Read Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years by Michael Palin Free Online
Book Title: Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years|
The author of the book: Michael Palin
ISBN 13: 9780297844365
Edition: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Date of issue: 2006
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 32.74 MB
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Reader ratings: 6.2
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Michael Palin has always probably been my favorite Python. I didn't know, prior to finding this book at a book sale recently, that he was a diarist as well as comedic genius. This first volume covers the Python Years, 1969-1979 - basically the rise and fall of the Pythons during their glory years. I grew up watching their movies (collective and individual works) and shows and Fawlty Towers, and to be honest, I didn't really appreciate them until my teen years because my younger ears didn't understand the British dialect at all; they could all have been speaking Latin for all I knew, I couldn't make sense of it. As I got older and learned to understand the British accent, I finally understood what made so much of it funny. (Okay, I always really enjoyed Fawlty Towers.)
But it was probably A Fish Called Wanda that really turned it around for me. And that's not even actually a Python movie. But it's my review and my life, so that's how that goes.
I wasn't really sure what to expect from Palin's diaries. I always figured he was sort of the gentle soul of the Python collective, the heart of the group, and for that I felt a draw towards him. I still think that assessment was fairly accurate. There's a lot of heart here, even though these diaries were (for the most part) not written with intention originally of being read by the public. So parts are boring. Do we really need to hear about Palin's gingivectomy? It wouldn't be my first choice of reading material, but it was here, so sure, why not?
Aside from talk of Python stuff, we see how interested Palin was about current events. He was very interested in Nixon and the Watergate scandal, politics, space exploration, even some sports (that I didn't really understand because Brits have funny sports). We see the beginning of the Pythons, but also the beginning of his family: his marriage, each of his three children being born and beginning to grow into little interesting people (and sadly the passage of his father's deterioration from Parkinson's), his career outside the Pythons. And as far as Python affairs go, there's a lot involved as well: talking behind backs, insecurities, ego trips, power trips, he-said-he-saids, financial concerns, personal problems, woes, and issue... the list goes on.
This, of course, is the most interesting because, seriously, no one is picking this book up in hopes Palin talks about his extensive dental problems. There's so much gossip here, in very polite British terms, of course. Many of these Pythons (coughJohnCleesecough) got pretty big for their britches very early on and were clearly only in it for the money, while others were just trying to figure themselves out however they could. Eric Idle, for example, became vegetarian at one point. Back when being vegetarian was sort of a thing no one did. And then wanted personal chefs to come on set with them, but only prepare food for the Pythons.
What I like about diaries like these, while not terribly exciting outwardly, is that I get a glimpse into a time and place I am not familiar with. I was a whole year-and-a-half old at the end of this volume (he met Rowan Atkinson on my first birthday! while I was probably spitting up cake and pooping myself!); Palin was the age then that I am now - mind. blown! He was becoming a celebrity at a time that other exciting things were happening in the celebrity world, like getting to, um, hang with Shelley Duvall while she was filming The Shining (and he actually thought she was cool and not annoying at all which I call bullshit on but whatever), and Bill Murray was his biggest cheerleader evah. And stuff like this that no one else can do today:
The two heroes of Star Wars are also there - Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Harrison Ford.
Hamill is chirpy and is dressed like a delivery boy. Harrison Ford looks young and alienated. He would look over his glasses at us if he had any. As it is he moves broodingly around - like a famous man might do if he knew how famous he is.
(p 620, Saturday, June 16th, 1979)
A brooding Harrison Ford. I would totally write that moment in my diary too.
Throughout all of this, Palin would write about books he was reading or movies he had seen, and it all makes it feel very personable and warm and I just want to sit down and talk to him about stuff.
This was just a lot of fun to read. It's not over-the-top funny or even very Python in execution, but it is an interesting insight to my favorite Palin. I will look for the other two volumes of his published diaries and also plan on getting to those travelogues of his.
Note: I wasn't planning on reading this book so soon, but funny story. The title on the side of the book is printed rather small, as his first name. His last name, however, is written in ginormous red print: PALIN. On more than one occasion since buying this book last month, my boyfriend or I have started screaming "Who brought a Sarah-fucking-Palin book in this house??" before realizing it's totally fine because it's not her at all.
But we can't take it any more. We cannot have this name screaming at us from the bookshelf any longer. So we agreed that it would be one of the next books I read, just so I can move it to the To-Sell stack in a different part of the house.
(I'm pretty sure, after reading this book, that Michael Palin would appreciate that. And probably even agree with us.)
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Read information about the authorMichael Edward Palin, CBE, is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries.
Palin wrote most of his material with Terry Jones. Before Monty Python, they had worked on other shows such as The Ken Dodd Show, The Frost Report and Do Not Adjust Your Set. Palin appeared in some of the most famous Python sketches, including "The Dead Parrot", "The Lumberjack Song", "The Spanish Inquisition" and "Spam". Palin continued to work with Jones, co-writing Ripping Yarns. He has also appeared in several films directed by fellow Python Terry Gilliam and made notable appearances in other films such as A Fish Called Wanda, for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was voted the 30th favourite by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.
After Python, he began a new career as a travel writer. His journeys have taken him across the world, the North and South Poles, the Sahara desert, the Himalayas and most recently, Eastern Europe. In 2000 Palin became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to television.
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