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Halfway to Hollywood: Diaries 1980--1988 (Palin Diaries #2)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  471 ratings  ·  62 reviews

A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2011 title

The second volume of Michael Palin’s diaries covers the bulk of the 1980s, a decade in which the ties binding the Pythons loosened—they made their last film Monty Pyton’s Meaning of Life in 1983. For Michael, writing and acting took over much of his life, culminating in his appearances in A Fish Called Wanda, in which he played
Hardcover, 680 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 901)
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Laura Anderson
After his engaging and amusing The Python Years Diaries, Michael Palin brings us the next phase of his working life, in which his time was dominated by writing, producing and acting.

As I writer I found this fascinating - the highs and lows of the screen and novel writing processes, the endless waiting for other people's reactions and thoughts, and the problems encountered once production begins.

This is mixed with his continuing relationships with the other Pythons, his desire to do something 'd
I would happily spend one hour every day in a papoose affixed to Michael Palin's front listening to him speak. I haven't put this plan to him yet.
A year in the reading! Admittedly I wouldn't be able to read his diaries as novels; however Palin's diaries are easy to read and have a wonderful style that allows you to see the history of London through his un-celebrity-marred eyes.
Whereas his last installment (The Python Years) were often laugh-out-loud funny, this nearly-decade is a much more grown up affair and to be honest the peep inside George Harrison's house, John Cleese's life and Jamie-Lee Curtis's kissing style is beguiling.
The en
I enjoyed this one even more than the first volume! Sure, we all got drawn in to read behind-the-scenes stories of Python, but these books give so much more. Social commentary, rubbing elbows with famous people, the frustrations and elation of trying to create while trying to be a responsible family man and aware citizen; and it's all accomplished with great humor. This second volume is so pleasing on so many levels, I may re-read his journals from "Around The World In 80 Days," which is where t ...more
If you read this book you will find out more about the workings of TV and film production and the problems of getting a script from page to screen than you ever wanted to know. You will encounter people so famous that it sounds like name dropping and then people you've never heard of and never will again. Which probably doesn't sound that gripping.

But it is Michael Palin. All interviewers refer to his "niceness" and that really comes across but he can get a little tetchŷ which just makes him mor
The second installment of the diaries of actor and writer Michael Palin is an excellent continuation of Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years. Palin continues to chronicle both the successes and failures of himself and his Python cohort, but also his own family's growth, his wonderful spunky mother and the sad decline of his sister into depression. Like diarist Sir Samuel Pepys (1633 –1703) his own personal comments show Palin to be a warm, caring, colorful and brilliant man. In addition, those of ...more
Frank Kelly
Palin's talents are extraordinary -- comic genius, writer, intrepid world travel documentary maker. This is his second chapter of his diaries, covering the better part of the 1980âs â a time of growth professionally and personally as his children spring up in front of him. What I most admire about Palin is he is clearly a deeply committed and loving parent. The majority of his diary entries talk of his children: Taking them to school, parent teacher meetings, etc. And he loves his wife dearly. B ...more
There's probably an argument that this second volume of Palin's diaries is the dull one, charting the period between Palin's most memorable career highlights: Monty Python and his travel documentaries. Yet this supposedly fallow period (one where even Palin retrospectively notes that he didn't seem to know what or who he was) produced, among other things, The Meaning of Life and A Fish Called Wanda.

In some ways these uncertain times make for more interesting reading than the slightly breakneck p
It was with massive regret that I finished this book. It turns out it is possible to fall in love with someone through their writing alone. Michael Palin is so immeasurably likeable, charismatic and eloquent in his writing that you can't fail to love this book.

I shared a few laughs with him on this journey through the 80's and surprisingly a few tears. The writing is so honest and warm and open that you can't help to set aside preconceptions and just join in the journey.

Palin appeared in Brazil
Simon Evans
Whilst devotees of Monty Python in general and Michael Palin in particular (and I am indeed among that number) will enjoy this it's difficult to see who else might.

