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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Palin Diaries
I feel I should start by saying I love Michael Palin's works, from film, TV to travel literature. That is why I feel slightly disappointed by his diaries. They were interesting for an insight into Python's workings and how Pailn worked during the seventies, but they did begin to drag awfully. There are only so many Python meetings, or film recordings one can read about...
Published on 5 Oct 2007 by Spider Monkey

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Palin to significance
I'm about two thirds through this now and will finish it. After the Thatcher: the Downing Street Years (half way through; untouched for 5 years). Says it all really...

I can't say I'm thoroughly enjoying this. Palin can come across as pretty smug throughout this book but seems to enjoy carrying a large chip on his shoulder as far as John Cleese is concerned. In...
Published on 23 Jan 2008 by tallpete33


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Palin Diaries, 5 Oct 2007
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years: The Python Years 1969-1979 (Paperback)
I feel I should start by saying I love Michael Palin's works, from film, TV to travel literature. That is why I feel slightly disappointed by his diaries. They were interesting for an insight into Python's workings and how Pailn worked during the seventies, but they did begin to drag awfully. There are only so many Python meetings, or film recordings one can read about before getting a little bored by them. Saying that, there are some fascinating anecdotes, as well as touching moments with his family. I especially liked when they climb up inside the Statue of Liberty and look forward to reaching her underwear! If you love Palin, or Python, then this book is worth a go, otherwise I'd say you could give it a miss and not worry too much.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not at all silly, 25 Oct 2006
Perhaps the oddest thing about a book written by one of the foremost comedians of a generation is the lack of humour in it. But then, this was never designed to be a funny book. Rather it is the story, the journey, of how one of a group of six men became comedy icons, men who set a comedic standard that 30 years later is still to be transcended.

Comedy, we learn, is HARD WORK, not simply dashing off a sketch with a dead parrot in it and then settling back next to the pool, drinking Chateau de Chasselas and waiting for the bank to send a wheelbarrow full of money around. Rather, this book is about how the Pythons variously loved and hated each other, their doubts and egos, how they fought (and mostly, thankfully, won) their fights against censorship.

This is a diary, not a biography or a hagiography, and so we can take it as honest when Palin relates how, ten years after Python first came upon us, he still drives a Mini and how during a meal Eric Idle `reveals that three of the Pythons are broke` (although John Cleese has a `dirty Rolls`).

If you are looking for belly laughs, get a CD of Python. If you want to know about the egos and the alchoholism, the pain and the pleasure, buy this book. The book won`t make you laugh, but you may learn more about what makes Palin laugh. And what it cost him.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 6 Oct 2006
This book is wonderfully vivid and engrossing - unlike so many post-Python retrospectives, which can often seem either lifeless or over-eager to grind certain axes, this takes you back to when it all happened, and also provides all kinds of delightful and insightful anecdotes about Palin, his colleagues and his comedy.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gentle, pleasant read, 20 Dec 2006
By 
A. BUTTERWORTH (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The 600 pages were apparently edited from about five times as much original material. I think the amount chosen for inclusion should perhaps have been reduced by about half again as there are many accounts of "Python" meetings and other business meetings. That said, the diaries make a gentle and pleasant read for anyone who was around during the Python years and has an interest in the making of Monty Python and other projects in which Palin was involved. There are some insights into the personalities of the Pythons and the stresses and conflicts which emerged in the years following their initial success. The book becomes more interesting as the years pass and some well-known non-Pythons like George Harrison become part of the story though the analysis of characters and current events never attains any depth. Palin comes across as a thoughtful, likeable man, who clearly makes a great deal of money during these years but for whom money is not the primary motivation. To sum up, the book is an enjoyable bed-time read, though not a book to return to once read.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 16 Nov 2006
some people will be moaning that the pages in this diary are not as funny as they were hoping for, simply because of the reason it was written by one of the greatest comedic group of all time.

