51JBxdUc5GL._SL500_Synopsis: “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…’

My Review

This was a real joy to listen to Billy Connolly, a real laugh out loud autobiography from the Big Yin!

As soon as I spotted that this book was coming out, I knew that I wanted to listen to it rather than read it. It was definitely the right decision as only Bill Connolly could tell all those tales from his home in Glasgow, and of course from around the world, touring, acting and presenting TV shows.

I saw him doing his stand up show years ago, probably in the late 1980s early 1990s. He was hilarious then and still is, thank goodness. He actually worked over here in Jersey as welder for a while before he became a comedian. He mentions it in the book which was fantastic and I managed to find an old video on Facebook of an interview with the local TV channel from 1978. He comes across as very sensible and charming, even though the interviewer was rather snobby!

There were so many laugh out loud moments in this book, I was crying with laughter most of the time. The fun times he had with the welders when he was working on the Clyde shipyards, holidays with his cousin John, and the prank phone calls Gerry Rafferty used to make offstage, between shows with Billy’s folk band The Humblebums. As well as all the hilarious stories from across the decades, it’s brought right up to date with anecdotes of him living in Florida now.

Sadly it’s not all hilarious though, as his childhood memories were truly heartbreaking, and made me very angry as he talked about the abuse from his own family. You’d never guess from all his funny stories and his general demeanour over the years, what a horrible childhood he’d had. He talks about how he’s had therapy and help from his wife Pamela Stephenson, who he met whilst appearing on the TV comedy series Not The Nine O’clock News. The story about their wedding in Fiji is very funny, particularly if you’re an Archers fan! πŸ˜€

Highly recommend on audio, especially if you enjoy humourous autobiographies, read by the author.

20/20

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