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Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years

Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years

Written by Michael Palin

Narrated by Michael Palin


Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years

Written by Michael Palin

Narrated by Michael Palin

ratings:
4/5 (17 ratings)
Length:
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 4, 2007
ISBN:
9781427202277
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Michael Palin's diaries begin in the late 1960s when he began writing for hugely popular programs. He recounts how Monty Python emerged and triumphed. From the success and cult status brought by Monty Python, Palin shares stories from their world tours, their stay at hotels recently trashed by Led Zeppelin, their battles over censorship, and how individually the Pythons went their separate ways. Yet at the same time they were working on the now celebrated series of films, including The Holy Grail, many of whose lines are known by heart to a considerable portion of the English-speaking world. The birth and childhood of his three children, learning to cope as a young man with celebrity, his friendship with George Harrison, and all the trials of a peripatetic life are also essential ingredients of these diaries. A perceptive and funny chronicle, the diaries are a rich portrait of a fascinating period.

Publisher:
Released:
Sep 4, 2007
ISBN:
9781427202277
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

MICHAEL PALIN is a comedian, novelist, actor, playwright, and founding member of Monty Python. He is the author of the novel Hemingway's Chair as well as several books on the history of Monty Python, including The Pythons, and numerous travel guides, including Brazil and Sahara.  He also happens to be one of the funniest people on the planet.  He lives in London, England.

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What people think about Diaries 1969-1979

