I met Michael Palin at his club in Soho, London on the morning of 31st May 2016. We spoke about travel writing with reference to my Dad who also wrote about travel for a living (some of his pieces are still here on his blog) and who loved many of the same travel books as Michael, especially Venice by Jan Morris and A Time Of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor .
We also spoke about the Monty Python films, particularly The Life Of Brian, The Meaning Of Life and the ending of The Holy Grail. I had taken along my tatty copies of the Meaning Of Life book and The Life Of Brian Scrapbook which provided jumping off points for some of our conversation.
We also spoke briefly about the difficult process of making 'American Friends' - a film released in 1991 that Michael wrote and also starred in. Check out the trailer which begins with the powerful endorsement: "In the tradition of Howard's End and Enchanted April comes a film that receives three and a half stars from John Anderson..." That must really have packed them in.
Michael's account of Graham Chapman's death, which I mentioned at the end of our conversation, can be found in his Travelling To Work diaries. It's my favourite of the 3 volumes, but they're all good. Listening to them all was a reminder of how important he and Python were to me as a youngster. Perhaps for that reason I was very nervous meeting Michael. Most people would imagine that he'd be rude, physically aggressive and self involved but weirdly, he was charming.
Thanks to Seamus Murphy-Mitchell for production support and Matt Lamont for additional editing.
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