Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Billy Connolly Gets Freedom Of Glasgow
Glasgow Boards/Forums > GG Discussions > Glasgow News Blog
Pages: 1, 2
GG
Billy Connolly was awarded the freedom of the city of Glasgow at a ceremony in the city chambers last night. Affectionately known as "The Big Yin", Connolly was given the award in recognition of his long career in comedy, film and television, as well as his charity work.

The 67-year-old comedian, who yesterday delivered a rousing eulogy in memory of his late friend Jimmy Reid, attended the ceremony in flamboyant Comme des Garcons tartan strides and dark jacket.

Connolly, arguably the most-famous Glaswegian in the world, said that he was hugely honoured to receive the award, although admitted that he did not know of the existence of the freedom of the city prior to being nominated for it in June this year. However, demonstrating that he had since read-up on the benefits of the freedom, The Big Yin quipped:

QUOTE
"This has taken my breath away. I am completely blown away. I am thrilled and I can't really put into words how I feel about it. Apparently I have to defend Glasgow if called to, which I am perfectly prepared to do and which I have done on many, many occasions in the past.

But if I commit a crime and am flung in jail, I am entitled to a cell of my own, which I would like more than anything in the world."

Connolly, who lives in homes in New York and Aberdeenshire, said he was hugely proud to be a Glawegian but was sometimes stunned by the rate of change in his home city, and felt nostalgic for the city of his past.

QUOTE
"I don’t dwell on where I come from. It's a great trap to fall into. I meet all these guys all over world, particularly from Govan and the Gorbals, who say 'Never forget where you come from', and of course I don’t, but it can be a mistake to dwell on it. You can get a bit, 'Och aye the noo'. But I’m immensely proud of Glasgow. And as soon as I open my mouth, you can tell where I come from."

The Anderston-born comedian, who once famously joked that Glasgow's most-endearing quality was that if the city was hit in a nuclear attack it would look exatly the same afterwards, added:

QUOTE
"There's nothing I would change about Glasgow. In fact, it changes too much for me. I come back and the trendy restaurant isn’t the trendy restaurant any more. It gets brighter and brighter but I liked it the way it was. When I think of Glasgow I see Renfield Street; it’s raining, there’s cobbles. It was beautiful. It was like Las Vegas."

Messages of congratulation were sent by other freemen of the city of Glasgow including Nelson Mandela, Jim Watt, Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish.


Billy Connolly performing 'I wish I was in Glasgow' in Belfast.

Click to view attachment

GG.
Anne1
Well done Billy biggrin.gif
norriep
I would dearly have loved to see Pastor Jack Glass' face... biggrin.gif

PS to the under 50s - Pastor Jack Glass was a joyless wee bampot who use to protest outside Billy's shows in the 70s and 80s. He must have been worth millions in free publicity. Not sure whether it was Billy's material or his natal catholicism he objected to. I suspect both.
norriep
Ha! Thought I had this. A photo of Billy rearranging the family silver at the Paisley Folk Club 25th anniversary bash in the early 80s. He had been invited, but didn't reply as he was wasn't sure he could make it. He walked in to the Silver Thread Hotel off the street, played some songs, told a few stories and left us all in stitches.

Sorry about the quality of the photie - scanned from a dodgy negative on a cheap scanner.
GG
Brilliant photo, thanks for taking the time to scan, Norrie. The Big Yin looks like he's having a good time!

I think some of us forget how hard it must have been for Billy early in his career, establishing himself as a somewhat unique act. He must have had tremendous confidence in his own abilities and talents.

P.S. there's a 'Pastor Jack Glass' topic on GGDB for those interested:

http://discuss.glasgowguide.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=1084

GG.
Jim D
I remember in the early 70's (1974?) he did a gig at "THe Marlborough" at Shawlands Cross for the Bellarmine FP's. Him and the 3rd City String Band. He cost 75 on that occasion. The next year he was charging 1000 and the following year he was selling out the Appollo!
auldbutcher
Weel done billsybob here a funny thing when i have a wee dream aboot glesga its rainin and there is cobbles, hi youse anywan know why they got rid o them.. Wee pastor glass like a said afore was a blow up fer a guy in a holy picture ah wance saw it wis judas the grass, iwies mind o him thrown the florins or wis it hauf croons saying Connoly blasphemer, jasus wonders if there wis any weans aboot they widda thought the perr o them wis getting married biggrin.gif ..

