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The Python Years: Diaries 1969-1979 Volume One (Palin Diaries 1) Paperback – 11 Sep 2014

4.1 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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  • The Python Years: Diaries 1969-1979 Volume One (Palin Diaries 1)
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  • Halfway To Hollywood: Diaries 1980-1988 (Volume Two) (Palin Diaries 2)
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  • Travelling to Work: Diaries 1988-1998 (Palin Diaries 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (11 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780229011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780229010
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 4.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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)

Book Description

Michael Palin's bestselling diaries before, during and after Monty Python.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
According to Palin, this book contains about a fifth of the diary he kept between those years, and one inevitably wonders about the stuff that was left out. It could be that he has shocking secrets that would destroy his career or at least his public image; or there may be things too intimate to be shared with the public; or things that would embarrass other people; or opinions about colleagues and friends that he would rather keep to himself; or things that he and his publishers thought would not interest the general reader or even the hardcore Python fan. I suspect a combination of the above, except for the shocking secrets.

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.
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