Windswept & Interesting, Billy Connolly
Been a committed, somewhat besotted fan of Billy Connolly's forever - not just for his humour, but for his observations about life, aging, and all the saggy bits. I've quoted "no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes", since I heard him say it. Regarded his assertion that you should never pass an opportune toilet by after the age of 60 as one of the sagest bits of advice ever (along with never trust a fart), and then there's his general humour under great adversity. Which I've not managed, but as things start to fail in the body department, I'm starting to understand. We're a very lucky generation indeed to be following just behind the Big Yin, getting glimpses into how to age disgracefully with such grace.
WINDSWEPT AND INTERESTING contains a lot of stories and anecdotes from his life - many of which dedicated followers will be aware of, some of which will have you crying with laughter even if you have heard them before. There's the sadness of an incredibly difficult childhood, a wild and eccentric working life, a past marriage that failed and the guilt he still feels over that, and a present marriage that seems heaven sent. There's his love for his kids, his love of life, even with Parkinson's Disease and a myriad of other health problems including deafness.
Mostly, though, there's that voice - the soundtrack of much of my life, his accent, his voice, his way of meandering around a tale and heading off on tangents, and returning to the central thread (sometimes). There's the unapologetic swearing (which I heartily support), there's the brightly coloured, eccentric clothes (that he can have on his own - including the banana boots, although I heartily concur about beige and wouldn't be caught dead....), and there's his attitude.
Listened to this audiobook narrated by Connolly. You can hear the Parkinson's in his voice these days (got a very good friend with the same disease and it's nasty), but you can still hear the fun, and the cheek and the laughter - the telling of one anecdote in the book had him corpsing with laughter during the narration, which had me with tears running down my face I was laughing along so much.
Would listen to Billy Connolly recite his shopping list, but we're so fortunate to have the opportunity to hear him still, especially as his comedy touring days are now at an end.
In his first full-length autobiography, comedy legend and national treasure Billy Connolly reveals the truth behind his windswept and interesting life.
Born in a tenement flat in Glasgow in 1942, orphaned by the age of 4, and a survivor of appalling abuse at the hands of his own family, Billy's life is a remarkable story of success against all the odds.
Billy found his escape first as an apprentice welder in the shipyards of the River Clyde. Later he became a folk musician - a 'rambling man' - with a genuine talent for playing the banjo. But it was his ability to spin stories, tell jokes and hold an audience in the palm of his hand that truly set him apart.
As a young comedian Billy broke all the rules. He was fearless and outspoken - willing to call out hypocrisy wherever he saw it. But his stand-up was full of warmth, humility and silliness too. His startling, hairy 'glam-rock' stage appearance - wearing leotards, scissor suits and banana boots - only added to his appeal.
It was an appearance on Michael Parkinson's chat show in 1975 - and one outrageous story in particular - that catapulted Billy from cult hero to national star. TV shows, documentaries, international fame and award-winning Hollywood movies followed. Billy's pitch-perfect stand-up comedy kept coming too - for over 50 years, in fact - until a double diagnosis of cancer and Parkinson's Disease brought his remarkable live performances to an end. Since then he has continued making TV shows, creating extraordinary drawings... and writing.
Windswept and Interesting is Billy's story in his own words. It is joyfully funny - stuffed full of hard-earned wisdom as well as countless digressions on fishing, farting and the joys of dancing naked. It is an unforgettable, life-affirming story of a true comedy legend.
'I didn't know I was Windswept and Interesting until somebody told me. It was a friend who was startlingly exotic himself. He'd just come back from Kashmir and was all billowy shirt and Indian beads. I had long hair and a beard and was swishing around in electric blue flairs.
He said: "Look at you - all windswept and interesting!"
I just said: "Exactly!"
After that, I simply had to maintain my reputation...'