This is the second autobiography of Paul O’Grady. If you have read the first At My Mothers Knee and a fan of the man himself as well as his alter ego Lily Savage then read this second book.
We left the first book as O’Grady found out that he was to be a father and we start this book with the birth of his daughter and interestingly enough end the book with the birth of another female who was going influence him and viewers alike; the embryonic stage of Lily Savage.
Along the way of the five years or so that is covered by this book, we are taken through O’Grady’s two lives which seem to run concurrently with each other. The numerous day and night jobs, working in Yates Wine Lodge, physiotherapist assistant, cleaner, waiter, working for an escort agency and then as a peripatetic care officer for a local council. With visits abroad to Poland and Manila where life is very different was all experience for him. To say O’Grady has seen everything is probably as near to the truth as you are going to get. O’Grady makes it clear that some of these jobs opened his eyes but also made him the caring man he is today when he sees what people suffer with no one realising exactly what is going on out there.
Whilst his CV was ever growing, he was also getting more involved in drag acts through some of the pubs, clubs and bars that he worked at and frequented. The various different people he lodges with or lodged with him introduced him to some famous acts The Harlequeens and The Disappointed Sisters. He could see their faults and strengths also and wanted to do something better, something more polished anything as good as them. As time went on, he grew into making his first appearance miming to a Barbara Streisand song and that opened up another path for O’Grady and where this second book ends and one can only hope that his third part starts.
This book to me is written from the heart, I agree that it is perhaps not as funny as his first volume but what it is, is raw and honest. O’Grady has not gone for an autobiography where he rants about celebrities, name dropping and settling scores with anyone and everyone a nice story if you will. This is O’Grady’s story and an important part of his life where he was trying to find what he wanted from it, which was not marriage or a child despite having both. This is an honest book with passages and lines that will make you laugh and even make your hair stand on end! But there is the acerbic wit but also make you cry at some of the scenes of poverty and destruction of others trying to survive in a fairly nasty world. A great change from some of the celebrity autobiographies out there.