(Python Diary – 1984) Michael Palin’s Price: Gradual Disillusionment and Isolation

Sorry about not posting. I’ve been reading instead. Lots and lots of Michael Palin. I’m up to 1984, and all I can say is that it’s been a blur. He’s finish filming Missionary, Meaning of Life, and Brazil, and done publicity tours for the first two, and seems to be working on “Erik the Viking”.

All I can say is how amazing it is a man can be this busy and still seem to be spinning his wheels. I’m not sure why I have that impression, but I really do. I know it seems odd, but I get the feeling that none of this is what he really wants to be doing.

I don’t know why I get that impression, other than some rather bitter commentary about fame: constantly being “recognized” as Eric Idle, feeling like he is “on display to the public”, his friend George Harrison not being able to relax even in a top-end restaurant, for fear of being rushed by fans.

I know at this point he is feeling the peculiar isolative effects of fame and wealth that we all hear about. He went to a BBC Comedy gathering and Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker (of “The Two Ronnies” fame, both comedy heroes of mine), assailed him with inappropriate questions about how rich he was, if he was a millionaire, etc, with quite obvious and nasty envy.

Though there are massive doses of joy — such as the writing of Erik the Viking, where he feels at last a member of a vital creative team again — he seems, overall, progressively less happy. He talks over and over again about not having that burning urge anymore to make another film, and I think that is the beginning of a burning urge to throw away all the stardom and psuedo-Hollywood fame and do something else.

Or maybe I am just reading in what I already know is the future.

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