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

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  685 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
Halfway to Hollywood Michael Palin's bestselling diaries of the 1980s, including the filming of THE MEANING OF LIFE and A FISH CALLED WANDA. Full description
Paperback, 672 pages
Published 2010 by Pheonix (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
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
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this as I'm an inveterate auto/biography reader but had my reservations re author since I've never liked Monty Python nor any kind of pratfalls-substituting-for-humour movies.
Had I enjoyed this I would have bought the two others in the series, even though out of order reading but I'll pass on them.
The milieu of this man's life was boring, from the people to his manic dashing hither and yon activities. He managed to transition from a touching obscurity to acclaimed wealth by, it seems, acc
Jennifer Hughes
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as the 1988-1998 travel diaries but still pretty interesting.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I put read but really did not finish this - just too long and dull. So much of it was just meetings and going running etc. I will try another of his books but not more diaries!
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My life has intersected with Michael Palin’s twice; twice we were in the same place at the same time. Once was at the Monty Python concert at the Hollywood Bowl, an event we shared together along with thousands of others. The first time, though, was several days before that, when MP and various Pythons and friends visited the Universal Amphitheater to see a Paul Simon concert. I worked there as an usher - in the Orchestra Pit where all the VIPs sat - and I was gobsmacked the night I saw several ...more
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sam Still Reading
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
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
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Laura Anderson
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, non-fiction
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
Oct 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
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
Elaine Meszaros
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jonathan Bosch
I got a hefty sample from B&N on my Nook, will buy it eventually. Palin is a very prolific writer, mainly from semi-constant journaling. I want to get to this as it covers his work in “Time Bandits”, a favorite movie. I also love him in “Brazil”, have to watch that again now that I’m more mature & can look beyond Gilliam’s skewed view. I really wanted it to end with Jonathan Pryce getting the girl like the studios wanted. I now see Terry G’s point of view & how it just follows the th ...more
Mar 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jess Lynch
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the rare books it took so long to read. I savoured every word. Came across this gem of a read in the wonderful Vibes and Scribes in Cork, Ireland earlier in the summer. I'm a huge fan of all things Python, particularly Palin so I was excited to start reading. Every time I opened the book, I felt like coming home to an old friend. He writes in such a way, you feel drawn in and part of his life and all its goings on. I've now started the third instalment of his diaries and looking forward t ...more
Apr 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice, amiable read. I like diaries as a rule, and this is no exception. One observation? This one seems a tad too cleaned-up. Michael Palin may be the nicest man in the world, but no one writes every day without occasionally losing his temper, and Palin never does. The wife and kids are annoyingly constant sources of joy, but Helen in particular remains a shadowy figure (I suspect she vets the final manuscript). But still, I doubt it is possible to work with John Cleese without wanting to blow o ...more
Mar 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Stewart Tame
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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'.
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The children's book he wrote 1 5 Mar 20, 2013 02:54PM  
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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 1969-1979: The Python Years  (Palin Diaries, #1)
  • Travelling to Work: Diaries 1988-1998

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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.” 7 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.” 6 likes
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