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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Monty to Ken
This volume of diaries sees Palin through the last few years of Python, including Hollywood Bowl performances and Meaning Of Life film, into a period where he combines writing projects with more mainstream acting, culminating with his brilliant performance as Ken in A Fish Called Wanda. Interestingly, although Python ceases to exist as a performing group, Palin and the...
Published on 27 Nov 2009 by Adrenalin Streams

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2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I very much liked watching Michael Palin on TV in his travel programmes. Loved his gentle manner. But found this book quite boring and the author a little bit too sure of himself. Gave up half way through.
Published 2 months ago by patricia oliver


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4.0 out of 5 stars And Now for Something Completely Different, 31 Jan 2012
When this diary starts in 1980 Palin is part of Monty Python about to start "The Meaning Of Life".When the diary finishes the Pythons have disbanded,he has made some very individualistic films and is about to start,unbenkown to him,a new career as a globetrotter.whilst the travel programmes are enjoyable ,what it has meant is that no more are we treated to such funny and original works as "The Missionary" and "A Private Function".however one can well understand his reluctance to continue with the frustrating life of trying to make films,however rewarding they may be.Continually revising the script,finding the actors only for the finance to fall through.The book is on the whole an enjoyable read.Although in the course of 632pages you can get irritated at him on a number of occasions.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, 8 Oct 2014
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I very much liked watching Michael Palin on TV in his travel programmes. Loved his gentle manner. But found this book quite boring and the author a little bit too sure of himself. Gave up half way through.
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19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A soothing read, but..., 6 Mar 2010
By 
Friend of Dorothy (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halfway To Hollywood: Diaries 1980-1988 (Volume Two): The Film Years (Hardcover)
I have been a fan of Michael Palin for almost 40 years, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first volume of his diaries, which records the rise of Monty Python. That volume has several things going for it:

1. It opens when he is still very young, and so is full of wide-eyed enthusiasm (reflected in his diary entries).
2. It covers the prime Python years, culminating with Life of Brian (probably their best work).
3. It provides a lot of insight into the other Pythons e.g. Graham Chapman's drink-fuelled high jinks.
4. Interesting and moving things happen in Palin's family life: the birth of two children; their early years; the illness and death of his father.
5. The reader shares Palin's pleasure in his burgeoning career and resulting prosperity.

The latest volume has more of the same, but in a diminished form: he's older and has seen it all before; Python is winding down; Chapman is now sober; the children are older and less endearing; his career is long established and, reading between the lines, he is now a wealthy man. All this makes the second volume something of an anticlimax after the excitement of the first, while still providing a soothing and enjoyable bedtime read.

Events leading up to and after the suicide of his sister Angela are dealt with in some detail. However, the published entries do not address the one question that kept flashing across my mind: how much, if at all, did the fact of her brother's fame and enormous success during the 70s and 80s contribute to her growing depression and sense of worthlessness? Perhaps it's unfair to ask Palin to publish thoughts of this nature, however interesting they would be for the reader. I suspect he has asked himself the same painful question on many occasions, and may have written about it in his diaries - although these reflections understandably did not make it into the heavily edited published version.

My one major gripe with the diaries is that Palin comes across as a champagne socialist; saying he 'cannot stomach' Margaret Thatcher, but enjoying the full fruits of the economy she created (£33,000 for a few weeks' filming at a time when the average wage was about £10,000 - nice work if you can get it). If there is a swanky London restaurant he didn't patronise during the 1980s, the owners can justifiably feel neglected. And he was no stranger to Concorde. Or, bizarrely, the Turf Club.

There is an unintentionally amusing section where Palin portrays the author George Orwell as a remote toff simply because he went to Eton. A moment's reflection would have told him that the fact he himself attended Shrewsbury School places him in the same category for 99.99% of his readers. Later in the diaries he becomes friends with the TV director Tristram Powell. I'm pretty certain that Powell also went to Eton (like his father Anthony, the novelist and another noted diarist) but Palin doesn't refer to this and it doesn't appear to be a barrier to their friendship.

Like all good socialists (except those in government) Palin sends his own children to local state schools, but then seems bewildered when his eldest son fails to emulate his father's academic success. Public schools seem to imbue their pupils with much more confidence than state schools, muses the ex-Shrewsbury man without apparent irony. Luckily for Tom Palin, his dad is able to fix him up with a job at the Python production house. None of this makes the amiable diarist a bad man, but somehow it grated on me (an ex-comprehensive man whose own, partly disabled, father had zero educational advantages, wealth, fame, contacts or clout).

Despite the above, I remain a firm fan and I'll definitely buy the third volume when it appears. However, I'm already steeling myself for disappointment. It will cover the years when he made most of his travel documentaries, which in my view are the equivalent of televisual wallpaper (albeit from Laura Ashley).

Perhaps Palin has been the victim of his own immense likeability. The BBC only has to point a camera at him to attract a viewing audience of 10 million. I suspect he knows, in his heart of hearts, he could have done something more worthwhile with the last 20 years than trail round the world making wry remarks about men on camels. In my view, his entire post-1988 output does not amount to a single new half-decent episode of Python - although the diaries are some compensation.

P.S. Re-reading the above, I realise some might conclude that I don't like Michael Palin. On the contrary, I think he is a splendid fellow. So why criticise him? Well, I suppose there is something about the intimacy of the diary format that invites an open and occasionally critical response. It's to his credit that he generates this impulse in his readers, which is one of the reasons he is so damn likeable. Incidentally, despite my swipes in the previous paragraph, I'd happily exchange my career for his (if not my home life, which is right up there with his).

P.P.S. Have recently seen/heard MP on TV/radio promoting the paperback version of this book. He looked/sounded totally bored (although unfailingly polite) and completely on autopilot. Wake up Michael!
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5.0 out of 5 stars As expected, excellent., 19 Nov 2014
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Ordered as a present. They were delighted with it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 1 Nov 2014
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Came in okay condition. Was not new
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Palin Winner, 30 Jan 2010
By 
Mike R. Heath "Knowledge is good" (Long Beach, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halfway To Hollywood: Diaries 1980-1988 (Volume Two): The Film Years (Hardcover)
Carrying on from where he left off in his 1969-1979 Diaries, the 1980-1988 book is readable, enlightening, humourous and a must for any Palin and Python fan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive reading, 9 Dec 2014
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Compulsive reading.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice read., 7 July 2013
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The world of MP is one you can get involved in or you can ignore. At the end of the day he is rather a minor player in the world of show business. However he writes well and makes even the mundane interesting. If you have read the earlier editions it is really more of the same. Be that good or bad.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 Aug 2014
Excellent
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Halfway To Hollywood: Diaries 1980-1988 (Volume Two): The Film Years (Hardcover)
Very good
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