HELEN BACH COLUMN: Fabulous Billy and I are kindred spirits!

I stumbled across ‘Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure’ on ITV by accident, writes Helen Bach.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 2:40 pm
Billy Connolly appears to be coping well with his Parkinson’s disease

On Boxing Day evening, I had planned on watching ‘Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Christmas Fishing’, but daughter wanted to watch the ‘Celebs Sing Showtunes with the hope of getting a West End contract’ programme (not its actual title, sorry if that sounds harsh, but that’s what it felt like in places!), and Billy followed that.

It was joyous, if slightly rude and a bit sweary in places, but then that’s Mr Connolly for you.

He looks so well, despite his Parkinson’s disease, and is happy living in Key West... and who wouldn’t be?

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While we were wrapped in fog with concrete skies occasionally poking through, his were the brightest blue with the sun beaming down on him. He said that he is happiest with a good book, a mug of tea and a McVitie’s digestive biscuit and I thought: “Billy, we’re kindred spirits.”

He is a regular visitor to a bookshop owned by author Judy Blume, and the woman who works there recommends books to him that she thinks he’ll enjoy, which he happily purchases and takes home to read in the sunshine.

It was at this point that I thought I may have missed my calling. When I was younger I wanted to work in a record shop and listen to 80s music all day, but now it would be a book store or a library.

To be surrounded by books each and every day, and to help people choose ones they’d enjoy, that’s my heaven is a place on earth, Belinda Carlisle.

I’m sure there are downsides, and regular paper-cuts would be an occupational hazard, but I think a library or bookshop would be a lovely place to spend my working hours, hopefully with similarly like-minded bookish people.

It made my heart glad to learn that real, actual, hold-it-in-your-hand, read-it-wherever-you-like book sales remain strong, despite the availability of e-readers and other ‘online provisions’.

Long may we continue to buy or borrow proper books and enjoy reading them, talking about them, and recommending them to friends.