I know my blog is usually about nature and outdoors (except for an occasional Manchester Building) but I had to write this post.
Whilst I have a bucket list for some big things to do, I also have a mini-bucket list for easier things that I’ve never quite got around to doing. Not far from top of the list was to see Billy Connolly live on stage…and last night I went to see him…and it was everything I hoped it would be!
I first really came across Mr Connolly when his World Tour of Scotland was shown on the BBC in 1994. His style of comedy fits perfectly with mine – his sense of the daft in normal life, of seeing comedy in the small things and being afflicted by general misadventure – as my grandpa used to say “he’s a good lad but he’s had a lot of bad luck” (I think I’m quoting that correctly!). Some of the passages from that series have stayed with me ever since – “Hey Billy, you’re like us, you’ve drunk wine in the graveyard!”, amongst many others.
When I heard he was touring again, I simply had to get a ticket (even if I did have to go by myself!). He’s not been in the best of health lately and he touched on that during the gig, in his usually self-depricating way – anyone who can take the p*** out of himself, especially about such problems, is good’un as far as I’m concerned.
As I’d wanted to see him live for so long, it was almost a dreamlike experience, made all the more etherial by his voice. For me, he has the voice of a Glaswegian angel and a way of talking that a grown man could happily go to sleep listening to. His real magic comes from his approach to comedy – none of these instant laughs or one-line wonders – he’s a storyteller; in fact, a storyteller extraordinaire. He starts off on one story, and really getting into the detail, but then getting sidetracked onto another storyline and sidetracked again, only to, after quite some time, quite a long time actually, after finishing a few more stories and many laughs, coming back to the original story again and opening you up for another round of laughter. In some ways, he’s like your Dad telling you a long rambling story when you’re tucked up in bed at eight years old, but with a hell of a lot more f***ing swearing!!!
Not wanting to be mean, I can summarise his performance as ‘his body is weak but his spirit is strong’ – very strong! Last night was a true Billy Connolly experience but made all the more brilliant by the fact that he stood on stage for two straight hours in an unbroken monologue – truly outstanding!
..and he got a thoroughly-deserved standing ovation at the end; some stood for his sheer stamina, given his troubles, some stood for the performance (it was true Billy Connolly), but I stood for his sense of comedy that has spread into my life ever since 1994.
Good one Big Yin, you’re a legend!