And I thought, Oh God , you know. I had to own up to everything, which no one had ever asked me to do before. Once Connolly started being honest with his wife, he found, too, he believes, that he could be honest with himself. The ways in which he went about it are the subject of Pamela's Stephenson's book, Billy, which is an engaging mix of biography and case study.
For Connolly, the book was partly prompted by a desire to put the record straight. He's been smarting ever since an unauthorised life by Jonathan Margolis 'all based on press cuttings,' he says, 'from generations of Scottish journalists who were only too happy to weary willie about me' came out, and he's been wanting ever since to get his side across. Mostly, though, he says, 'it was incredibly good for Pam, because she was dying to do this wee shrinky look at me'.
The things that tumbled out from Connolly for his wife to analyse were the stories of his childhood, some of which he'd hinted at on stage, many of which he'd kept to himself. He was born in and, soon after, his father went away to Burma in the war. When he was three and his sister, Florence, was five, his mother, long unable to cope, simply locked the door on her children and walked out, never to return. After some time - perhaps days - fending for themselves, the children's crying was heard by neighbours, and eventually they were taken in by their father's sisters, Mona and Margaret.
Mona in particular, who was subsequently admitted to a psychiatric home, physically and verbally attacked Billy from the outset. When Connolly's father returned from the war to the live in the overcrowded flat, he came home drunk most nights to share a sofabed with his son.
For a period of around five years, Connolly says, his father, a fierce Catholic, 'interfered with him' - a secret he did not share with anyone until the day of his father's death, when he broke down and told his wife. In her book, Stephenson sets these facts down sympathetically and draws more general truths from them.
The book is dedicated 'To the Connolly and McLean families in the spirit of healing through understanding; and to all families who are divided by religious differences, or who struggle with poverty, abuse or addiction. I remember there being no adult in the house and trying to get by with my sister - you know, trying to keep warm, eating sweeties and all that. Some of the most moving parts of the book are the occasions, in his teens and later, when Connolly tracked down his mother, and went to see her in her new life in the Glasgow suburb of Dunoon, where she had settled down and started another family.
The meetings left him feeling nothing. I thought I would love her, I suppose. I invested so much in that. But it was a stupid, ridiculous thing to think. Society tells you mother love never goes away, blah, blah, blah. But it does, of course. When we met, I didn't feel any bond with her, and she didn't seem to feel one towards me. She was a nice enough woman, though Oddly, Pamela Stephenson shares a birthday with Connolly's mother.
It's too tempting to think that he found a direct replacement in her, but he resists the idea, even if she phones him up just before our interview to chide him for smoking.
A large Cuban cigar lies in its case on the table. He likens their relationship instead to being more like that of great girlfriends. His mother, he believes, liked Stephenson: his wife's middle-class assurance allowed her to pitch into his repressed family and try to heal old wounds.
I guess she always found me to be a nuisance, coming out the wilderness. She said [he does his crimped women's voice], "Will you stop telling the truth about your age because I've been lying about mine all these years. When Connolly's mother was dying, he went to see her, but when he got near the house, he felt he couldn't go through with it and turned back. He tells me that his stepsister later said to him at the funeral, 'I hear you were in Dunoon.
And she said that my mother knew I was there. Also at that age, he joined an organisation called The Children of Mary. The group would visit people and say the Rosary , with a statue of the Lady of Lourdes in a shoebox.
In the s, Glasgow's sandstone tenements fell out of favour with the planners , which resulted in new houses being built on the fields and farmlands in the outskirts of the city. Between the ages of fourteen and twenty, Connolly was brought up on a now-demolished council estate on Kinfauns Drive in the Drumchapel district of Glasgow, and would make the daily journey to St.
He rode the bus to Partick, crossed the water by ferry and walked to 80 Vicarfield Street. Well, it's in Glasgow, but just outside civilisation," he has joked. We had rabbits and pheasants, and I really quite liked it.
I just started to dislike it when I got older, into my teens and things. In my late teens, when I was stuck out there, it cost me a lot of money to go anyplace. It was a kind of cowboy town, but I liked that aspect of it, buying stuff out of vans, a ragman coming in a wee green van. This dreadful atmosphere came about the place. It's like Siberia. And once you're out here, there's no getting out of it. You have to buy your way out, or some kind of talent has to take you out, or you have to be very bright and move away to university.
At fifteen, he left school with two engineering qualifications, one collected by mistake which belonged to a boy named Connell. Connolly was a year too young to work in the shipyards. He became a delivery-van driver with Bilslands' Bakery until he was sixteen when he was deemed overqualified due to his J1 and J2 certificates to become an engineer. From age 16 to I started my apprenticeship at 16 and finished when I was Stayed till I was 22, and moved along.
