Book Review: Windswept and Interesting by Billy Connolly

About the Book:

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 four, 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.

Published by Two Roads

Released 14th October 2021

My Thoughts:

‘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…’

I am a huge fan of Billy Connolly. I’ve loved watching him most of all on his world tours where you’d get to see him just being himself, interacting with people, having a laugh, discovering interesting things, simply rejoicing in everything. He just seemed so intent on being joyous and loving life. And that’s what comes across in this book too, his first full-length autobiography, told entirely in his own words. And from the very first page, you know it’s Billy, you can hear his voice telling you this remarkable story, and you imagine as you turn the pages that you are sitting in an audience listening to him share his life story, the brutal truth cushioned by humour, yet by no means diminishing it. It is often true that behind humour is great pain and parts of Billy’s story were devastating to read.

There is a chronological order to this autobiography but only to a certain extent. Billy starts at the beginning of his life, yes, but as is the way of a great storyteller, he weaves his way back and forth, the same way in which people do when they’re simply having a yarn. His uniqueness beams off the page and his outrageousness fills me with admiration. This book is truly life affirming, filled with warmth and humility, an absolute joy to read. I laughed often, cried a little, and then laughed some more, which is probably what Billy intended. He talks about the concept of being Windswept and Interesting in the opening pages, about how it’s not something you can become, but rather something you simply are. There are no universal rules, however, Billy has written his own, and as far as inspirational quotes to live by go, these top the lot.

‘You have to genuinely not give a fuck for what any other living human being thinks of you.

Say the first thing that comes into your mind and don’t worry about what might happen to you as a result.

Seek the company of people who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, will always try it on.

Never turn down the opportunity to shout “fuck the begrudgers!” at the top of your voice.

And tell you story your own damn way.’

☕☕☕☕☕

*Book 4 for my 22 in 2022 challenge*

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Windswept and Interesting by Billy Connolly

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