For those who read the first volume this one covers a far less interesting period. Sure, there are several career-defining moments, not least the baby steps MP takes towards becoming a Hollywood leading man (never quite completing that journey) but not quite enough to make this a compelling read.

We learn about the aftermath of the Lif
Sam Still Reading
May 28, 2011 Sam Still Reading rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Monty Python fans
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: read the other Diaries
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 ...more
I was a bit disappointed really. Not many laughs. Who wouldn't want to have been Michael Palin? From where do his best ideas spring? Not to be found in a diary of course which written contemporaniously gives no insight; I know, my next film will be about a missionary; then six months plus of agony while the thing is realised, Endless meetings with self regarding or alcoholic actors whose egos need to be constantly massaged. A good review; Champagne: a poor review then I'm useless. No you're not ...more
This second volume of the Monty Python alum’s diaries begins in 1980 as Palin is working on Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits and, perhaps more prophetically, an episode of the BBC Television series Great Railway Journeys of the World, the first excursion into his successful career in travel documentaries. While on the surface these years are somewhat less interesting than those covered in The Python Years (1969-1979), but Palin is an exceptional writer and shares many fascinating stories: hops to Ne ...more
A couple of years ago I read and enjoyed the first volume of Michael Palin's diaries and I enjoyed this second volume just as much. It covers most of the 1980s, the years in which he was doing more writing and acting on his own than with the rest of the Pythons, and also became involved in many other activities.

He seems a genuinely nice chap who loves his family, works hard and enjoys the life he's been blessed with. It's interesting to see the "development hell" side of film-making with years
It is a testament to the talent and appeal of Michael Palin that I spent the last month reading his diaries, diaries which contain no sex, drugs or rock n' roll. There is nothing remotely shocking or juicy here, conversely nor are there any in depth intellectual musings or essays - this really is Michael Palin's day to day diary of his life over a decade - chronicling his work, his family and frequently, his cat. And this is the period AFTER python. Sounds boring? It really isn't! I thoroughly e ...more
Halfway to Hollywood is the second volume of Michael Palin's personal diaries. Here we cover the post-Python and pre-travelogue years of 1980-1988. The Missionary, Time Bandits, A Fish Called Wanda etc are all covered here and, if anything, I'm finding this more interesting than the Python-centric first volume (although Python, naturally enough, is still very prominent).

One of the things I'm really enjoying are Palin's thoughts and comments about HandMade Films. Having recently re-read Robert Se
Stewart Tame
A book by everybody's favorite Palin! This book represents eight years worth of diary entries--presumably not EVERY one as some dates are missing--and covers Palin's career from approximately the filming of Time Bandits and The Missionary to A Fish Called Wanda and ends with him setting forth upon Around the World in 80 Days. There's a quiet assurance and bemused twinkle to Palin's writing that makes it a delight to read. The book is a bit on the long side, but the journey is well worth the effo ...more
Khairul H.
I found myself skimming towards the end, much different from when I read his first volume of diaries (the Python years) which I read cover to cover. Volume 2 is still good but maybe the reason I skimmed, beginning from the 1984 entries, is because I am not so familiar with his non-Monty Python related film work other than 'A Fish Called Wanda' and 'Brazil'. This volume ends with Michael Palin getting ready to begin his career as presenter of several travel shows beginning with 'Around the World ...more
Jon Rumley
Funny of course but also a terrific glimpse of 80s Britain.
David Ward
Diaries 1980-1988: Halfway to Hollywood by Michael Palin (Thomas Dunne Books 2009)(Biography). Michael Palin of Monty Python fame has kept a diary for many years. This is the second volume, and it includes the year in which Time Bandits and A Fish Called Wanda were filmed. One particularly interesting note: the six Time Bandits are the six Pythons. "For the record, anyway. our casting was: Randall - Cleese, Vermin - Gilliam, Og - Graham, Fidget - Terry J., Strutter - Eric, and Wally - me (Palin) ...more
Steve Shilstone
How To Be A Most Decent Chap, part 2.
AJ Dehany
I read a review of Palin's not-terribly-well-received most recent TV journey which went along the lines of 'hmm amiable, hmm genial and well just a little bit boring'. So it is with these diaries. They're ok. They are a document of the meetings and lunches that go into making films and 'stuff'. JP kept mocking me that all he ever describes is what he's having for lunch. It's true the most dramatic moment is when he in a moment of frenzied activity "can't even remember" what he had for lunch.
Daniel Currie
Altho I am huge Monty Pytyhon fan and that is the main reason I decided to read this book, I couldn't finish it.

