Review: ‘Monty Python’s Tunisian Holiday’
Well as careers go, here’s a good one. Start off writing a fanzine and wind up working with and for Del Close and Monty Python and, specifically, John Cleese. Then you get to write all kinds of books about your labors.
Long-time comics journalist and frequent ComicMix commenter Kim Howard Johnson has a new book out called Monty Python’s Tunisian Holiday. It’s a misnomer; Monty Python was in Tunisia to work. They were making a movie. Monty [[[Python’s Life of Brian]]], to be exact. But few would buy a book called [[[Kim Howard Johnson’s Tunisian Holiday]]] unless it had a lot of sex in it, so the title choice is obvious. So are the contents: it’s Howard’s account of his time with the Pythons in Tunisia filming [[[The Life of Brian]]] and touches on his time on-stage with the group at the famed Hollywood Bowl concerts (Howard’s a professional, trained by no less than Del Close).
This is less of a companion volume to his [[[The First 200 Years of Monty Python]]],[[[ And Now For Something Completely Trivial]]],[[[ Life Before (and After) Monty Python]]], and [[[The First 280 Years of Monty Python]]] than it is Howard’s story chronicling his experiences as both a performer in the movie and a journalist covering the shoot. As such, it’s more of a companion volume to Michael Palin’s recently released autobiography Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years (I highly recommend the audiobook version, read by Palin). It’s witty, it’s thorough, and if you’re a Python fan or a movie nut, it’s completely vital.
By the way, Howard’s got prefaces from Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, and his former boss and collaborator ([[[Superman: True Brit]]]), John Cleese. It’s nice to know people.
O.K. Cool, Howard. Great job. Now go do that biography of the Bonzo Dog Band I’ve been wanting so desperately. Ummm… after you finish that [[[Munden’s Bar]]] story you’re doing with…