Thing is it made headlines in the paper ,wee bit o free publicity didnae dae any harm did it Billy laugh.gif wonders whit happened tae the wee pastor, did he get wise an say tae hell wie it theres mair money in it, an became a staun up comic lol
sheila buddle
Absolutely brilliant! - and about time too.
Jupiter
I saw Billy three years ago and can honestly say Ive never laughed so much in my life.My wife thought I was about to take a heart attack.What a night.
Well done Billy and congratulations.
troutmask
Well I'm a bit disappointed about Billy Connolly accepting the freedom of the city thing. I am a big fan of Billy Connolly, but at his best he was always edgy, and a bit of an untamed outsider. I could be wrong, but I feel political accolades is something that tames the outsider type of comedian. I could never see Lenny Bruce accepting the freedom of New York City.. not that they would have ever offered it to him.. and thats my point, they only give these things if they think you wont frighten the horses.
wee davy
QUOTE (auldbutcher @ 21st Aug 2010, 01:28pm) *
Weel done billsybob here a funny thing when i have a wee dream aboot glesga its rainin and there is cobbles, hi youse anywan know why they got rid o them..


I'm really pleased for Billy's honour - ah think he gets permission to drive sheep or cattle through the toon as well, diz he no?

In answer to your question, butch - apart from the ease of repairing tarmac, the only other reason I can find for removing cobbles (correct term, rectangular setts I believe, in Renfield Street?), is the noise factor. Although as you've noticed, they have appeared quite extensively once again, all over the UK, in pedestrianised streets, as a SAFETY feature, for people to HEAR any oncoming vehicles!!

There's always SOME smert a**e aroond, somewhere - as the Big Yin, might've said! laugh.gif
bilbo.s
Does all this mean I can re-post his censored "blasphemous" clip on religion, complete with sweary words ?

rolleyes.gif Naw, didnae think so!!
auldbutcher
Thanks smart ass laugh.gif aye Davy the thing is the cobbles lasted a lot longer than the tarmac i wance wis employed on the roads davy and the tarmac jobs were first class nooadays the cowboy firms daen this work are a bluddy joke .

Its aw heavy machinery noo daen the job no long efter i had retired fae work as a butcher there was a firm employed ootside my windae repairin the road whit a saw there widda lead tae the whole gang bein dismissed oota haun if they had worked fer Robert McCarrol o bishopbriggs.

Mibbies get Billy tae open a butchers shop wie aw these sheep an cattle gies a job am desperate dan laugh.gif
wee davy
QUOTE (bilbo.s @ 21st Aug 2010, 02:33pm) *
Does all this mean I can re-post his censored "blasphemous" clip on religion, complete with sweary words ?

rolleyes.gif Naw, didnae think so!!


ye kin fer me, bilbo - bit be careful - ye might be fer the high jump, pal! ah kin see the bizzies comin doon the lane noo fur ye! hahaha

you must be oan yer umtydumtyeth warning lol laugh.gif
wee davy
Click to view attachment

"Noo where's thon Bully Connolly fella? Bert he husnae got a statue tae him yit!"

(ye use the wee edit button, butch - if yer quick enough - other than that ye nee tae gie GG a call smile.gif
bilbo.s
QUOTE (wee davy @ 21st Aug 2010, 04:40pm) *
ye kin fer me, bilbo - bit be careful - ye might be fer the high jump, pal! ah kin see the bizzies comin doon the lane noo fur ye! hahaha

you must be oan yer umtydumtyeth warning lol laugh.gif

Ye cannae git rid o me that easy tongue.gif Onyweys, onybody can fun it oan Youtube easy eneugh !
norrie123
Well done to Billy Connolly, possibly not everyone favourite person but I like him.

Bye for now, norrie
carmella
I am absolutely delighted that the Big Yin got this award - and well deserved in my opinion.

I think he is so funny, if I'm ever feeling down he is about the only person who will instantly cheer me up.

