You may remember my entry describing how I tried to get tickets to see Michael Palin’s talk about the latest volume of his diaries, and how I was turned away because they said there was equipment in the wheelchair spaces. I was furious at the time,but shortly after I posted that entry I got an email from the theatre, apologising, explaining that the matter had been resolved and inviting me to buy tickets. That is how, last night, Lyn, I and Dominik got to see one of my all-time favourite people talking eloquently and evocatively about his life on television. As soon as I entered the space, I was taken instantly back to those warm, happy Sunday evenings with my parents when we used to watch his tales of places so far away, yet so tantalising that it made my feet itch with wanderlust. Palin is a man whose work I love; as soon as I heard his voice last night, that warmth and joy flooded back.
Rather appropriately for a talk about travel, I got there a few minutes late having decided to take the bus rather than the tube (a mistake I will not make again!). Fortunately I only missed a little, and when I got there Mr. Palin was already in full swing. (Having taken the overground, Lyn and Dom were already there). He was regaling the enthralled audience with a sequence of short stories from his travels, each accompanied by a picture projected on to a screen at the back of the stage. Unfortunately, I could only see half of that due to where I was sat, but nevermind – it was the man I had come to see. Some of them I knew from his books and tv programmes, while others I was unfamiliar with. He sometimes veered off on tangents, telling, for instance, how it was through an act of theft that Britain overtook brazil in rubber production. Did you know, too that before they asked palin to go around the world in eighty days, they asked noel edmunds. I found it fascinating, like watching some great pioneer tell of his adventures.
The second half of the evening concentrated on palin’s earlier life, and monty python. As a python fan, I loved this too, but, forgive me, I won’t even try to retell any of his stories. The history of python is long, fascinating and complex, but now I know where ‘ni’ came from. I found it utterly engrossing. As when I watched Monty Python Live two months ago, I feel so privileged to have been there last night.
Indeed, when I think about it, it astounds me how lucky I am: last night saw one of my all-time favourite people talk, a man whose work I have loved and been inspired by since I was small. Before then, I watched probably the last ever performance of the greatest comedy troupe ever. Possibly most importantly, just three weeks ago, I met and talked to sir Patrick Stewart: thinking about it, given my work on him in my masters and what that scene in First Contact means to me personally, I now think that meeting was one of the most significant, important and special events of my life. I just feel so lucky to have done all this, thanks largely to Lyn; it astounds me when I think about it.
Yet, last night saw probably my last big event of the year: now that Python, Star Trek and Palin have happened, I don’t have much more lined up. As Lyn reminded me last night, though, there will always be something more, something to find, something to look forward to.. she is right, of course. What that will be I don’t know, but after last night inspired by that fascinating man and his stories of far off places, my wanderlust, my urge to go out into the world and explore, has returned. My feet itch again.