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MICHAEL PALIN's diaries begin in the late 1960s and tell how Python emerged and triumphed. Enjoying an unlikely cult status early on, the group then proceeded to tour in the United States and Canada, appearing, like pop stars, at sold-out stadiums coast to coast and on national chat shows. They even stayed in hotels newly trashed by Led Zeppelin, later investors in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, With this growing fame in the United States came the move from local public broadcasting to national television there and battles over censorship followed as up to one line in four was cut from the Python sketches, rendering them incomprehensible.
As their popularity grew, so Palin relates how, individually, the Pythons also went their separate ways. John Cleese wrote and acted in the now classic Fawlty Towers, while Michael Palin acted in an adaptation of Three Men in a Boat as well as creating, with Terry Jones, the memorable RippingYarns series. But, at the same time, Michael and the others were working to help keep the group together so they could reform for stage shows and the now celebrated series of films including The Holy Grail and The Life of Brian, many of whose lines are known by heart by a considerable proportion of the English-speaking world. A perceptive and funny chronicle, the diaries are a rich portrait of a fascinating period.
MICHAEL PALIN is a scriptwriter, comedian, novelist, television presenter, actor and playwright. He established his reputation with Monty Python's Flying Circus and Ripping Yarns. His work also includes several famous films with Monty Python, as well as The Missionary, A Private Function, an award-winning performance as the hapless Ken in A Fish Called Wanda, American Friends and Fierce Creatures. His television credits include two films for the BBC's Great Railway Journeys, the plays East Of Ipswich and Number 27, and Alan Bleasdale's GBH. For many years his televised wanderings around the globe have captured record viewing audiences and his subsequent books have dominated the bestseller lists.
'I must thank my editor Ion Trewin for reducing mountains to molehills, and Michael Dover at Weidenfeld and Nicolson for his unfailing encouragement. Steve Abbott, my agent, has been a model of sympathy and naked commercial brutality and my wife and family,lured on by curiosity perhaps, have been trusting, realistic and supportive. The Monty Python team fills these pages and reading through the material made me realise how intricately our lives intertwined. Our differences are not glossed over here but neither is the very close bond of friendship that links, or in Graham Chapman's case, linked us all together. Last, but certainly not least, I owe enormous thanks to Kath Du Prez who typed up over a million words from thirty-eight hand-written note-pads, and not only lived to tell the tale, but more than anyone, convinced me that this might be a tale worth telling. '
'Michael Palin is not just one of Britain's foremost comedy character actors, whose inventive genius and astonishing versatility were vividly demonstrated in his widely acclaimed Ripping Yarns series; he also talks a lot. Yap, yap, yap, he goes, all day long and through the night, twenty three to the dozen, the ground littered with the hind legs of donkeys, till you believe it is not possible, simply not possible for him to go on any longer, but he does. He must he the worst man in the world to take on a commando raid. You might as well take a large radiogram with the volume turned up. On and on, hour after hour, tiring the sun with talking and sending him down the sky, Michael chats, quips, fantasises, reminisces, commiserates, encourages, plans, discusses and elaborates.
Then, some nights, when everyone else has gone to bed, he goes home and writes up a diary. '
Nice but dull
Catherine McLoughlin from Dublin - 09 May 2007
I trudged on through this book, hoping for something of interest to capture my attention. It carries on from day to day of meetings, flights abroad to more meetings. All I am sure are very tiring and equally as tiring to read about when you have no part in them.
Could have been more interesting
Bea from Dublin, Ireland - 15 Jun 2007
Like most readers of this book, I am aware of the fact that this is not a meant as a comedic script but it could have been told in a more, dare I say, animated way. Mr Palin has given some fairly interesting insights into the characters of fellow Pythons in spots but it was expressed in such a factual and distant way at times you'd think he barely knew them. Having said all of that, I sympathise with a lot of his writing as I can imagine the instability and falseness of showbiz can drive you to acute cyniscism at a very young age.
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