Well done Big Yin.
*Oldsmiddy*
Congratulations Billy, I'm a big fan, you're so multi-talented, saw you about 30 years ago when you appeared at a school auditorium in Oshawa, & I remember you said, "I wonder what this toon looks like, as I've never seen it, I'm always arrivin' in the dark" you were wearin' your banana boots then, & I'll always cherrish the fact that I saw you live. A long life to you Billy.
*Helen*
My congratulations to Billy Connolly.... I can identify with most of his stories of Glasgow.... tells it like it was.... and is not ashamed of his poor beginnings in fact his being able to laugh about it and magically does the same for his audiences.... I was born in Bridgeton.... lived through WW11.... I would not change my birthplace that wonderful little piece of Real Estate called Bridgeton which allowed me to pull myself up by my bootstraps.... move on to better circumstances.... and yet my heart still belongs to Glasgow..... At 72 my memory may fail me a little.... but just listening to one of Billy's DVD's bring back such wonderful memories of my childhood.... thank you Billy.... Helen in Canada.
annie laurie
I agree he did make you laugh and was funny,
But when he played in Vancouver in the 76,
The people were walking out in discuss, i think it was the Profanity {spelling sorry]

I can think of lots of other Comedian who never received the freedom of Glasgow,
wub.gif
glasgow lass
Congradulations Billy, he may seem a little untamed ,,,,,, but are'nt aw Glesga men rolleyes.gif biggrin.gif
*Maisie Egger*
Maybe Bill Connelly needs to rethink his claim when interviewed in the defunct Weekly News aeons ago that he never felt he belonged to Glasgow until Celtic won some sort of notable football match. He expanded on this about growing up in Glasgow and always felt that because of his religion he felt as if he were an outsider. Well, whatever his hang-up was it didn't stop him from getting a job in the shipyards, and then going on from there capitalising on Glasgow humour that he grew up with. I can't stand his predilection for interjecting a foul word at every opportunity. The most entertaining people I know don't need to resort to such gutter talk. Nope! Glasgow shuld have given more thought to "honouring" someone who didn't think much of Glasgow early on.
*JUNGLEBOY 1958*
Gawn yersel bigyin it's aboot time ya was honoured by yer ain kinna folk. I fished with the bigyin many years ago when he stayed at Drymen.
annie laurie
NAW GL I DONT AGREE WITH YOU THERE

He is funny I will admit, but like I said there is a lot of good people out there that i can think of who deserve it more, wub.gif
Lennox
Congratulations Billy, it has been a long time coming for you !

Don't Change .
Elma
We went to see him every time he was in Vancouver and even took our children, teenagers then, with us. We even bought his record (yes record!) every time too. Well done Billy, I always enjoy him when I see him on TV.

Just last weekend I saw his Blue Ray DVD of his "Journey to the top of the World" where he journeyed from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island by way of the Northern Passage. It was excellent and although it wasn't a comedy he did manage to bring his sencse of humour to all that he saw and met.
auldbutcher
ta davy ahl member that wink.gif
witshisname
Congratulations ''Big Yin'' a very well deserved award.
Jim D
What a good number of people don't realise is that the big yin was one of the 1st alternative comedians. He didn't tell gags, he told funny stories or observations.

I was out in Glasgow yesterday with guys that I started work with 30 years ago. We were killing outselves laughing at some of the things that happened to us back then. Billy was clever enough to remember his stories or somebody elses stories and used them on stage.
AGNES & ROBERT
Hi Wee Davy where about is that statue of Desperate Dan?
Anne1
Hi Robert I always thought Statue of Desparate Dan was in Dundee smile.gif
proudmaryhiller
So pleased for Billy always liked him, my mum went to see him at the Pavilion in the 1970's and she said he was hilarious. biggrin.gif

