I was delighted to receive an early Xmas gift from my talented niece Anna Devitt. She dragged me out on a frosty night after a hard day at work under much protest, only to delight me with an evening of entertainment that I will never forget.
He chatted easily with the presenter as she guided us through a string of fabulous films that Billy has appeared in over the years, a few times having to stop her rehearsed script to allow the comedian to take his audience on a nostalgic trip as he shared stories old and new of his life with big stars such as Richard Burton, Robin Williams, Michael J Fox and Dame Judi Dench.
I thought it ironic that Billy had donated his famous Banana Skin boots to Glasgow’s People Palace years ago, for surely the venue of the night would have been an appropriate arena for such attire.
Instead the man himself sported red tartan jeans, and a black T-shirt. His banter never waivered as he relaxed and taking questions from the audience, flexed his wit and intelligence.
If ever a definition was needed for the term “Working Class Hero”, then this man is it. I cannot claim, as many Glaswegians do, to have shared a pint with him in the Scotia bar, I never lived next door to his Granny, and we never bought budgie seed at the same pet shop.
Yet Billy Connolly is my heritage. He is inspirational, using his gift of the gab to provide entertainment for his fans, and a fantastic lifestyle for himself. He has brought tears of laughter to my eyes when I was feeling down or going through a rough patch in my life, and for that I thank him.
The evening ended with Kevin Bridges handing over the BAFTA award to Mr Connolly as recognition of his achievement in film.
Kevin, a comedic gem in his own right, looked thrilled to be in the presence of his hero. As he handed the award over I couldn’t help but think of it as emotional in the way that a young apprentice would hand a gold clock to his colleague on retirement.
There are no signs of Billy Connolly hanging up his carpet slippers just yet. From his days as a musician in The Humblebums, to making stand up comedy a part of life, he has shared celluloid with so many actors, and even been the voice-over in several animated films including Brave.
At 70 years old his sharp wit still cuts like a razor. His warm personality wraps around you like a hug from an old friend and his Glasgow accent tickles your ears like fairy kisses.