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At My Mother's Knee...: And Other Low Joints Paperback – 4 Jun 2009
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"One of the most brilliantly observed testimonies to working-class life I've ever read" (Sue Carroll Mirror)
"Funny, well observed and recognisably human. Soon you start to wonder why all celebrity autobiographies can't be like this" (Private Eye)
"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)
"Paul speaks with warmth and hilarity about a childhood filled with poverty. Hugely interesting and entertaining" (Heat)
"While most celeb memoirs are as memorable as an air kiss, O'Grady's is a proper snog" (Scotsman)
"Warmly funny, dry and mischievous... Genuine - and brilliant" (Daily Mail)
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Paints a lovely picture of the first 18 years of Paul's life and what it's like growing up as a scouse teen, who initially dabbles with girlfriends. I won't say any more.
I have to say the only drawback for me is that I totally fail to understand the whole homosexual entertainer phenomenon-Danny La Rue I could never stand , and the current vast crop of them and their success puzzles me ( Graham Norton , Julian Clary, Alan Carr etc etc) . In spite of this I did n't let my elderly prejudice put me off and I thoroughly enjoyed the book,
This is an enjoyable read - even more so if you know the places that Paul O'Grady writes about. I laughed so much when reading about his mum and aunties - recognizing such women from my own childhood.
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