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Mrs Slocombe's Pussy: Growing Up in Front of the Telly Paperback – 2 Apr 2001

3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2 Apr 2001
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New edition edition (2 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006551750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006551751
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,627,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

"The average Briton spends 11 years in front of a television set during an average 72 year lifespan." This statistic--which does not even begin to consider the implications of the multimedia-rich society into which we are all running apace--is disturbing. It is also the starting point from which Stuart Jeffries validates his personal quest to find the effect television has had on his generation of viewers.

Young people--and not so young people, these days--do not grow up. Not completely. Two shandies in the bar and everyone will be singing the tune from Captain Pugwash, or reciting the name of the firemen from Camberwick Green. This same televisual nostalgia sparked "100 greatest adverts", and has proven a boon to purveyors of Bagpuss merchandise. It is with one eye on this never-ending appetite for the re-heated soup of cultural and personal remembrance (the other eye is fixed firmly on media studies students) that Stuart Jeffries has written this book. Certainly, it is a personal story. Thirtysomething contemporaries of Jeffries who cut their teeth on Bill and Ben and Andy Pandy will reap the greatest rewards from the spot-on descriptions of times gone by. However Mrs Slocombe's Pussy also works as an investigation into the cultural values of British society, using well-argued qualitative analysis of "throwaway" shows such as Are You Being Served? (from which the book's title is derived) and It Ain't Half Hot Mum, to judge the attitudes of the nation through perhaps the most pervasive influence of all--light entertainment.

Jeffries viewpoint is clear and well defined and he has managed to wrestle complicated ideas into a format which should be accessible to anyone with a basic knowledge of media terminology. Of course, any study such as this is subjective, since the writer's choice of viewing is, and always has been, influenced by any number of social and cultural--school, family and class factors--which shape the individual within the nation's cultural context. If you can live with the belief that Billy Connolly is bad while The Thin Blue Line is good, you will find Mrs Slocome's Pussy a rewarding read. --Helen Lamont --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘Jeffries’ scintillating humour conveys serious and though-provoking ideas in this hilariously Proustian, witty, entertaining and wholly idiosyncratic study of growing up with television.’ Daily Mail

‘This is as captivating an account of a life lived with television as one is likely to encounter.’ TLS

‘Unnervingly clever and witty.’ Independent

‘Enviably funny and original.’ Evening Standard

‘This is a cracking read, cutting a humorous, intelligent swathe through thirty years of British television. No mean feat, but, tie us up and whip us with John Inman’s measuring tape if he hasn’t pulled it off. Oooooh!’ Maxim

‘Quite irresistible, perceptive and thought-provoking.’ Daily Telegraph

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A book about a slightly more innocent age of television, before the agenda pushers fully realized its propagandising potential. Our generation grew up with mostly wholesome tv shows, nothing too weird,no swearing and with a nice morality message at the end.

"We used to worship the sun and its movement structured our lives,then the liturgy (Christianity) overlaid that structure.It (TV) helpfully divided up our lives into times rituals even public moods.Television since the coronation in 1953 offered a structure that borrowed from both the sun and the church:it had it seasons,its reassuring parade of moods and events it gave us common memories shared heritage and a vernacular"

Stuart Jefferies writes a nostalgic memoir based around his favourite TV programmes.These days TV offers stories full of melodrama and perversity.TV created a world of illusion.All those who grew up in front of the television made TV programmes their internal world.Prior to the television world of illusion, peoples internal worlds were made up of substantive stories,their internal programming was strengthened by stories about good character and things connected to the natural world.This author writes about a TV age of sweet innocence, before the subversion agenda got its foot well and truly in the door.

TV programmes are currently being used by entertainment corporations to overturn normal values.Anyone who watches Peppa pig can't help but notice that Daddy pig is very submissive when in conversations with Peppa and Mummy pig.They both treat him like a fool, dismiss his opinions,mock him and enjoy belittling him for being fat. In the US show Two and a Half Men, the main character's series of casual sexual relationships is portrayed as funny.
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Format: Paperback
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The cover is rather garish, with the words 'pussy' and 'telly' most prominent and I'm not sure I'd give it to my mum for a birthday present, but for 30 something guy like myself, there were lots of moments of recognition and hoots of laughter.
Television is something that, like it or loathe it, brings us all together in shared memories. On top of that, it's a medium which doesn't often get a serious critical eye cast over it. Jeffries is obviously a clever bloke (the chapter on war coverage was really thought-provoking), but you could imagine having a pint with him too, which makes him good company in this read. Highly recommended!
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By A Customer on 23 May 2001
Format: Hardcover
I picked up the paperback of this book at Euston station and it kept my mind off the awful journey to Carlisle by making me laugh my head almost literally off (which would have been alarming for my fellow passengers, and Railtrack sees to alarming passengers much better than I can). Jeffries knows how to tell a joke, and such big portions! I'd recommend this to anyone. Cheers!
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By A Customer on 2 July 2000
Format: Hardcover
Stuart Jeffries can definitely write, but he has written one of those books that is normally published by Routledge with footnotes - a kind of sub sub Roland Barthes analysis of popular culture - which he attempts to enliven with a few jokes and personal anecdotes (a lot of these about farting; you get the picture!).
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Format: Hardcover
Stuart Jeffries book is Ab Fab! It had me shouting out in recognition of long forgotten programmes and names. As a thirtysomething now, I didn't think that tv had so much impact on my childhood...I was wrong! I too grew up in the midlands and watched Crossroads during tea. My Dad & I used to shout out the name of 'Jack Barton' during the credits (Why?...'cause it sounded like Dick Barton of course!). Just his name in print brought it all back! I've also been compelled to watch England play football with the certain knowledge that they'll lose, unable to tear myself away, but hiding behind a cushion so I can't see. Yes, with infinite channels we'll all no doubt switch off, saying that there's nothing on! At that point you should pick up this book and start reading...
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Format: Paperback
This book certainly brings back memories of some long-forgotten shows and will also make you look at some programmes in a different light. Jeffries writes poigniantly about programmes as varied as Bill and Ben and Brideshead Revisited. His demolition of THE TV News and also Changing Rooms is worth the price of the book alone. Jeffries manages to be funny where appropriate but also hits a sombre note where required. If I have one criticism of this book it is that Jeffries occassionally indulges in academic language and references where it's not required but apart from that a highly readable and enjoyable book.
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Format: Hardcover
After meeting Stuart Jeffries at this year's (2000) Edinburgh Festival, and concluding that he was a bit like me, I bought a copy of his book, which he signed. He'd been reading out the chapter on British sitcoms, an analysis of 'Are You Being Served', which forms the title of the book. I raced through the book in under a week, it is funny, poignant, reflective and written with the clarity, and spirit of inquiry of someone who has studied philosophy. My favourite section is about the last winter Olympic games and first appeared in the Guardian (I remember because I cut it out, it was so funny). The ice skater Nicky Slator is intentionally confused with the highly probable Nicky Skater the ice slator. Ice slating, Jeffries hypothesises, could feasibly be one of the new-that-year olympic sports. A week after I finished the book, the BBC put on a re-run of a 'Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads' episode (which is analysed in the book). I watched with new eyes. This is probably the greatest achievement of the book, it encourages you to watch actively and critically making you appreciate the unwritten cultural subtext to many of yesterdays (and todays) programmes.
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