Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fiery Bum Syndrome

Bravemouth: Living with Billy Connolly
by Pamela Stephenson

Genre; Biography/Comedy
Publisher; Headline/London/2003
ISBN; 0-7553-1293-7
Pages; 241

Plot; Abused child, turn welder, turn folk-singer, turn comedian, turn actor, Bravemouth is about living with the enigmatic, genius who is Billy Connolly.

Focusing on Billy's upcoming 60th birthday party, Pamela Stephenson talks about her husband and the traumatic roots from which he has grown a successful career and happy family. The book climaxing with one hell of a birthday bash and a troubling, yet beneficial, trip to Africa.

My Thoughts; As Billy would say, "Och!"

What a fantastic read! I have not laughed that much in a long, long while. "Pamsy" takes the man that we all already know and love and manages to make him all the more lovable.

Firstly I want to compliment the writing. Stephenson has structured this book brilliantly, focusing the story on the extravagant 60th birthday party she throws for Billy with continual flashes back to how the Billy Connolly we know became the Billy Connolly we know. She spreads light on all those things we didn't know about Billy, sometimes making us angry, sometimes bringing a tear to the reader's eye and, most commonly, making us roll on the floor with uncontrollable laughter.

What I think is one of the most precious things about this book is how Stephenson exposes the real Billy. The real Billy who may joke about his "saggy arse" on stage, but who is just as concerned about the sag as any other 60 year old male. The real Billy who everyday questions why he has been so lucky and wonders why he is showered with accolades which he feels he doesn't deserve.

Another aspect of this book I found irresistible was trying to figure out who all the celebrities are Stephenson talks about. Billy has alot of celebrity friends (the man had over 300 guests at his birthday party, I would be lucky to wrangle 30!) and while there are alot of names mentioned there are alot which Stephenson hints at without full disclosure. Such as, the young male actor Billy has worked with who, on a flight seated next to Billy, complained of how exhausting it was to "entertain" two to three L.A. women a day! After reading that paragraph I found myself looking up Billy's film list on IMDB looking for young, male stars.

Bravemouth, at times, can be an emotional book. Yes, Billy has had a troubled youth which can stir up feelings from the reader, but what I found most upsetting was the times when Stephenson voices heart-felt regrets of the time she is not with her husband while he is either touring or travelling. When Billy is home, or when the couple is together, you can imagine how fun and funny their life is, but you can also imagine how saddening it must be to spend those months apart, particularly when Billy is such a strong presence when he is at home.

This book is an educational read. I now know that when I have a craving for curry and plan to spend a night gorging myself at the local curry house, in anticipation of "fiery bum syndrome", it is beneficial to leave a few rolls of toilet paper in the freezer before leaving the house!

If you are a fan of Billy Connolly, or if you have ever watched the man and he has made you laugh, this is the book for you. Treat yourself, the countless laughs are well worth the purchase.

Happy Reading!


  1. visiting via Bookblogs. I enjoyed reading this review, though I don't think the book is for me. Thanks.

  2. I'm the same way when people leave little clues about "scandalous" tidbits but don't identify the people! This sounds like a fun, interesting read. I'm going to have to IMDB him and see what I've seen him in!