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Festivale Book Section Book Reviews

Autumn 1997

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The Big Book of Billy

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The Funny Side of Billy Connolly, Bruce Desau
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Hardcover, RRP $A29.95
ISBN 0752 80737 4,
This is very much a coffee table book. It is relatively large, has thick glossy pages, lots of full page photographs, with meaningful captions, and contains a very succinct outline of Billy Connolly's career.

My first impression of the book was that it contained quite a few nuggets of information that could be gleaned simply from the photographs and their accompanying captions. It was this that got me sufficiently hooked to sit down and read it from cover to cover.

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Mr Desau covers Billy Connolly's life from his birth in Glasgow through to 1996. In between we get to see how Billy started in the shipyards in Glasgow. His brief flirtation with folk singing, which was where he started to have more fun with his comedic interludes than this singing, through to his stand-up comic sets at various locations, including London and the USA.

Over the 25 years of his career, he has done a number of film appearances, not always as a comic, some television, including Worzel Gummidge, and some stage work. This is a person who does not believe in limiting himself to only one form of entertainment. Some of his attempts may not have been massive commercial successes, but it would appear that Billy Connolly views it all as a learning experience.

Considering the size of the book, the author manages to capture the highlights of Billy Connolly's career, however, they are only the highlights. There is sufficient information presented, in an entertaining manner, to warrant seeking out more in-depth books to complement this one.

Richard Hryckiewicz

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