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Palin, Richards and Bhutto

August 20: Eric tells me about his summer with the Rolling Stones, or Ronnie Wood, mainly. He likes Ronnie — he’s good company and a laugh — but is more guarded about Jagger (very sharp business mind) and Keith (pleasant, but so doped-up Eric reckons he has only a year to live).

A choice 1976 entry from Michael Palin‘s Diaries 1969-1979, published in 2006.

‘Eric’ is Eric Idle, Palin’s fellow comedian in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. ‘Keith’ is of course Keith Richards, who at 64 continues to defy predictions of his demise.

Michael Palin is one of the lesser-known Pythons in the US, but in the UK he’s beloved for his post-Python travelogues such as Pole to Pole (1992) and Full Circle (1997).

His diaries are remarkable for the number of famous people who pass through, like George Harrison (a producer of The Life of Brian), Douglas Adams (who hung out and even wrote with the Pythons before his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy days), and even Benazir Bhutto.

Here’s Palin meeting her, also in 1976, at an Oxford political event:

The debate starts at 8.15 with the usual nonsense about elections and re-elections, spiced up a bit this year by the hawk-nosed grace of Benazir Bhutto — daughter of Pakistan’s Premier and next year’s President. She looks incongruous amongst the Tory rowdies who make up the Union establishment…

Diaries runs an alarming 600+ pages, but there are many juicy bits.

Turns out there’s a lot else about Palin online. He was honored by the Oxonian Society last fall, and it’s on video. And he has his own site about his many journeys, Palin’s Travels.

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