Anne the Desperate Dan statue is in Dundee, was up there last year and stood next to it, there is also one of Minnie the Minx too.
Grampar
So the man who in my opinion has denegrated Glasgow and Scotland on so many occasions now has the freedom of our city. I can guess that those who presented a case for this accolade are of an age not to have seen the Big Yin in his early days and his T.V. appearances on the Parkinson Show and other mainly English based programmes where he took an apparent pleasure in knocking his home city and country. Dont get me wrong I too laugh a lot at his humour and have enjoyed many a performance on his World Tour series but to give him the freedom of the City? NEVER. It should be reserved for people who promote the City or like Nelson Mandela have made important changes to world history. Good luck to Billy and long may he continue to entertain us so long as he refrains from making a mockery of our City and Nation in the way he did in the early seventies. wink.gif
wellfield
Nelson Mandela!!!!! crivens...That man was a communist and leader of the communst party in Africa for years..I don't condone what went on in Africa for years,but I guess now it's all politically correct..."Billy is a comedian..and has done tons for Glasgow and Scotland for that fact..what a rise he has had ..(and the hours of laughter he has brought me) from a Shipyard welder to an International celebrity..and he's a good soul!!..lighten up my 'glasow board' friend..Enjoy the laughter!!!!
wee davy
QUOTE (*Maisie Egger* @ 21st Aug 2010, 05:16pm) *
The most entertaining people I know don't need to resort to such gutter talk. Nope! Glasgow shuld have given more thought to "honouring" someone who didn't think much of Glasgow early on.

Awae an bile yer heid, wummin!
Do I detect a bit ai the green mist comin doon, here?
Billy resorted tae shock tactics, when he realised he could get away wi it - there were many more down south, using bad language gratuitously - but to tell the truth, much of his profanity is part of folklore - my grannie's best pal talked wie every third word a non-swear word - and like so many others, it was only her lack of a real education. She was a real kind hearted soul, for all that - and although could be a bit intimidating - would give her last h'apenny tae anybody.

Billy only emphasised whit wiz already there - told it in the raw.

Since those early days, he's been a great example and a fine ambassador for Scotland.
Your award is well deserved Billy - even though ye still cannae sing ten guitars! lol
Celyn
QUOTE (norriep @ 21st Aug 2010, 11:02am) *
I would dearly have loved to see Pastor Jack Glass' face... biggrin.gif

PS to the under 50s - Pastor Jack Glass was a joyless wee bampot who use to protest outside Billy's shows in the 70s and 80s. He must have been worth millions in free publicity. Not sure whether it was Billy's material or his natal catholicism he objected to. I suspect both.

Oh, both, I imagine. So that whole wee game worked as free publicity both for Jack Glass and for Billy Connolly. As for wanting to see Jack Glass's face? Oh no, you will remember what an unhappy wee face he had. Or, to be fair, the face that he presented to the public: he might, of course, have been all sorts of kind to small children and fluffy animals for all I know (but I think history does not relate) but his general expression did not admit of anything good. Your phrase "joyless wee bampot" seems about right.

QUOTE (troutmask @ 21st Aug 2010, 02:07pm) *
Well I'm a bit disappointed about Billy Connolly accepting the freedom of the city thing. I am a big fan of Billy Connolly, but at his best he was always edgy, and a bit of an untamed outsider. I could be wrong, but I feel political accolades is something that tames the outsider type of comedian. I could never see Lenny Bruce accepting the freedom of New York City.. not that they would have ever offered it to him.. and thats my point, they only give these things if they think you wont frighten the horses.

Oh, I think he stopped being "untamed" a while ago. Pretty much joined the Royal family, blah blah. So, yes, I am sure he will not frighten the horses of the Glasgow Councillors.

QUOTE (wellfield @ 21st Aug 2010, 11:45pm) *
Nelson Mandela!!!!! crivens...That man was a communist and leader of the communst party in Africa for years..

Was he? You are not confusing him with Joe Slovo or anyone? Plus, you rather make it sound as though that were a crime in itself.

QUOTE (wellfield @ 21st Aug 2010, 11:45pm) *
I don't condone what went on in Africa for years,but I guess now it's all politically correct...

I think you do not really mean that apartheid was politically correct. Or do you?

QUOTE (wellfield @ 21st Aug 2010, 11:45pm) *
"Billy is a comedian..and has done tons for Glasgow and Scotland for that fact..what a rise he has had ..(and the hours of laughter he has brought me) from a Shipyard welder to an International celebrity..and he's a good soul!!..lighten up my 'glasow board' friend..Enjoy the laughter!!!!

