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At My Mother's Knee...And Other Low Joints: Tales from Paul’s mischievous young years

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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. I have been a fan of Paul O'Grady for a long time, I think he's fantastic and funny without even trying to be. I thought this was his life story, his autobiography, and was shocked when the book finished and he was only 18 years old !

This particular book covers his early life and his first jobs prior to entering the entertainment world and rather than been full of famous people with anecdotes it is loaded with humorous unknown characters that would easily fit in a Tom Sharpe novel. I mean no disrespect to Paul O'grady but this is what I imagine Jeffrey Archer aims for in his works of fictions and keeps failing at it. 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.He also appeared in the comedy sitcom Eyes Down (2003–2004) and presented several travel documentaries. In parts laugh-out-loud funny but also at times very poignant, this is a marvellous evocation of a Catholic working class upbringing in the 1950s through to the mid-70s. And the Elephant and Castle, pub, I heard the Peter Skellern song about it years ago but I couldn't make out the words so I didn't know exactly how rough the pub was until I read Pauls books. At My Mother's Knee features an unforgettable cast of rogues, rascals, lovers, fighters, saints and sinners - and one iconic bus conductress.

I really want to dig out my copy if I still have it somewhere to re-read after the news yesterday of his untimely passing! it’s only 1/4 of his biographies which feel may be a little overkill like i wish it had got more into his adult life but then at the same time he had so many stories to fill that you can see why he wrote so many. He tells it as it was, rather than in his TV voice - and I like the TV voice so it just didn't make me want to carry on. For those of a somewhat nervous disposition, like myself, I can safely say that reading these books will be an education in themselves and make anyones problems look smaller in comparison. 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).Paul's remarkable childhood and early life is littered with a dizzying cast-list of rogues, rascals, lovers, fighters, saints, and sinners. When I was writing my book "I Need an Exorcism" I read Paul O'Gradys books, At My Mothers Knee, The Devil Rides Out and Still Standing.

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