As I listen to the news that Billy Connolly is to receive a Freedom of Glasgow award tonight (20-08-10), I am minded to recall how this man has inspired many over the years, me included.
In addition to his basic and sometimes earthy (vulgar) humour which appeals to many, he has always appeared to me that he possesses that quality I love… A simple ground roots outlook on life. The one where you are not pretentious in any way, where you can laugh at the funny side of most things and if something gets your goat, you actually say so. Like me, I don’t suppose he usually sets out to actually offend someone however, speaking your mind often has that affect, unfortunatelly!
As a stand-up comedian Billy is best known for his observational comedy which is idiosyncratic and often off-the-cuff. His brand straight talking often has the ability to offend. Some critics and audiences have been “outraged” about his free use of the word “fuck”. What I can never understand is why people go to his shows or listen when they are ‘upset & outraged’? It appears there is an element of society that actually like being offended, simply so they can be outraged about it. Perhaps it gives them a feeling of pompous superiority over their lesser and more coarse peers?
He has made jokes relating to masturbation, blasphemy, defecation, flatulence, haemorrhoids, sex, his father’s illness, his aunts’ cruelty and, in the latter stages of his career, old age (specifically his experiences of growing old). In fact, there is probably a dodgy topic that he hasn’t managed to get a laugh out of at some stage in his lengthy career.
I love how Billy takes inspiration from his upbringing where he was often abused. How he can remember various parts of his early troubled life with a strange kind of fondness, something that would bring lesser folk to their knees or reduce them to tears? Connolly has an element of the trait that used to be so common at one time… No matter how bad it gets, you have to continue and usually, there’s someone worse off than you!
You pass this way but once. There’s no such thing as normal. There’s you and there’s the rest. There’s now and there’s forever. Do as you damn well please or you could end up being a pot-bellied, hairless boring fart. (Billy’s Thoughts – Billy Connolly Website)
He lived his childhood and formative years in hard times in a hard area. It’s therefore no surprise Billy had words of praise recently for Jimmy Reid who died this month (Aug10). Reid, an often outspoken Trade Unionist, was another one of that breed raised in a hard environment. Generally I find these types of people far easier to relate to than those who have grown up in a protected pink & fluffy world. Many people who constantly complain about “times being hard” have no concept of the word ‘HARD’!
I’ve never been ambitious, never. I’ve always been a dreamer, and I prefer It that way, because everything you get when you’re a dreamer is OK, if you’re ambitious and you don’t get the thing you’ve been aiming for, you feel as if you’re a disappointment or a failure and that can be a terrible thing and most of the time it’s wrong… (Billy’s Thoughts – Billy Connolly Website)
Well done Big Yin… I would like to offer you a wee swally and a handshake… Don’t worry, it’s not a Glaswegian one! 🙂
- Big Yin being given Freedom of Glasgow (bbc.co.uk)
- Glasgow pays tribute to Jimmy Reid (bbc.co.uk)
- Billy Connolly: ‘Journey to the Edge of the World’ on ITV (audleytravel.com)
- Big Yin given Freedom of Glasgow (mirror.co.uk)