I tend to think he is one who used to be funny then become not so funny. I'm not sure that he "has done tons for Glasgow and Scotland for that fact".

Oh well, I hope he has fun with it. I am disappointed to see that the "Freedom ..." does not let the said Freeman drive the geese and pigs along the main road and bridges and that sort of thing, but I am sure it is nice for him to be able to graze his cattle on Glasgow Green, and to fish on the Clyde. Oh NOES! Also "Freemen do not have to associate with un-Freemen", so he doesnae have to talk to you and me. BUT, on the good side, he now has " the duty to patrol and guard the town (watch and ward); the duty to defend the town by arms", so that's good. Because Glasgow people really DO need to be protected, most notably from their supposed Council, so that would be a good thing. A tall-ish bloke with yellow boots would surely frighten them off.
andypisces
Wellfield get your fact correct. Nelson mandela was not the leader of or a member of the comminust party. Besides even if he had been it is no crime to be a member of any party that may get your people freedom.He was a great man and sacrificed himself to better the conditions for his people. I like connolly and have been to see him and been in his company many times in Ottawa but he dopes not compare with NELSON MANDELA............Andy
BobTheJoiner
I might be wrong but I kinda thought that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist but I also know that one is not allowed to vent such thoughts openly anymore due to political correctness gone barking mad !!!
Before being jailed I was led to believe Mandela was a bad yin ......... he was jailed for an inordinate period and this made his past deeds get forgotten and clouded greatly - I think.

But Glasgow being Glasgow someone somewhere thought it a bright idea to jump on the wagon of publicity and the rest is history.

Was or is Billy Connolly such a great Glaswegian? As far as I can see he has buggered off and only uses our city for his own gains.

I'd give the freedom of the city to a life long surgeon, doctor, nurse or policeman who has dedicated his or her life to my city.
Melody
Well I'm on the side of the no's here. I spoke earlier of wanting to see Dorothy Paul to be given some sort of accolade by the city. To my mind she has portrayed the funny, quirky and loving side of the Glasgow personality, mind you she chose to stay in her beloved city, anyway I guess that's just down to personal taste.
In his early years I thought Billy Connolly was no more funny than the average Glasgow boy in the street he simply entertained by being a Glaswegian in front of an audience. His toilet humour left me cold quite honestly. Yes, I agree that humour is vital in our lives especially in this climate at the moment however I also feel that a surgeon or someone who has achieved good works for Glasgow would be a far more worthy recipient. Mind you, I'm not surprised that the clowns in the Chambers are happy with such choices, they are all comics. Maybe people who live abroad appreciate his humour more as they may not hear it everyday.
Jupiter
Ive congratulated Connolly on getting the Keys of the city and in retrospect,although I agree with the decision,I think of the likes of the Beatles getting OBE/MBEs at the Palace in the 60s and admitting they smoked dope in the Palace toilets at the time.A big no no.Also the likes of Mick Jagger a reputed wild man of pop,also with some drugs baggage over the years,Elton John,Paul McCartney arrested and jailed in Japan for drugs.All living the pop star life in their youths but having aged a bit given knighthoods."I used to care,but things have changed."Bob Dylan wrote that."I agree"I wrote that.
Joop
wee davy
QUOTE (proudmaryhiller @ 21st Aug 2010, 10:07pm) *
So pleased for Billy always liked him, my mum went to see him at the Pavilion in the 1970's and she said he was hilarious. biggrin.gif

Anne the Desperate Dan statue is in Dundee, was up there last year and stood next to it, there is also one of Minnie the Minx too.


Since when did yoos yin's become wee davy? tongue.gif Thanks fur answering that question.
Tae ma mind its wan ai the best statues in the whole of the UK - bar none.
Anybody know who did it?
bilbo.s
QUOTE (wee davy @ 22nd Aug 2010, 12:07pm) *
Since when did yoos yin's become wee davy? tongue.gif Thanks fur answering that question.
Tae ma mind its wan ai the best statues in the whole of the UK - bar none.
Anybody know who did it?

http://www.aboutaberdeen.com/desperate_dan_statue_dundee.php


All will be revealed. smile.gif
benny
Billy's statement, ". . . . .I’m immensely proud of Glasgow. And as soon as I open my mouth, you can tell where I come from. . . ." has got tae be another joke, surely?

