The Python Years: Diaries 1969-1979 Volume One Hardcover – 3 Oct 2006
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His showbiz observations are so absorbing . . . Palin is an elegant and engaging writer (GUARDIAN)
Accomplished . . . If Palin's comic genius is a given, this is a more rounded portrait of the decade which saw the Pythons become icons. Our favourite TV explorer shows us the workings of an unstoppable machine (DAILY EXPRESS)
Palin's style is so fluid, and his sincerity so palpable, that it is often easy to underestimate just how talented he is as a comedian, broadcaster and a writer . . . [the diaries] are just too good and he is too modest (SUNDAY EXPRESS)
Delightful and often extraordinarily funny . . . An entertaining and at times deeply moving read (MAIL ON SUNDAY)
If anyone writes a diary purely for the joy of it, it is Michael Palin . . . This combination of niceness, with his natural volubility, creates Palin's expansiveness (THE TIMES)
Palin's steady eye, contemplative bent and instinct for honest appraisal make him the perfect chronicler of a frequently insane period which saw the Monty Python team become the most celebrated comedians in the world (TIME OUT)
A real delight to read (SAGA MAGAZINE)
A slow burn, revealing its pleasures only gradually, and allowing readers the warm glow of hindsight denied its writer . . . This book will make the perfect present for those comedy obsessives of a certain age, who will know exactly what it is long before they have unwrapped it (SPECTATOR)
This combination of niceness, with his natural volubility, creates Palin's expansiveness. (David Baddiel THE TIMES)
Palin's style is so fluid, and his sincerity so palpable, that it is often easy to underestimate just how talented he is as a comedian, a broadcaster and a writer..... they are just too good and his is too modest. (Ruth Cowen THE SUNDAY EXPRESS)
a real delight to read; (SAGA MAGAZINE)
his showbiz observations are so absorbing..... Palin is an elegant and engaging writer. (William Cook THE GUARDIAN)
Palin's steady eye, contemplative bent and instinct for honest appraisal make him the perfect chronicler of a frequently insane period which saw the 'Monty Python' team become the most celebrated comedians in the world. (John O'Connell TIME OUT)
'a slow burn, revealing its pleasures only gradually, and allowing readers the warm glow of hindsight denied its writer¿¿ this book will be the perfect present.¿ (Marcus Berkmann THE SPECTATOR)
'the charting of the haphazard and often perilous ascent of the Python phenomenon up the greasy pole of fame makes for delightful and often extraordinarily funny reading¿. An entertaining and at times deeply moving read. With nearly two decades of recent dairies still untapped, we may confidently sit back and wait for more.¿ (Michael Simkins THE MAIL ON SUNDAY)
a wealth of fascinating stuff about Monty Python. (William Cook THE INDEPENDENT)
our favourite TV explorer shows us the workings of an unstoppable machine. (DAILY EXPRESS)
a riveting commentary to a remarkably creative decade. (ACADEMY)
Michael Palin's diaries of his life before, during and after Monty Python.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Just factual accounts of Micheal's day to day life and details of what was a very productive and creative time for him and for the Python shows, live performances and films.
Being a huge Monty Python fan and also having a love for Palin's travelogue programmes I felt the desire to read the two volumes of Palin's diaries.
Thankfully, this diary doesn't disappoint. A diary buy its own nature is of interest only to those who write it and as such they tend to be very dull. But thankfully the interesting entries far outweigh the dull ones.
It is fascinating to read of the in fighting and difficult meetings of all six members of the Monty Python team. Eric Idle and John Cleese come across as two people whose only interest was the number on the bottom line of their accounts ledger.
It is true, that there is a lot of repetition (as another reviewer has mentioned, there are countless Python meetings etc.), but I've saved this for reading in chunks on holiday so it has never really been a problem. I suppose that if you read it in one go like a book, then it may well become a little tiresome. For putting in your suitcase and dipping into each time you go away over a couple of years (or even back home when you feel like a "holiday" read), though, it is the perfect summer travelling companion.
As it says on the cover, this edition covers the period roughly from the days when Monty Python was the first inkling of an idea up until just after the release of Life of Brian. The format is literally Palin's daily diary entries, and most of the time they appear to be unedited. Footnotes abound however to explain brief bits of background or to explain who various people are.
It's a really interesting insight not only into Palin but the whole python team, especially having be written at the time rather than from hazy, rose-tinted hindsight. There is also a lot of coverage of his other activities which has prompted me to consider looking them up on DVD.
There's no way of escaping the fact though that it is a very long book, and not something that can be quickly read. My usual problem with reading diaries is that I skip over the subheadings that are the entry dates, and this is again the case here, which in places leads me to lose track of the passage of time.
A lot of the entries make mention of food. Palin takes great pains to mention what he has eaten, where and with whom. Fairly typical content for a diary I suppose but it becomes a bit like a joke to me as I read about more and more meals
A good read and well deserving of four stars. I will probably read the sequel, though this volume does end at a convenient point, but most likely not for a while, as I have lots of other books to read too.
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Most recent customer reviews
Have to say, I have always liked Michael Palin. But reading the book made me very angry.Read more
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