I finished welding when I was When I came here, as an apprentice, there was six ships being built, right where I'm standing. It was an extraordinary place. A hive of activity. Welders, caulkers, platers, burners, joiners, engineers, electricians. I learned how men talked to one another, and how merciless Glasgow humour can be. It has made an indelible mark on me. Jimmy was one of Billy's trainers in the yard who helped him to hone his skills as a welder and a comedian.
He later commemorated his experiences in the song "Weekend Soldier. Connolly's nickname The Big Yin was first used during his adolescent years to differentiate between himself and his father.
Broad and strong. Huge, like a bull. And then I got bigger than him, and the whole thing got out of control. So, we'd go into the pub and someone would say, 'Billy Connolly was in. Big Billy or Wee Billy? In the early s, Connolly attended the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the first time.
After spending time on the city's Rose Street, patronising the various drinking establishments, he became enamoured by some long-haired musicians and decided to model himself on them. In , after he had completed a five-year apprenticeship as a boilermaker, Connolly accepted a ten-week job building an oil platform in Biafra , Nigeria. After watching The Beverly Hillbillies , he bought his first banjo at the Barrowland market.
Connolly formed a folk-pop duo called the Humblebums with Tam Harvey. In , they were joined by Gerry Rafferty , who had approached Connolly after a gig in Paisley.
The band signed for independent label Transatlantic Records , and after recording one album 's First Collection of Merry Melodies , Harvey left the trio, and Connolly and Rafferty went on to release two more albums: The New Humblebums and Open up the Door Connolly's time with Rafferty possibly influenced his future comedy, because years later he would recall how Rafferty's expert prank telephone calls, made while waiting to go on stage, used to make him "scream" with laughter.
Connolly's contributions were primarily straightforward pop-folk with quirky and whimsical lyrics, but he had not especially focused on comedy at this point. In ,  a year-old Connolly married Springburn native and interior designer Iris Pressagh, with whom he had two children. They initially lived on Redlands Road in Glasgow's West End, but when fans began to wait out in the street, they moved to Drymen , near the south-eastern shore of Loch Lomond.
Later that year,  Connolly's mother went to meet him backstage after a Humblebums gig in Dunoon, where she was working in the cafeteria at Dunoon General Hospital. It was the second and final meeting between them since she abandoned Connolly. The sadness is She was a very nice woman, but we never got along. We both tried to like each other, and I don't think she liked me very much.
I don't regret it, but I'm sad about it. I wish I'd liked her. And I wish she'd liked me. Connolly returned to being a folk singer. His live performances featured humorous introductions that became increasingly long in duration. The head of Transatlantic Records, Nat Joseph , who had signed The Humblebums and had nurtured their career, was concerned that Connolly find a way to develop a distinctive solo career just as his former bandmate, Gerry Rafferty, was doing.
Joseph had successfully nurtured the recording career of another Scottish folk entertainer, Hamish Imlach , and saw potential in Connolly following a similar path.
He suggested to Connolly that he drop the folk-singing and focus primarily on becoming a comedian. In late , Joseph produced the breakthrough album that propelled Connolly to British stardom. Releasing a live double-album by a comedian who was virtually unknown except to a cult audience in Glasgow was an unusual gambit by Joseph but his faith in Connolly's talent was justified.
Joseph and his marketing team, which included publicist Martin Lewis , successfully promoted the album to chart success on its release in Later on in the book, Billy Connolly learnt the trigger for the setting up of the Nunavut territory - in effect giving their own land back to the Inuit.
Formerly Nunavut was snow-bound, but now the snow has melted, and for several weeks in the summer it is actually a dust bowl. As a consequence the Inuit way of life has changed irrevocably. For four or five thousand years, their lifestyle had been based on hunting. Now though, they have been thrust too quickly into the twenty-first century. They have one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and a severe drink and drugs problem.
Billy Connolly watched old film, in the Iqaluit museum, which showed earlier times, when Inuit people happily stood outside their igloos, wearing traditional sealskin clothes. He looked at the Inuit man next to him who appeared to be glued to the screen, wearing a baseball cap and a sweatshirt, and observed sadly, "I should imagine he gently weeps.
His whole world has changed radically; from the way of the dogsled to the Internet, prefabs and fast food. Tookie seemed completely unsure what his role in the modern world might be His face will always haunt me and seeing him there like that made a wee hole in my heart.
In their previous lifestyle "rubbish" was organic, and dropped anywhere, as it would go back to the land. Huskies are also a problem having overbred, and gone wild. Billy Connolly poignantly describes a simple scene, "I spotted a husky dog creeping around a rubbish dump and that summed it all up for me. That husky should have been barking and woofing, charging through the snow with a sealskin collar, not sniffing at the rubbish. He didn't even know he was a metaphor.
At one end of the town kids were eating junk and doing wheelies, while at the other end the elders spotted a whale in the bay Once again, though, I was saddened to see that their town, which is bang in the middle of all this sensational beauty, was a bit of a dump. Igloolik, literally "there is an igloo here" is the geographical centre of Nunavut, and the territory's most traditional town. Billy Connolly found it remote, rural, neat and tidy, though an expensive place to live. Even though it had an old feel, one of the inhabitants he met who had been born in an igloo in now lived in a modern house with double glazing and cable television.
