Windswept & Interesting audiobook review – Billy Connolly revels in his life stories

·2 min read


Three years ago, after nearly half a century on the stage, Billy Connolly officially retired from live comedy. For those missing the comedian’s storytelling, his reading of his memoir is surely the next best thing.

After sharing reflective titbits such as “Seek the company of people who, when left alone with a tea cosy, will always try it on”, the Big Yin tells the story of his life. We learn of his deprived upbringing in postwar Glasgow and how his mother left when he was four, meaning much of the child-rearing was left to his Aunt Mona, who belittled and beat him whenever they were alone. He endured further trauma when his father sexually abused him between the ages of 10 and 14.

But this is far from a misery memoir, as Connolly revels in stories of schoolboy rebellion and friendship, his discovery of music, comedy and his rise to fame. Ultimately, the joy of his adulthood outweighed the sadness of his childhood. “The worst thing was that [Mona] instilled in me a belief I was useless,” he says. “In my adult life it has been an enormous pleasure – and my greatest ambition – to prove her wrong.”

It’s not surprising that Connolly’s comically dismayed rants are less intense than they once were. In 2013 heConnolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which is why, rather than putting pen to paper, he dictated this book using his smartphone. But the narrative nonetheless retains the winding diversions and wild anecdotes that we have long associated with Britain’s finest standup. The voice may be frailer, but the joyful wit is all present and correct.
Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography is available on Two Roads, 8hr 38min

Further listening

Good Omens
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Harper Audio, 12hr 14min
Michael Sheen and David Tennant reprise their 2019 television roles as the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley in a new recording of the apocalyptic comedy, joined by Rebecca Front.

Three Sisters
Heather Morris, Zaffre, 13hr 18min
The third book in the Tattooist of Auschwitz series, charting the lives of three girls living through the Holocaust, is read by actor Finty Williams.

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