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Michael Palin - live webchat Tues 8 Oct at 11am

(87 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 24-Sep-13 11:50:36

We love his bestselling travel books and we love his TV travel series, including Pole to Pole, Around the World in 80 days...oh and so many more. And that's before we even get started on how much we love Monty Python. And A Fish Called Wanda. And...

Is it any wonder we are just a teeny bit excited that Michael Palin will be joining us for a live webchat?

Add a question for him and you could win a SIGNED copy of his latest book - Brazil, described by The Independent as "a fascinating portrait of a nation". With the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, all eyes are on Brazil as never before. Michael explores this vast and disparate nation by train, floatplane and on foot and it makes a fascinating read.

Gally Fri 04-Oct-13 13:09:05

"Forty (five) years without a job..." Do you still feel you have never really had A Job? It seems to me that you have had so many. Long may your jobs continue! You have brought so much pleasure over the years to not only my generation. Youngest daughter, when leaving school, had to choose a book for her leaving presentation - she chose Full Circle. She left school and set off, aged 17.5 for India and beyond and her wanderlust hasn't diminished since then, despite now being a mum to two toddlers smile

buffersmoll Fri 04-Oct-13 19:16:43

Hi Michael,
I am the much travelled wife to the 'buffer' who doesn't move around much now but he would love to hear of any recent railway experiences.
Just have to echo all those above in congrats for your excellent works.
Need to know though about the Favelas. Have they diminished and will 'they' benefit from the Olympics.
Regards and 'Lang may your Lum.........'

sarah2000h Sun 06-Oct-13 16:23:49

My favourite book is the Himalya. Interesting with beautiful pictures too.

milkybar Mon 07-Oct-13 14:00:55

Hello Michael, like everyone else it seems, I am a huge fan

I would like to know about your experiences of Brazil. It looks an amazing place to visit but I have heard many stories which make me wonder if it's safe for two not-so-young people to travel there on their own. How much effect are the forthcoming world cup and olympics having?

Sockmonkey79 Mon 07-Oct-13 20:02:38

Hello Michael, i think you're fab. I actually named my 2nd son Samuel Palin - after you (I couldn't have Michael as there's already a Michael in the family).
I'm hoping he turns out as funny and adventurous as you.

You have a reputation for being a very lovely person, what do you do not to let fame & fortune go to your head?

Rumbledoll Mon 07-Oct-13 20:35:59

Hello Michael,
I wanted to thank you for all the joy you've given us over the years, with your comedy, books, travel programs and art programs.
You have zig zagged the world a time or two (or three) and probably get asked what your favourite places are all the time, but having just moved to England I was wondering if you could recommend something for me to do in London that is perhaps off the beaten track and can't be found in a guidebook?

Thank you, and oh, see you on Thursday in Wimbledon smile

Vidubo Mon 07-Oct-13 21:36:44

How do we access the webinar? Cannot find any guidelines.

KatGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 08-Oct-13 09:06:43


How do we access the webinar? Cannot find any guidelines.

Hi Vidubo - the webchat will be taking place on this thread at 11am - 12pm. Just post your question in advance, or join us on this thread at 11am smile

Dropstitch Tue 08-Oct-13 10:40:07

Hi Michael, welcome to Gransnet! My brother got me interested in Monty Python and have been a big fan ever since. In all of your travels, is there one (or possibly more) surreal, Pythoneque experience that sticks most in your mind? Good luck with the new book, show and please keep them coming!

KatGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 08-Oct-13 10:59:54

A warm welcome to Michael! Over to you...

MichaelPalin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:02:20

Hello! I'm a grandpa, and I'm very very happy to be one too, so I'm delighted to be able to talk to all those of you out there who may share the same pleasures of grandparenthood - or are just interested in me and my travels.

I've had a busy life, so there'll be lots to talk about, and I look forward to answering your questions, however difficult.

MichaelPalin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:02:44


Well how lucky you are at GNHQ to have Michael Palin with you on that day,I have admired all his work since Monty Python of course and his exploits travelling abroad have been a delight on our screens he makes you feel as though you are actually there with him.
The one question I would love to ask him is:
Michael after your long and very engrossing search for a "Bath Plug" in that Hotel in I think Russia ? do you now make sure you always have a spare with you grin Thanks for many years of super viewing.glamma

Yes, I’ve learnt my lesson, and I have now not one but two bath plugs with me! Unfortunately, they’re not always the right size, so I have been to known to sick a pair of socks instead.

MichaelPalin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:04:23


I don't mean to be unkind but why is it that ageing stars still want to be in the limelight? Why not retire gracefully and give a chance to younger people.

I don't know how old you are Crocky, but I always thought there'd be a time when I wanted to stop what I was doing and let others take over but I find as I get older, I've learned more about the world, and I want to share it with people rather than sit in a chair and shut up!

I'm not interested in celebrity as such, I'm interested in what I can bring to the rest of the world in terms of information, education and entertainment. And I think the wisdom of older people is really valuable.

MichaelPalin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:06:15


hello Mr Palin I would just like to ask where you like to go on holiday? love the programmes by the way.

Holidays are usually spent somewhere nearer home. My wife is not a great one for climbing mountains and crossing deserts to get to the nearest deckchair! We have some family friends in the Lot Valley in France, and we also try somewhere like Majorca for an end-of-season holiday with the grandsons. So nothing exciting, but that's the pleasure of it!

MichaelPalin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:08:43


My son discovered the world through the eyes of Michael Palin from the age of 12, on seeing your book 'Full Circle' on a supermarket shelf.
From that day he dreamed of leaving our shores and exploring the world.
Now aged 30 with a family of his own, he is passing on his own memories from afar, having achieved his dream before settling down.
How does it feel, Michael, when a mother tells you what a profound effect your character and inspiration has had on generations to come?
Thank You 5 times over, from me, from him and his three children.