This man told Billy Connolly how in Inuit mythology, white men were considered to be the result of a union between Inuit women and dogs. When the white explorers had arrived, they seemed to be so ugly and repulsive to them, that the Inuit thought they must be the children of these dog-like creatures, looking for their mothers.
Here it was that he first encountered throat-singing, and tried to get to grips with the language of Inuktitut, which is still the first language in Igloonik, and from which we have words such as "kayak" and "anorak".
But at his next stop in Pond Inlet, Billy Connolly was confronted with the difference in the two cultures. He is very proud of being a self-proclaimed "citizen of the world" and springs to the defence of the indigenous Inuit to live their traditional lifestyles, killing whales and seals for their food and skins. He joined in a seal hunt here, trying to quell his mixed feelings. But later, witnessing a group of narwhals from the shore, watching them in delight frolicking and playing, he was shocked to the core to hear a gunshot, as the Inuit hunted them.
It came home to him with a jolt then, how very different his own perceptions really were. The third section of the book starts in the town of Resolute, Cornwallis Island, which is one of the coldest places on Earth, "ugly with its sheds and industrial plants and dumps everywhere;" This is where Billy Connolly learns of a disgraceful episode from recent history for which the Canadian government has now officially apologised, after an Enquiry called it, "one of the worst human rights violations in the history of Canada".
In some Inuit were forcibly relocated from northern Quebec, purely to establish Canadian sovereignty during the Cold War. They were made promises of a good lifestyle, and the option to return, both of which were broken. The harsh land proved impossible for them to adapt their skills to, and huge numbers died, mostly very young.
One grave in the town of Resolute was for a man born in , who died in at just 26 years of age. He muses over this episode from history, and many more shameful aspects of colonial history, where the explorers who were credited with "discovering" places notwithstanding the peoples who were already living there John Franklin's expedition is shrouded in mystery and conjecture.
The touting of upper-class idiots as heroes has happened throughout British history and I am tired of it I think they are dithering, blithering idiots The big mistake these people made was that they took Britain along with them in their ships. Billy Connolly says with a mixture of sorrow and disgust, "It was here that they got stuck for two years, in mountainous ice that grew before their very eyes, making huge thundery noises.
And it was here that they tried all their escapes, towing their lifeboats full of things they didn't need. Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer known as the first to travel along the Northwest passage from Gjoa Haven, "Uqsuqtuq" meaning "plenty of fat" got to know the Inuit, and learnt many survival skills from them. He said, "If you want to do these wonderful people a real favour, leave them alone to live the way they have always lived. These kids see everybody else in the world having a great laugh with rock and roll and boogie-woogie but they're stuck there There are plenty of reasons for topping yourself.
John Rae, who came from the Orkney Islands, and is known as "the hero time forgot". All Stickers Laptop Stickers.
Billy Connolly 51 Results. Works People Groups Journals Forums. Tags: billy connolly, scottish, scotland, comedian, glasgow, glaswegian, the big yin, big yin, comedians, scottish comedians, glaswegian comedians.
Tags: billy, connolly, scotland, comedian, glasgow, artist, scottish, funny, simple, minimal. Tags: billy, caricature, connolly. Tags: billy connolly, the big yin, luke the drifter, hank williams, grateful dead, salmon, fishing, sacred heart, thistle, scotland scottish, shamrock, clover, india, incredible string band, peace, banjo, cowboy boots, forth bridge.
Tags: billy connolly, comedian, scot, scotland, billy connolly portrait, scottish, musician, singer, performer. Tags: dyslexia, dyslexic, spelling, old, macdonald, ieieo, spell, linguistics, joke, quote, billy, connolly, comedy, comic, funny, humorous, big, yin, bigyin, scottish, comedian, scot, celebrity, mic, microphone, standup, stand, up, show.
Tags: big yin, billy connolly. Tags: billy, connolly, billy connolly, stand up, scotish comedian, standup, parkinson, park my bike, billy connolly sick, the big yin. He added: "To know someone as long as I knew and loved Billy it was an awful thing to contemplate, that that had been taken from him in a sense. He said it "changed my entire life" and the two became instant friends, with Connolly appearing on the talk show 15 times over the years.
In the second decade of the twenty-first century Billy Connolly continues to give stand-up performances around the world, his DVDs are big sellers, he regularly appears on the movie screen as well as lending his highly-recognizable Scottish accent to animated features and he remains as popular as ever. Live — In Concert! Polydor single ? Freedom B. The A-side also features a full pipe band.Billy Connolly('s) Album The Billy Connolly Golden Gift Box. Listen to all tracks of The Billy Connolly Golden Gift Box for free. Combines "Billy Connolly Live!" (TRA ) and "Solo Concert" (TRA ) in a box set.