This volume of his diaries reveals how Python emerged and triumphed, how he, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, the two Terrys (Jones and Gilliam), and Eric Idle came together and changed the face of British comedy. But this is but only part of Palin's story. Here is his growing family, his home in a north London Victorian terrace, which grows as he buys the house next door and then a second at the bottom of the garden; here, too, is his solo effort: as an actor, his writing endeavours (often in partnership with Terry Jones), and even a pantomime.
Meanwhile Monty Python refuses to go away: the hugely successful movies that follow the TV (his account of the making of both The Holy Grail and the Life of Brian movies is riveting), the at times extraordinary goings-on of the many powerful personalities who coalesced to form the Python team, the fight to prevent an American TV network from bleeping out the best jokes on U.S. transmission, and much more: all this makes for funny and captivating listening.
The birth and childhood of his three children, his father's growing disability, learning to cope as a young man with celebrity, his friendship with George Harrison, and all the trials of a peripatetic life are also essential ingredients of these diaries. A perceptive and funny chronicle, the diaries are a rich portrait of a fascinating period.
©2006 Michael Palin; (P)2006 Orion Publishing Group Ltd.
"Michael Palin is not just one of Britain's foremost comedy character actors, he also talks a lot. Yap, yap, yap he goes, all day long and through the night. Then, some nights, when everyone else has gone to bed, he goes home and writes up a diary." (John Cleese)
"A wealth of fascinating stuff about Monty Python." (The Independent, UK)
What a treat to have Michael Palin read his own diary. The audio format of this book adds in another wonderful dimension to a great story of the ascension to fame, and the difficulties of keeping five incredible comedic geniuses focused and from flying apart at the seams.
The telling of his hosting of Saturday Night Live had me crying from laughter in my car. Other things such as John Cleese' apparent desire to branch out, Graham Chapman's alcoholism, and how Michael deals with the death of his father, are deeply touching and show that he is still an ordinary guy that just happens to be an international icon.
A great listen, and a great performance from Palin in the reading.
As a HUGE Python fan, the stories were of moderate interest, but there wasn't a lot of humor here. I have already read some of the histories of the "Pythons", so others may fine this a bit more informative than I did. Out of almost 5 hours of material, there were about 10 minutes of laughs - a few minutes on SNL were a riot.
Yes, I would listen again because Michael Palin has a very nice voice and it is his story. In fact, I have listened again when I was not in the mood for music and found some of the stories aI missed or wanted to hear again.
Michael Palin. :) He bothered to keep the diary.
I have not heard him read his writing before, but I love his performances in almost every movie or TV show in which he has appeared.
The whole diary provoked a lot of thought about how Monty Python's Flying Circus came to be and started to come apart. Memories of watching it with family or friends came back to me. Also, I liked having him in my head. I keep a journal and am trying to write more. He seems like a fun person who loves and is loved and loves life. He didn't write much about the little fish face slapping dance or coaching the crowd in Life of Brian, but he didn't have to.
I am a little disappointed that he did not include John Cleese's quote that opened the paper book.
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