Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years

Source: Michael Palin, Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006), p. 71

Text: Thursday, February 10th, 1972
Assembled for an all-Python writing meeting at Terry’s at 10.00. John sends word that he is ill. Extraordinarily sceptical response. However we work on, and for a laugh decided to write a truly communal sketch. Accordingly all for of us are given a blank sheet of paper and we start to write about two exchanges each before passing on the paper. After an hour and a half we have four sketches – with some very funny characters and ideas in them. They may all work if interlocked into a four-sketch mixture. Eric suggested that we all be very naughty and go to see Diamonds are Forever, the latest of the James Bond films at the Kensington Odeon. After brief and unconvincing heart-searching we drive over to Kensington – but, alas, have not been in the cinema for more than 20 minutes when the film runs down. After a few minutes there is much clearing of throat, a small light appears in front of the stage and a manager appears to tell us that we are the victims of a power cut (this being the first day of cuts following four weeks of government intractability in the face of the miners’ claim). For half an hour there is a brief, British moment of solidarity amongst the beleaguered cinemagoers, but, as we were shirking work anyway, it looked like a shaft of reprobation from the Great Writer in the sky.

Comment: Michael Palin (born 1942) is a writer, television presenter and member of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus television comedy team. The other members of the team referred to here are John Cleese, Terry Jones and Eric Idle. The coal miners’ national strike ran from 9 January to 25 February 1972. Power cuts were introduced to conserve electricity.