Sunday, January 09, 2011

I have a new crush

My geography teacher turned me on to Michael Palin when she showed a clip from his Full Circle travel documentary.  The day she showed it, I came home from class and immediately ordered the entire series on Netflix.

I'm sorry dear, but I've got a new crush, I told Gary.

 He didn't even look up from the computer. Won't Cusack be jealous?

Cusack is so yesterday. In fact, he's last year. I've been through another one since then.

That's right. Larroquette right?   

Well, Larroquette stopped tweeting. Not that I've ever used Twitter (and couldn't imagine having anything to say to him anyway other than "hi"), just that I liked reading his. He actually used complete sentences with proper grammar and everything. And he's well read. And funny.

I'm sure he misses you. Do you want some pie?

Fortunately the whole family shares my feelings about Palin (well sort of). Since that day we've seen the whole Full Circle series, the Sahara miniseries, and are now a little over halfway through his Himalayan trip. He takes the audience into tiny villages where they get to see unheard of festivals and a general flavor of every day life, rides on steamer ships--2nd class, I might add--samples the often strange local fare, rides camels across deserts, often pitches in for a few rounds of whatever chores the local folks are doing, pauses for tea with the Dali Llama and more than one prince, and seems to make friends where ever he goes. It helps that he comes across like a man who is not too good to get dirty and that--from time to time, but not too often--bits of Monty Pythonesque humor spills over. He exudes a genuine friendliness and curiosity about the people he's interacting with and they often respond to him in kind. On top of taking the viewer places that travel shows don't often bother to go he doesn't hesitate to outline the struggles of the various cultures, but he does it without melodrama.

Palin is also a talented writer with a surprising list of credits--including children's books.

I am hooked.

And just so you can be too--here's his website--

Palin's Travels

And a video clip from one leg of his journey across the Sahara. Of all the people I've seen him interact with in this series, this was probably the group that enjoyed him the most. Before he left, he taught them the phrase "Bottoms Up!" which they repeated numerous times, including the day he left.


Debby said...

How wonderful that Gary managed to choke back his jealousy, to speak so calmly and unemotionally when his wife is ready to fly out the door to adventures in the Sahara!

This post made me laugh, Mary. I hope you're enjoying your school break.

Scotty said...

I love the Python gang and Michael has done well for himself in recent years.


Anonymous said...

Mary, I've just finished (a couple of days ago) listening to 'Himalayas' on CD,read by Michael Palin himself. I'm a fan.
Did you ever see the comedy series he did back in 80s with Terry Jones, "Ripping Yarns" -very funny.

Debby, I've reading and enjoying your blog. But I can't post comments on it.

Mary O. Paddock said...

Debby--That's what I thought too. I was hoping he would at least try to hide the luggage or something.

Scotty--He really has. It is such fun to see how intelligent the crew behind all those silly skits really are.

Eileen (?) Thank you for mentioning Ripping Yarns. I hadn't heard of it until you mentioned it. Netflix doesn't have it, but I did find several episodes on You-Tube. We utterly adored "The Testing of Eric Olthwaite".