Mrs Slocombe's Pussy Hardcover – 7 Feb 2000
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"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
'The Fever Pitch of telly.' Scotland on Sunday
'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 StandardSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
But inside it gives a very serious history of the types of programmes I was brought up on...very funny read and very interesting history....Published on 6 April 2014 by Border Reiver 45
This was a good book but I cant understand the authors choice of title if he didnt like the program its taken from and there was a ripped page but other than that it was a hoot !Published on 13 Feb. 2013 by welshgirl
I guess it helped being the same age, but this book took me back to so many fond memories and also many times I found myself exactly on track with the author. Read morePublished on 9 Oct. 2001 by firstname.lastname@example.org
I bought this to tide me through a flight to Japan, and it certainly managed that. The opening few chapters were brilliantly written and look back on television that _I_ remember... Read morePublished on 4 Jun. 2001
I have reasonably broad reading tastes, but everything about this book annoyed me. It is pretentious in a media studies way. Read morePublished on 12 Mar. 2001
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