Halfway To Hollywood: Diaries 1980 to 1988 by Michael Palin

Everybody knows that I enjoy Michael Palin’s works – whether they be in book format, comedy or travel documentaries. This is the second book of Michael’s diaries, taking us from the end of Monty Python to A Fish Called Wanda and then onto an unknown horizon – Around the World in Eighty Days. This book also deals with some more serious issues – the death of his sister and mother moving out of the family home. However, there are some highs – Mrs Palin taking her first overseas trip to New York at age 80 and the success of various ventures (I have to see The Missionary now!).

Once again, Palin’s writing is brilliant, taking you to that era and making the everyday seem extraordinary and interesting – from parent-teacher meetings, to work meetings and travelling Concorde (okay, so that’s not so ordinary). It feels like he’s a regular, everyday Englishman who happens to act, write and perform very well. I was interested to read his trepidations before the 80 Days trip – he didn’t think it would be overly successful and Palin was a fourth or more choice. But as we all know, it started off some fantastic journeys. I loved reading about behind the scenes with Wanda and Meaning of Life (one of my favourite films) as well as ‘George H’ dropping by (that’s George Harrison of The Beatles). Ordinary man living an exceptional life.

I really enjoyed this book. I presume there won’t be any more published because the travel diaries have already been produced, but I suppose I can hope…

Read this if: you want to pretend you’re a cool British person in the 80s

8 out of 10.

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