BILLY Connolly will ever, I am certain, be the funniest man I have ever heard/seen. In my view, his ability to reduce an audience to tears of laughter is without parallel in the English-speaking comedic world and in this regard his service to us all may be viewed as of inestimable value, particularly in the area of holding up a mirror to the often-ludicrous inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies of people and life.

However, many of those ludicrous inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies were drawn from what he often saw and exclaimed as "shortbread-tin" Scottishness and "tartan kitsch" as apparently exemplified by the likes of Harry Lauder, Andy Stewart, Jimmy Logan, Take the High Road and the White Heather Club. That these were soft targets made them no-less the bulls-eyes of Billy's flourishes and, oh, along with The Big Yin, it was difficult not to roar with laughter at them, such was his delivery and imaginative flights of often-surrealistic fancies.

But to many, perhaps not endowed with his keen, if acerbic, sardonic sensibilities, they were hurtful parodies and pastiches of long-cherished good times, innocent, even naive memories of a world no longer current but still extant in the quiet mind's eye of reminiscence.

Which is why his fairly recent, ostensibly damascene, conversion to all things Scottish just sticks ever so slightly in the craw. From his knighthood from an Establishment to whom he ranks as a subject not an equal, through to his now-elevated position as Grand Marshal of New York's Tartan Day Parade along Manhattan's Sixth Avenue ("Start spreading the news ... Big Yin to lead Big Apple's Tartan Day Parade", The Herald, February 22) it would appear that Sir Billy is now perfectly at ease with honours and commendations as a great Scot, notwithstanding his previously jaundiced views of his homeland. We all know that the past is, indeed, a foreign country and that they do things differently there, but memories endure.

Still, I suspect and hope it is nothing more than the inevitable mellowing of the years that has brought him round to a more sanguine view of Scotland and its peoples and wish him nothing but the best of health and fortune in his uncertain future.

Gerard McCulloch,

Moffat Wynd, Saltcoats.