There's no better feeling than to receive a feedback like yours and to know that the work that I've done has had such an effect on people who I don't know and have never met. I just hope that the work I do does leave a mark, and doesn't just blow away like the dust but actually can be carried on in the enthusiasm and the energy of others like your son, and hopefully his family. Thanks for a very encouraging message!

MichaelPalin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:11:27


Hello Michael

What has been the biggest factor in your wanderlust? Is it genetic or did it stem from being brought up in Sheffield and needing to seek wider horizons?

With enormous admiration and respect for your work.

I think curiosity pure and simple is what keeps me going. Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to know what was over the next hill or around the next corner. I was fascinated by how different the rest of the world was from my own and I read books set in foreign countries, and magazines like the National Geographic - but I never dreamed I would see the countries they were depicting.

I was born and brought up in Sheffield in the 1940s and 1950s, and the most exotic travelling we did was to Nottingham. So, life has been the most wonderful realisation of a dream for me.

MichaelPalin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:13:42


Hi Michael Palin, how lucky we are to have you answering questions.
If you could go back in time, what would you say to your 16 year old self? and how did you go from doing comedy (Monty Python, Fish called Wanda) to travel? Was it an easy thing to do?
You seem like such an amiable man and I have long been an admirer. May you keep on going for many years to come as I believe age is no barrier to many things we, or celebs, like to do.
Good luck to you.

I think I would probably say to my 16-year-old self not to worry about being drawn to comedy, about being unable to concentrate on serious things your teachers are telling you to concentrate on. I was always worried when I was young that I was not taking life seriously enough.

In the end, the most important thing was to keep your mind as open as possible. I never expected to be one of the Monty Pythons; I never expected to go to the North and South Poles. I think you'll if I had closed down my life early on, I would have been less open, had fewer choices, and may have missed out on all the happy accidents that happened to me.

MichaelPalin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:15:36


Hi Michael, welcome to Gransnet! My brother got me interested in Monty Python and have been a big fan ever since. In all of your travels, is there one (or possibly more) surreal, Pythoneque experience that sticks most in your mind? Good luck with the new book, show and please keep them coming!

Yes, the travels were full of Pythonesque experiences, from catching a piranha fish in a Brazilian river, to having to sing You Are My Sunshine in a kareoke bar in Tokyo, to a Russian dinner where every guest is supposed to raise at least two toasts, always accompanied by a glass of vodka. (I think it was about the 18th glass when I raised a glass to Sheffield Utd - and fell over backwards!)

woof Tue 08-Oct-13 11:19:57

Hi Michael - are you a gransnetter? grin

muddyboots Tue 08-Oct-13 11:21:23

Hello! <excited>

You've seen the world - why do you still live in rainy England? Have you ever thought about migrating elsewhere?

MichaelPalin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:21:33


Hello Michael, not really a question but about 14 years ago I was working in a store where you were due to spend a couple of hours book signing. Approx 5 or 6 hours later you were still there signing books. We had never had so many people turn up for a book signing before. Other times we'd had so few people turning up to see an author we'd had to put our coats on and pretend to be the general public.
I watched The Wipers Times a few weeks ago and thought it was fabulous, incredibly moving.

Yes, it's not always been like that. I remember a signing of my Ripping Yarns book up in Stirling, in Scotland, where no one at all appeared for half an hour. At last, an elderly lady came across to where I was sitting, surrounded by piles of my books. I had my pen raised to sign when she said, "I'm bringing back this book about Second World War aeroplanes - four of the pages are stuck together. Can I have my money back?" She was very upset when she found out I was a visiting author.

It's great when there's a really good, busy signing, and for me as a author it's a valuable time to get a sense of who your audience is out there. I think a lot of us appear on television or write books, and you don't often actually know who is watching your programme or reading your work. So I like to have a quick chat with people when I do my book signing. Generally, they're friendly, but one man had a poster of me that he'd got from the window, and as he came to the table, he tore it in half and set fire to it!

The woman who organised the signing wasn't at all fazed - she just said, "he's always doing that."

Bobbin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:22:57

i have always loved Monty Python and my children were often encouraged to eat just a bit more of their dinner by saying (assume accent here) 'just a wafer thin bit' etc. Do you get tired of being quoted Monty Python, or is it nice? Do you still see the other Pythons much? Thnk you for doing this web chat-I think you're terrific

MichaelPalin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:24:32


hi michael hope you are well, i would like to ask you if you could have an intimate meal with a few guests who would like to spend your evening with and why? thank you cathy,

I think I'd always include David Attenborough - he's my ideal of a television presenter - he knows everything, and has a great sense of humour. Also, Catherine the Great, just to see how great she was. Johnny Cash, who I once met and stunned me by telling me he was a fan of my work. And Nigella Lawson to do the cooking. And Napoleon to do the washing up!

cookies Tue 08-Oct-13 11:27:45

Possibly a bit random... What do you think about the proposed HS2? Does it work in other parts of the world? Have you been on the one in Japan?

MichaelPalin Tue 08-Oct-13 11:27:59


Hello! <excited>

You've seen the world - why do you still live in rainy England? Have you ever thought about migrating elsewhere?

I love the seasons. I like the way the weather changes here day by day. You really appreciate the sunshine in England, whereas I'd probably just take it for granted if I was in Jamaica. But it's not really weather that keeps you at home - it's where your family is, and where your background is, and all the associations you have in your past.

I'm very English really, and travelling round the world makes me realise that I'm actually very lucky to live here. I'm always so pleased to come home - even if it's pissing down!

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