At My Mother's Knee...: And Other Low Joints

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Transworld Publishers Limited, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 463 pages
4 Reviews
In his own uniquely acid tongue, Paul O'Grady traces the hilarious tales of life in Irish Catholic Birkenhead that took him from a virtuous altar-boy ("my first drag") to Britain's best loved entertainer. It's a life that includes, varyingly, stints in an abbatoir, as a social worker, in a high-class Mayfair brothel, and traipsing down to London to chase his dreams. By 23, Paul O'Grady had been a father, husband, drag queen, gay lover, divorcee, and degenerate. He did it all with a smile on his face, making a mental note to register the whip-smart one-liners that would later inform his star-studded path from the fringes of comedy to the heart of the British establishment, first as his own brilliant comic creation Lily Savage, then, triumphantly, as himself. Paul's remarkable childhood and early life is littered with a dizzying cast-list of rogues, rascals, lovers, fighters, saints, and sinners. Oh, and one iconic bus conductress. Told with pathos, love, empathy, and naturally, biting humor, the story of Paul O'Grady is that of everyman, everywoman, and inevitably, every drag act ever. He has been rich and poor, posh and common, straight and gay. He has mixed with stars and whores and all that's in between, slyly spotting the similarity between them all. His amazing and riveting life story reminds us that there is, when all is said and done, a bit of savage in all of us.

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User Review  - Paul.Bentley - LibraryThing

I found it lying around at my parents' place and didn't expect much, but Mr O'Grady is an engagingly sympathetic character, so I kept with him as he stumbled through his pious Catholic upbringing ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Lukerik - LibraryThing

This is my top surprisingly good read of the year. I was expecting some dire self-promotion but what I got was well written, consistently interesting, with clearly realised scenes. I liked it's ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

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 (reportedly). Paul, of course, went on to further success presenting his chat shows on Channel 4 and ITV, For the Love of Dogs and Animal Orphans on ITV, and his weekly show on BBC Radio 2, inter alia. His four volumes of autobiography - At My Mother's Knee, The Devil Rides Out, Still Standing and Open the Cage, Murphy - were all Sunday Times bestsellers.

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