Monday, April 05, 2010

The old yin...

Stayed up and watched Billy Connolly on The South Bank Show Revisited. What a strange, cigarette-infused husky voice from another planet he had in those early clips. Today, he's looking like an old yin. Which he should be; he was born in 1942. Good show - he's spent the last two decades getting increasingly annoying with his ventures into film, those irritating travelogues on a trike and wittering on about the abuse he suffered to Pamela, who didn't have the decency to just listen and offer advice but got it all published. Bragg took him back to basics last night, although over-intellectualising comedy always makes those doing it look pretentious and unfunny. There was a strange moment in time, when British comedy was in its post-Python, where's Not The Nine O'clock News, hurry up and write Hitchhikers please Douglas Adams doldrums, that I listened to a lot of Connolly. And, oh this is rather embarrassing, Jasper Carrot, Mike Harding and, deary me please forgive me then kill me, Max Boyce. I also had a cheap Connolly book - published by some outfit called Arrow I think - that basically contained transcribed bits of his stand-up. One bit explained the leap of faith he had to take in order to escape the world of work to try and make a go of it. This was inspired, somewhat, by an old welder he worked with in the Glasgow shipyards. On a day when it was pissing with rain, the old guy, looking worn out and close to tears, turned to Connolly and told him to just do it. "Son. You don't want to be the one working, when you're 60, with the rain pissing off your back wishing you'd done the things you always talked about." So off he went. Although there will be some, those who remember his bothersome take on the Village People's In The Navy, the reworked In The Brownies, say, or those still offended by the jokes about a hostage that was soon to be beheaded, who'll wish he hadn't bothered. But the old guy's advice remains sound and should be followed.

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