4.2
17 ratings / 17 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    I love Monty Python, and looked forward to hearing some of the behind scenes of how their creative processes worked together. In that, this book did not disappoint. It is a diary, however. And as with any of us, much of Palin's life described therein is filed with the daily mundane that is less interesting.
  • (4/5)
    it seems like palin is a nice but very funny guy. he like the others are kind of in awe of john Cleese who gets away with a lot because he writes so well. graham chapman seems to be a crazy guy who can be quite sweet when sober.terry j is kind of gung ho-- a palin favourite. idle is on his own program and not that likeable. terry g is hardly mentioned--too earnest?
  • (4/5)
    These diaries cover Michael Palin's Monty Python years, though their coverage of "The Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian" is better than that of making the TV series, and Ripping Yarns, and towards the end begin to look ahead to the second half of his career - the travel programmes and non-Python films.For a Python fan such as myself, these are well worth reading. Non-Python fans might find the minutiae of the Python years less interesting, but these diaries also give a good picture of what Britain was like in the 1970s - very different, in many respects, from today.
  • (5/5)
    Rather than an autobiography with half-remembered stories, these diaries provide a decade's worth of stories written while they are still fresh. Insights into not only the relationships between the Pythons, but their connections with others such as George Harrison and Keith Moon, about the politics of the day, and about [author: Palin]'s own home life - particularly moving are the illness and eventual death of his father, and the story of Al and Eve Levinson. As well as being intrinsically interesting because of the subject matter it is also a joy to read, particularly in later years as Palin seems to become happier with the medium of writing a diary, with longer and more indepth entries.
  • (3/5)
    Meh. There's some interesting stuff here and there, but I never quite found it entertaining. Now that I think about it, I don't know why I expected anything else from a diary.(I "read" the abridged audiobook, read by the author. I can imagine reading the full version would be excruciatingly dull.)
  • (4/5)
    A must for any Monty Python fan, and a great read even if you're not. Reading between the lines, I suspect Mr Palin (maintaining his reputation at the polite Python) could have said much more but it's an nevertheless an extremely enjoyable review of the Python years. I read this over the holidays and it was one of those books I was quite sad to finish. I'm looking forward to the next installment (and I hope there is one)!
  • (5/5)
    A good book comes in like a stranger into your home; someone to be treated with polite suspicion, becomes a good friend and then, one is sorry to see leave. Promises are made to see each other again but, there are so many books out there, it may be some time.Palin writes well, the insights into the machinations of the Pythons are fascinating but, not the entire story. One relives the great events of recent history - the moon landings being a prime example - with the immediacy of a contemporary entry. Palin draws his characters well and does not feel the need for every line to drip wit. After 600 pages, I felt that I had gained a friend rather than been dazzled by an unquestionable talent: all power to you Michael: perhaps we might get the next twenty years at some stage?
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed reading these diaries immensely. I found Michael Palin's writing to be really warm and humourous. The diaries seemed to be a fairly honest account of his life during the Python Years, and it was intriguing to read what he thought of his co-stars. Palin, for me, was always my favourite, and his diaries did not change my mind here.A very interesting and illuminating read.
  • (5/5)
    A great book if you're a Python fan. It also captures a lot of the history / feelings of the 70's from an Englishman's standpoint. Its 650 odd pages long but worth the read especially the making of Life Of Brian.
  • (3/5)
    The thing about reading a person's diary is this: it's incredibly voyeuristic, and only you know how it's going to turn out. The writer, writing at the time, lacks the knowledge of future events that you, the reader, possesses. As a result, however, all incidents, however trivial or important, tend to be treated the same in a diary, since it's only with hindsight that a particular item is seen to be more profound than another. And it's because of this, the equality of the interesting bits and the minutiae, that this book in particular is heavy sledding. Not the least because it seems that Britain in the '70s was a very bleak place to live, with strikes, brownouts, political strife, IRA bombings and rain EVERY BLEEDING DAY. Also because there's a lot of strum und drang associated with Python and its demise. I would recommend this book only for the true fanatic or stalker - at 600 plus pages, only the truly dedicated can carry it for any length of time.
  • (5/5)
    Everything you wanted to know about the National Treasures meals, drinks and occasionally drugs,and Python business meetings. Fortunately there is a lot more than this, especially memorable is Palin's poignant account of his father's illness. However Michael Palin can do no wrong in my view despite the above criticisms, and I eagerly await tne next volume(s).
  • (5/5)
    What a wonderful romp through the years of Michael Palin and his fellow Pythons. Michael shares small glimpses of home life and keeps most attention on the time spent working and traveling with some of the most brilliant comic minds in the world. It was not always smooth sailing, but the results speak for themselves. Mr. Palin's gratitude for his life and all he has in it-great and small-is clear throughout the reading. Thank you to Mr. Palin for reading your invaluable diary entries to us in your voice-a great gift.
  • (3/5)
    Listened to the audiobook in the car. Was OK for this but I don't think I'll borrow with the later diaries.
  • (5/5)
    My review is highly biased. I love Python so this insiders view was simply amazing...to me.
  • (5/5)
    You may have guessed by now that I’m quite a fan of Michael Palin’s travel documentaries. Well, I’m also a fan of Monty Python and couldn’t resist the opportunity to delve into his diaries, starting with the beginning of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and finishing with the Life of Brian.Michael is himself apologetic at the beginning of the diaries, stating that he didn’t feel there was enough about Python in there, because he didn’t realise how big the whole thing would become. He continues this humble theme all the way through, demonstrating just what a nice, normal person he is. From discussing holidays with the children, to visits to the dentist and occasional commercials to pay the bills, you might think this is boring. But it’s not- it’s a view of an ordinary life that just happens to be shared with Mr Gumby, songs about lumberjacks and George Harrison. The book is divided into each of the years- it’s not a daily account, and Michael explains why there’s gaps or gives a brief overview of what happens and it’s meticulously detailed with footnotes in case you don’t recognise some of the figures (eg. various people at the BBC, politicians, managers). I read this over a long period on the daily commute and it was relaxing to be taken through the day to day, followed by filming in exotic locale such as Tunisia or flying Concorde (I don’t think I would, even if they still existed, after one of MP’s trips)!I think you’d need to be somewhat of a MP fan to enjoy this- it’s not just about Python and Ripping Yarns but daily life in Britain of the seventies but if you are a fan, get a hold of this book! I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, Halfway to Hollywood, 1980-88.
  • (4/5)
    I was a big Monty Python fan as a teen-ager, so I was very excited when I learned founding member Michael Palin was publishing the diary he began keeping during the early days of the Monty Python show. The diary, however, is a tricky form in that it is rarely written with the interests of a reader in mind. Because of this, the book gets off to a surprisingly slow start. Palin’s early entries do contain some tidbits about the early days of Python, but, as he mentions, he had no idea at that time it would be anything more than a job he had on a BBC TV show, so many early seminal moments remain undocumented.I kept reading, however, because Palin is a truly good-natured human being, and his commentary on the early days of his family, the decline of his father due to Parkinson’s, and various political events in Britain held my interest more than I expected. As the diaries progress, Python becomes bigger, his entries become lengthier, and I was rewarded with the kind of insider insight I was hoping to get when I started the book.Palin records many truly fascinating moments as he recounts the troupe’s growing popularity in Britain and abroad. His shock at being fawned over by mega-star George Harrison at a chance meeting at the Apple Studios is one priceless example. Another is when he discusses the daily work of making comedy during an active IRA London bombing campaign.Because Palin is writing about events as they happen from the perspective of someone for whom a life of writing outrageous comedy quite normal, there isn’t much meta-insight into the Python phenomenon. But I was more than content with his discussions of how the group dealt with various issues including creative contribution dynamics and political negotiations with BBC censors, as well as his entries on the evolution of his post-Python career and what it’s like to host Saturday Night Live with two live cats down your pants. Though Palin’s diaries are ultimately about the mundane daily issues of his life, the circumstances around that life ensure his entries are rarely dull. As the following quote demonstrates, even his discussions of the weather take on a whole new twist: “A clear and sunny day. In the distance the sun picks out the snow on the mountains of the Austrian Alps. It’s a perfect day for throwing a dummy of John Cleese from the 100ft tower of the castle to the courtyard below.”
  • (5/5)
    This is a diary of a man’s life during the 1970’s. Palin is a son, husband, father, writer, and performer. He is concerned about social, cultural and political issues in England and the world. I enjoyed reading about his work with the Python’s, but work is not all that goes on in a person’s life. There are other important obligations; going to your child’s school play, helping your aging parents, vacationing with friends and family.The entries regarding his career in Python and in other television shows and movies were interesting. I had never heard of “Ripping Yarns” before or that he made a movie for the BBC called “Three Men in a Boat.” There are no new revelations about the Python group. They were six individuals that sometimes got along and sometimes did not. When they did get along they were extremely silly and that is what we love about them.The diaries are written in a way that engages the reader. They aren’t dry or stuffy. I was surprised at how easy the book was to read, even though it is so long it would make a good door stop. Michael Palin comes across as a kind, thoughtful, intelligent, and talented person. Like we would ever think he wasn’t the “nice” Python.