I have been reading it diligently for 3 weeks and am only up to page 163. It is slow read depite the fact 3/4 of the diary has been cut out for publication. The main question is: Is it interesting? In this case, fairly, but not enough to devote the enormous amount of time it would take to complete it. I think my time would be better spent reading something else.
excellent so funny poignant and interestng, a real page turner impressed
As a major Python fan, OF COURSE I loved this book, as I did his previous book of diaries. I allowed myself a couple of months to read this, since I'm a slow reader when it comes to non-fiction. It's difficult for me to take in too much at one sitting. But it certainly was a fascinating read, even though this was all after the days of the Python television filming. All of the old Python Gang was still very much in his daily life, still doing projects together.
This period is less interesting for most Americans, I suspect, than the first Python years volume. I found it interesting enough but then I was off work with an illness and had to fill the time somehow or other. It stops right before his "Around the world in 80 days" trip at the end of 1988 that was followed by other travel film efforts (along with books) which would be far more interesting for me, anyway. So perhaps there will be another volume?
Palin is a natural journal keeper, as anyone who has read the companion books to his travel series knows. This second installment of selections from his personal diaries is a good window onto one man's experiences in the 80s, touching on Python and personal projects, and some family and political introspection as well. One can envy his peripatetic life while also recognizing the more exhausting aspects that accompany a life in 'show-biz'.
Peter Finlay
Fascinating insight to Michael Palin's life 1980 to 1989, post the Monty Python films and leading up to departure on his first travel series for BBC, 'Around the world ...'.
The mixture of involvement in show-biz, Transport 2000, his family and coping with the needs of his ageing Mother show the interaction and pulls of different facets on his time and sensibilities.
The second volume of Michael's diaries, covering his activities in film and publishing during the 1980s leading all the way up to when he starts to go "Around the World in 80 Days." "The Missionary," "Brazil" and "Fish Called Wanda" were particularly interesting from a behind the scenes perspective. And he sure seemed to spend a lot of time with George Harrison.
I liked this version better than the 1st set. Sad to read of his sister, and bit annoyed that just when he is about to embark on the round the world in 80 days adventure, it ends.

Maybe we have to wait for the 3rd series of diaries.

Evenn so, I'm still amazed at how boring at times this rather entertaining mans life can be to me.
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Michael Edward Palin, CBE, is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries.

Palin wrote most of his material with Terry Jones. Before Monty Python, they had worked on other shows such as The Ken Dodd Show, The Frost Report and Do Not Adjust Your Set. Palin appeared in some of the
More about Michael Palin...

Other Books in the Series

Palin Diaries (3 books)
  • Diaries: The Python Years, 1969-1979 (Palin Diaries, #1)
  • Travelling to Work: Diaries 1988-1998
Around the World in 80 Days: Companion to the Pbs Series (Best of the BBC) Himalaya Diaries: The Python Years, 1969-1979 (Palin Diaries, #1) Full Circle Sahara

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“I feel this evening that I am too hopelessly and happily corrupted by the richness of London life to ever be right for Dorset, or vice-versa.” 5 likes
“12.00 midnight: whilst soaking in my bath I hear a distant shout. "I'm going to bed, but I don't necessarily have to go alo-o-ne." It's Dr Chapman in the passage. He repeats the line three times, like someone selling scrap iron and it recedes along the corridor.” 3 likes
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