The second volume of Michael Palin’s diaries to be published (see what I thought about volume 1 here) Halfway to Hollywood covers the bulk of the 1980s, when Monty Python made their last film together as a group, when Palin himself made several films of note (including one of my favourites, Brazil) and ends with him embarking on the series which would see him become a household name in a very different way from before, when he started the trip that would become Around the World in Eighty Days.

I’m a sucker for reading other people’s diaries and letters not just for the insight it gives into their careers (and there’s a lot here for anyone interested in Python history and in the UK and US film industries at the time) but also to wonder what’s been left out. Because clearly there has to inevitably have been some heavy editing, and though he is quite candid about his feelings over his sister’s suicide in some of the entries you wonder what wasn’t said, or was recorded but not included. And no matter how hard any diarist tries to be honest, anyone who keeps a journal knows that it’s all about how you feel at the time you write a particular entry, that sometimes you don’t record some of the difficult stuff at all (unless you are very disciplined) and that you can’t help but try to present yourself at your best, because someone is going to read it after you’re gone, even if it’s only your very nearest and dearest.

But perhaps that’s just me.

Anyway, Michael Palin has always been one of my absolute favourites so I enjoyed reading his thoughts very much, and look forward to a third volume at some point (fingers  crossed).

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