Ah've lived in Glesga aw ma life and ah've never heard an accent like it - no even in Kelvinside. It's like a cross between "Scotty" frae Star Trek an the Laird Of Auchtermuchty. As far as aw this palaver aboot bein "proud of Glasgow" is concerned, Billy - like many other Glesga celebrities who hit the big time - couldnae cover his tracks fast enough when he made good.

Whether he's a good comedian or otherwise is a matter of opinion - peoples' tastes vary - but there's nae doubt in ma mind he has done nothing tae deserve the Freedom of the City.
Jupiter
Benny,maybe a wee bit off topic but Ive got to agree with you re individuals from Glasgow who for some reason or other change their accent.There is no doubt the Glasgow accent is unique and when spoken by a native outside the city can be difficult to understand,I think due to the speed we talk.I travelled about a bit and am compelled to speak differently,slower,and out of the vernacular simply in order to be understood but I could never not talk in my native accent.There are a few Glaswegian celebrities who affect a sort of hybrid english/american accent which usually falls apart when they start to talk fast when they lapse into the Glasgow accent.Billy Connolly has,through necessity had to change his manner of speaking but I could never call what he talks now a Glasgow accent.
On a footnote many people over the world have said how much they love my Glasgow accent.They have taste.
Joop
wee davy
benny
QUOTE
Ah've lived in Glesga aw ma life and ah've never heard an accent like it - no even in Kelvinside

melody
QUOTE
To my mind she has portrayed the funny, quirky and loving side of the Glasgow personality, mind you she chose to stay in her beloved city

Do I detect jist a wee bit of inverted snobbery here? Is the freedom of the city honour only reserved for residents? No (Mandela) Is it to recognise talented people who have made a difference/impression upon the world stage? Most definitely!

I have been proud to have been associated with Billy Connolly, throughout my life. He has often been topic of conversation (yes sometimes for all the wrong reasons), however I believe he has also often shown the true Glaswegian - in the raw - with all its foibles.

joop
many people over the world have said how much they love my Glasgow accent
I have had similar experiences 'all over the world' joop - and like Billy I've been non-domicile for over 40 years now. Unlike Billy however, I'm pretty sure millions of people don't see ME as having any particular talent.

bilbo
thanks for the link, mate
Jupiter
Davy,He is quite simply the funniest person I ever had the pleasure to sit in a theatre and listen to.In fact he should carry a government health warning as I nearly died laughing.
Joop.
wee davy
I'll never forget seeing him in his banana boots, in Edinburgh.
He brought the house down - quite literally - they were jumpin' up & doon oan their seats, man!
And at the end - they gave him a good 5 minute ovation - to whit he came running back frae the dressing room - grabbed the microphone, ... and said "it's nae good ye's hangi' aboot here - if ye think am gonnae dae wan ai them oncorr thingies, for a set ai Edin - burghers (I've cleaned that up a bit lol) - yev'e goat anuther thing comin'"
Then strode back aff.
They LUVVED it - and gave him ANOTHER 5 minute ovation! I kid you not!

davy
*Catarina*
Anytime I get a bit homesick for my hometown of Glasgow, I download some old Billy Connolly videos from U-tube and enjoy a good few wee chuckles.

Love the Guy.
benny
QUOTE (Jupiter @ 22nd Aug 2010, 12:17pm) *
. . . .There are a few Glaswegian celebrities who affect a sort of hybrid english/american accent which usually falls apart when they start to talk fast when they lapse into the Glasgow accent.Billy Connolly has,through necessity had to change his manner of speaking but I could never call what he talks now a Glasgow accent.
On a footnote many people over the world have said how much they love my Glasgow accent.They have taste.
Joop

Ah don't hiv any problems wi people changin their accent tae further their career, or for whitever other reason, but Billy hisnae jist modified his original Glesga accent, he's created a hybrid monster whose roots lie God knows where - certainly no in Glesga.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.