Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years
Michael Palin has kept a diary since newly married in the late 1960s, when he was beginning to make a name for himself as a TV scriptwriter (for the Two Ronnies, David Frost etc). Monty Python was just around the corner. This first volume of his diaries reveals how Python emerged.
Reviewed on 16th August 2010
I've been intending to read this for some time but was intimidated by its size, however I now forced myself to give it a go and found it to be quite enjoyable.
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.