“ Author: Paul O'Grady / Format: Paperback / Autobiography: yes / Genre: Arts & Entertainment /Title: Still Standing / ISBN 13: 9780857501028 / ISBN 10: 0857501028 / 352 Pages / Book is published 2012-10-11 by Bantam Press / Alternative title: Still Standing: The Savage Years / Alternative ISBN 10: 0593069390 „
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I borrowed this book from a work colleague, it is the third in his auto biography series all written by Paul O Grady himself. The first is called At my Mothers knee and the second The devil rides out. This one is Still standing and even though it makes sense to read books in order I started to read this one straight away as I'm a Paul O Grady fan.
He said Good morning to me once when I worked in a Southampton hotel and I thought he was an average guest until someone ran up to me saying can't believe Lily Savage spoke to you?!! I said where? as at that time he was more Lily Savage then Paul O Grady and I had not recognized him in his everyday clothes. He was in panto at a local theatre. When he had his TV show on in 2005 I swore he would send me into labour as I'd laugh so much at his shows.
Now this is a hardback book written in 2012 and is a big book with 368 pages but the type is not too small. The back of the book contains an Index which I hadn't expected in a book of this sort.
RRP of this book is £20 but can be found on sites such as Amazon from £4.
If you don't know of this man then he is from Liverpool and has a strong accent that has always stayed with him, as soon as I started reading the book I became aware that I was reading it in his voice with his accent and this continued throughout the book, obviously wasn't reading out loud but in my head.
The book starts off at a time he was performing at the Mayflower theatre in Southampton (his favourite theatre) he wasn't staying at the hotel I used to work at but had an apartment nearby and not long into the book he tells of his tales of late night parties with dwarfs involved that were in his cast. You'd have to see it to believe some of the things that happened.
The reason this book came about was he was fed up of people forever asking him where Lily Savage came about, so here the book goes back to the past and he tells of how she began.
Paul worked many years for Camden council and during this time worked many bars and clubs in drag. When he gave up his council job he was travelling as a drag duo around this country and Europe.
The tales he tells are amazing and had me laughing out loud. I can't tell you them all but one off the top of my head was himself and his partner were staying at a hotel and when they woke up in the morning found brown muck all in the bed. After checking themselves for accidents they realized they'd fallen asleep with the box of chocolates. It didn't end there as Paul worried what the maids would say so he washed the sheets in the bath with shampoo, it still didn't end there as he couldn't put it back on the bed wet as the maids would think they'd wet the bed so off he went to a launderette to get it dried.
He was on the streets during a big Liverpool riot and ended up going to a fancy dress party with friends all dressed up as characters only to find out it wasn't actually that kind of fancy dress but a S&M party. There he learnt a whole new meaning to what a red hanky in your pocket means, and the meaning I will let you find out by reading the book.
Paul never had an easy life through the start of his drag act career living day to day and sleeping in rough conditions but he made it to stardom which he never thought he would. He was starstruck himself one night to perform after Liz Dawn ( Vera from Corrie)and gave her words of encouragement.
His mother was a big part of his life and was a right character which is probably where Paul got his sense of humor from.
His life has been tinged with sadness over the years losing lots of people he loved and was friends with, many sadly to AIDS which he explained was a known problem among the gay community and many people really didn't have an understanding of the illness. He smoked a cigarette with a man who was dying from Aids despite everyone watching him do it not believing he had dared do it.
There are two sections in this book which have some photos in. I must say I found it nice to actually see the people he has been talking about who were close to him. There is one particular one of himself but in a suit & bow tie and he had a beard and moustache hardly recognizable. Another shows him or rather shows Lily Savage with DS Roach when he had some acting roles on the Bill.
So basically a small part of the book at the beginning was at the now time when written then it goes back to his earlier days and how Lily Savage came about and then suddenly near the end comes back to the now. By doing this he has left quite a chuck out of what happened between B and C kind of thing but does say he'll need another book for that story.
Paul is a genuine nice person and even though his phone was one involved in the phone hacking scandals he never wished to sue or take it to the press. His reason being he had always been honest in life and to the media so had nothing to hide anyway.
I do wish I'd been patient and waited to get the first two books before reading this as I never realized he even had a daughter.
His title I'm still standing comes from the fact he is quite surprised he is still standing after the life he has led, many things you will read about in the book and also the fact he has survived two heart attacks.
There as so very many parts of this book I'd like to share but I highly recommend you go buy it and give it a read, after reading the first two anyway.
So Ta Ra for now.
This is the third part of a set of autobiographies by Paul O'Grady and I am sure that there will be yet more.
This book more or less takes off from where the excellent "The Devils Rides Out" left off and talks about Pauls life in the 80's. The start is admittedly a little slow with Paul leading up to why he wrote the book (mainly as a way of stopping people such as journalists constantly asking him how Lilly Savage came about) but when it does get going it follows the usual fast paced and thoroughly enjoyable ride through his life. Paul is never shy of balancing the hilarious with the sad and the reader really gets to know characters mentioned in earlier books even better and many new ones too. Is it all a little larger than actual life? Well, maybe, but that is what Paul is all about. I can whole-heartedly recommend this book and I will certainly read any future installments.