But then again, what were they expecting? the very title, 'diaries 1969-1979 the python years doesnt exactly suggest this is simply a book about comedy. this book gives such a good insight into what not only made palin himself tick, but also how the pythons worked to become who they are.

they are after all his diaries, his personal thoughts.

as a fan of the pythons and especially michael palin, i love this book. i love being able get an insight into how human problems such as death of parents, and alcoholism have affected this super-human comedy group.

this is essential reading if you love the pythons, just dont be expecting belly laughs. it is after all his personal thoughts. hes not going to be writing in comedy script all the time is he.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 70's revisited, 6 Dec 2006
By 
Mr. Simon Clarke "simbadiow" (Isle of Wight) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I spent a while reading this book (I did read a couple books of fiction in between) but I felt that this was a very amenable way to get through these 600 pages. I enjoyed my revisit to the 70's which as a young adolescent went on pretty much unnoticed around me. I was astounded to read innocuous things (like 1st January not being a Bank Holiday, decimal currency, 90% tax etc) and loved this as a lightning stop tour of the 70's. I was genuinely moved by his descriptions of his ailing father and kept thinking of Mr Palin's own views on this as he approaches a similar age. Unfortunately the deep thoughts and feelings of Mr Palin are absent which I was disappointed by but at least this was consistent throughout. The lust for life exhibited by the author was inspirational and a good deal of it was very funny. Michael Palin would not want this to be an average Diaries and he has succeeded admirably. I will await the autobiography and 80's diaries with bated wallet.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated and harshy reviewed, 11 Nov 2006
I am enjoying this book enormously and part of that is precisely because of the light and shade, the mixture of serious and funny, public and private. The moods ebb and flow from the tragic yet dignified descriptions of parental decline and death to the absolutely hilarious description of dancing with live cats down his trousers on Saturday Night LIve. If you just want Palin the Celeb, skim read this, there is plenty here. But for a more satisfying read, take in the whole book for a genuine portrayal of a human being
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Took Me Ages but I Did It!, 1 Mar 2009
This is a long, long, long book. Took ten years to create and took me approximately seven months to read.
I think it's great to be given this insight into how Michael Palin's mind works and what he really thinks of the other Pythons. It's interesting to read that the Python ventures are not the fun you'd think they'd be. And that Michael Palin isn't the man you think he is.....
On television he comes across as friendly, non-judmental, could get along with anyone but in his diaries he seems much more hard and resilient than you'd expect. And could I even say he seems quite selfish?
He doesn't take much interest in the concerns of his mother and sister and doesn't really seem to have cared less when his father died. He'll also quite happily traipse off to some far-flung place and leave his wife Helen to bring up their children as a single mother for nine months of a year. His daughter seems to have been quite scared of him upon his return, not having any idea who he was.
And of course you only have his opinion on the other Pythons and their behaviour. It would be interesting to see what their opinion was of him at the time!
Having said that, it was very interesting to see what these famous people get up to on their days off TV. It's interesting that all the people he chooses to socialise with seem to come from a very similar background to him. He doesn't have any dustman friends or really mix with anyone who doesn't live in Hampstead.
I look forward to the the imminent publishing of the next lot of diaries. I was left there on New Years Eve 1979, wondering what happened the next morning. One thing you couldn't accuse him of is being boring. He always puts stuff in an intelligent and original way.
I'll miss not having him in my life every day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read!, 28 Nov 2007
By 
Michael Mcgrath (North of England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years: The Python Years 1969-1979 (Paperback)
A fascinating insight into the workings, not only of the Python team, but the wider TV and film business. Humorous, touching and easy to pick up and delve into. I could hear Michael Palin's voice in the words I read. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful. An epic story of a truly talented personality, 15 Oct 2007
Some know Michael Palin for his exotic trips shown on BBC, some older ones for films such as A Fish Called Wanda, others for the Python films, and those around longest recall the Monty Python TV programmes. Like many greatly talents, Palin's skills are the result of not just his innate ability to relate to people and to tell stories, but also to years of hard work. This volume covers the period when the Monty Python TV shows were nervously getting first approvals from the BBC, then later managed to get win over the US, during which time the Pythons often wavered back and forth about whether or not they had more to give as a team or by going their separate ways. Palin recounts his own solo efforts, in particular the Ripping Yarns series, and the film Three Men in a Boat, while coming to terms with his increasingly ill father, bringing up a family and more. The volume ends with the spectacular success of Life of Brian, which brought the Pythons together better than they had been in all their 10 years. The book is an odyssey, and it is hard to believe that despite the success of that film, that Michael Palin went on to do so much more - I look forward to the next volume.
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Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years: The Python Years 1969-1979
Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years: The Python Years 1969-1979 by Michael Palin (Paperback - 5 July 2007)
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