had a segment on Charlie Pickering’s show The Weekly. Aware that stand-up is like a sport that must be practiced, Kitty tours constantly.
Image: Kitty Flanagan: 488 Rules for Life – courtesy of Allen & Unwin