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At My Mother's Knee...: and other low joints [Kindle Edition]

Paul O'Grady
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (397 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

Paul O'Grady is one of Britain's very best loved entertainers. He is known and adored by millions, whether as the creator of the acid-tongued Blonde Bombsite, Lily Savage, or the presenter of the fantastically successful, award-winning Paul O'Grady Show on Channel 4.

Now, in his own unique voice, Paul O'Grady tells story of his early life in Irish Catholic Birkenhead that started him on the long and winding road from mischievous altar boy to national treasure. It is a brilliantly evoked, hilarious and often moving tale of gossip in the back yard, bragging in the corner shop and slanging matches on the front doorstep, populated by larger-than-life characters with hearts of gold and tongues as sharp as razors.

At My Mother's Knee features an unforgettable cast of rogues, rascals, lovers, fighters, saints and sinners - and one iconic bus conductress. It's a book which really does have something for everyone and which reminds us that, when all's said and done, there's a bit of savage in all of us...

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Paul O'Grady, apart from being one of Britain's best loved entertainers, is a classic example of reinvention, as At My Mother’s Knee demonstrates. The young Liverpool entertainer, an altar boy from Irish Catholic Birkenhead, becomes the acid-tongued and outrageous drag queen Lily Savage, and moves from gay pubs to national television, creating something of a British comic institution en route (O'Grady's caustic drag character was a world away from safer predecessors such as Danny La Rue). But O'Grady (like other comic performers such as John Cleese) realised that comic creations can have a limited shelf life, and reinvented himself as ‘Paul O'Grady’, coming out from behind the false breasts and towering wigs as a toned-down (but still camp), more audience-friendly TV presenter (wisely, he retained the abrasive voice and a Scouse accent that could be cut with a knife).

At My Mother's Knee and Other Low Joints is an entertaining autobiography from someone who really does have a life that is worth writing about. Gossipy, sharp and colourful, the cast of characters in Paul O'Grady's life includes rogues and rascals galore, all of whom are evoked here with great comic skill. O'Grady was variously a boxer, a civil servant, a conman and even a cat burglar - all of these failed careers are on display here, as is a surprisingly pungent picture of the Liverpool nightclub scene. When so many showbiz autobiographies these days are written by people who have a barely had a life outside of their fame, it's refreshing to encounter one by somebody whose story would be interesting even if he were not a major TV star. --Barry Forshaw


"Paul speaks with warmth and hilarity about a childhood filled with poverty. Hugely interesting and entertaining" (Heat Magazine)

"Among the three-for-two slew of sleb lit heaped on the tables of the nation's major bookshops... At My Mother's Knee distinguishes itself on every level" (Carol Ann Duffy Observer)

"While most celeb memoirs are as memorable as an air kiss, O'Grady's is a proper snog" (The Scotsman)

"Warmly funny, dry and mischievous... Genuine - and brilliant" (Daily Mail)

"One of the most brilliantly observed testimonies to working-class life I've ever read" (Sue Carroll Daily Mirror)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2193 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (27 Oct. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031RS8ZI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (397 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,929 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Paul O'Grady first came to fame in the guise of Lily Savage, and was nominated for a Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1991. Lily later became a regular on This Morning, took over the bed on The Big Breakfast and presented Blankety Blank, but has now retired. Paul, of course, went on to further success presenting the Paul O'Grady Show on Channel 4. His first book, At My Mother's Knee, was the biggest selling autobiography of 2009.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tears and laughter 22 Oct. 2008
You can actually hear Paul dictating the words. There are heart tugging moments but there are also laugh out loud moments from a giggle to a hearty belly laugh. The characters who populated Paul's world are larger than life and twice as funny. This is a book that is, to coin a word, unputdownable and one I shall keep. I can't wait for the next one.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars? Without question! 5 Jan. 2009
I started reading this in trepidation, worrying that my expectations would be set too high. I needn't have worried. It's a wonderful book, very honest, very moving and very funny. So many of Paul's recollections of being brought up in a 60s council house without central heating rang true. I'd forgotten about how much of our lives in winter revolved round keeping warm- Paul hasn't!

