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)
This combination of niceness, with his natural volubility, creates Palin's expansiveness. (David Baddiel THE TIMES)
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)
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.
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.
Certainly the book contains but a few stinging criticisms of individuals, and even those are reasoned and not vindictive - the nearest to an exception being his (justifiably) rather bitter comments about the Bishop of Southwark after their clash over The Life of Brian. And there are only hints at the sexual profligacy that we know from other sources the Pythons indulged in. Judging, as one must, by what is in the book rather than by what might have been left out, Palin comes across as intelligent, hardworking, kind-hearted, tactful, reasonable and caring, a man who does not trample on others to achieve his goals, but treats everyone with respect and courtesy and maintains many long-term friendships. He turns down a lot of lucrative advertising and acting jobs that do not accord with his values, and seems rather embarrassed about the prospect of making a lot of money (which by the end of this book he has done). He is a good father to his kids, frequently taking them swimming and often shipping them abroad to spend time with him when he is filming, but his relationship with his wife Helen is given the sketchiest treatment.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Definitely worth a read, following Palin through the mad years when Python was being made and beyond. So much stuff I wasn't aware of happening behind the scenes! Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
After seeing him recently on his Tour, I just had to buy the diaries. Very readable, thoroughly engaging and hard to put down. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
Bought for my husband as a birthday present. He has read most of it. It has kept him quiet for sometime now, so must enjoy reading it. Would recommend.Published on 19 May 2015 by Gem Nash
I had this book as a Christmas present.
Have to say, I have always liked Michael Palin. But reading the book made me very angry. Read more