Scotland — where Billy was made
The Big Yin is a very funny man, but this isn’t laugh-aminute book. It’s the story of his growing up in Scotland’s Highlands and Lowlands, and the country that shaped this now citizen of the world.
It’s part of a BBC TV series, Coming Home, and is a kind of love story to the country of his early years. His memories and experiences from school days, the Scottish weather — the cold, cloud and drizzle he calls “dreich”. He doesn’t blame his young mother for leaving him and his sister for a man, and relates the beatings he received from teachers at school in a matter-of-fact manner. It was just the times. He wanders off into tangents on reading, the shipyards, retirement, songwriting (he plays the banjo), fine art, swearing and telling jokes. And these days being a tourist in his own home town in Glasgow. These days he also suffers from Parkinson’s so there’s an acknowledgement of a failing body.
It’s not a biography — he already has a couple of those written by his Kiwi wife, Dr Pamela Stephenson. This is different, a book about place and what shapes a person.
Comedian Billy Connolly.
Made in Scotland: Billy Connolly — My grand adventures in a wee country With Ian Gittens, Penguin Random House, $40