I made the slight mistake of reading this in bed very late at night. A mistake, because stifling my laughter nearly choked me. Two particularly funny passages were 'fast-forwards' from the period not generally covered by the book, which bodes really well for the sequel. This memoir is on a par with Peter Kay's The Sound of Laughter - in fact, Paul's honesty makes it better, as he doesn't pull a single punch. Yet he manages to do this without offending - there are no sordid revelations that have you turning pages in haste, but thoughtful evocations of time and place.

This will make a fantastic audiobook - Paul writes as he speaks and you can hear his voice on every page. Wonderful, just wonderful.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 29 Jan. 2009
I don't 'do' autobiographies as a rule. But I received this for Christmas as I am a huge fan of Paul O'Grady (and of course Lily Savage) and was intrigued by the book only covering Paul's childhood. All I can say is that if every biography is as well written and thought out as this, I would read nothing but. As other reviewers have stated, you can really hear Paul's voice as you read. I loved the flash forwards and flash backs that he drops in at points which keeps the book from following the usual plodding linear style and some of the stories make you chuckle (I don't do laugh) out loud. However, Paul is also superb at describing the more poignant, sadder moments that occur and the last chapter of the book really is quite moving.

I take umbrage with one review of this book who claims that Paul describes in graphic detail his tales of men and that you need a strong stomach to get through it. All I can say is that the reviewer must have been reading a completely different book to me, or painting it with personal opinion about homosexuality. There are no graphic descriptions, you get the gist of what would / did occur but no more. There are some near to the knuckle comments and remarks but not about Paul's sex life and they are really very tame compared to what Lily would have said!

Read this book!!!
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87 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Paul's hand 2 Oct. 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the story of Paul O'Grady, presenter TV Actor and the alter ego of the infamous Lily Savage.

If you pick up this book thinking you are getting sordid wild tales of Paul and his famous friends then you are going to be disappointed, there is not even a mention of Buster!

This is Paul from the beginning to him turning 18. Here he tells the story of his life, growing up in Birkenhead. That small fishing village near Liverpool!! Paul tells brilliantly all the tales of his family and the sorts of tricks that any little boy gets up to when they are 4 or 5, as well as the tricks they get up when they discover girls (and boys!). Experiences of school and work will make you laugh out loud, and his experience with the church and Catholicism is also so philosophical and funny at the same time. What is apparent throughout this book is how all the characters of his life, his mum and her sisters have influenced his later life not just personally but in his character of Lily Savage.

The stories you hear him tell on television, are true (if slightly exaggerated for effect) they are so beautifully told in the book, that you feel you are with Paul as he wrote this.

So many `famous' people try and tell their story in one book, but I feel Paul has only really touched the tip of the iceberg I hope there is a sequel.......please Paul write another.....
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Flame of Llandudno burns brightly 30 Sept. 2008
What to say?? This book is intensely moving, ridiculously funny and, above all, is a very human tale of a working class, Northern family, complete with all the catholic guilt, scallywag shenanigans and rough love that can entail.

Its like a Birkenhead "Angela's Ashes" .....only with more sequins.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book with the expectation that I would discover not only the background and history of Paul, but also an insight in to how he worked his way towards the amazing personality and consumate entertainer that he is today. From this perpective I was personally disappointed in that the story only took me so far on the journey that I was expecting.

I presume that a further autobiography is waiting in the wings that will bring me up to date with his fascinating life. I do hope so as, apart from my disappointment on the scope of the story in this book, there is no denying that the book is amazingly honest, humerous and inciteful. Maybe it is down to clever planning as once I had finished reading it I Was desperate to to be able to read on and discover just how he achieved so much from such potentially disadvantageous beginnings.

The book is well written, difficult to put down and hugely rewarding as far as it goes. He does need to write another one, though!!
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