Tuesday, July 17, 2012

PYTHON DISSECTED - Prologue, Part 3: "The Long and Winding Preamble"

I had come here today to finally complete my litany of reasons Why Monty Python Is/Was the Beatles of Comedy and embark on my reviews of every episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and I fully intend to do so.  However, a number of further areas of analysis have recently come to light, and I would be remiss in ignoring or eliding them.  So, once I've finished the first list, I will follow with my comprehensive rundowns of Why Monty Python Is/Was the Sanford-Townsend Band of Comedy, Which Individual Pythons Correspond to Which of Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross's Five Stages of Grief (and Which Member of Mid-Period Fleetwood Mac the One Left Over Most Closely Resembles Internally), The Five People You Meet in Heaven Who Were Successfully Hit On By Graham Chapman, All the Things You Could Be By Now if Terry Jones in Drag Was Your Mother, Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Carol Cleveland's Ti

All right, all right, all right.

3) Their solo work was mostly not as good (continued).  Arguably the only Python to have successfully eluded his past is Terry Gilliam.  In fact, it's likely that a lot of the fans of his directorial output neither know nor care about his years as Python's resident animator, designer and guy-willing-to-dress-in-armor-and-hit-people-over-the-head-with-chickens.  None of the six has reveled as joyously in the loosening of restrictions regarding time, budget and work by committee.  And he ranks high on any list of the most sheerly inventive visual craftsmen/stylists in modern cinema.

Which may be his biggest problem.

Gilliam's movies tend to be so packed with wild, relentless visual schema that watching them can be roughly akin to devouring an entire wedding cake laced with hallucinogens in one sitting.  He may be the only director who could have made Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and be scrupulously true to the source material - unfortunately, that also means that the result was nigh-unwatchable.  And, by Gilliam's terms, that's one of his successes.  In chasing his vision, he's been dogged by one of the most dispiriting runs of bad luck this side of Orson Welles, falling prey to studio interference (Brazil, The Brothers Grimm), box-office disaster (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), his lead actor dying in mid-production (The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus), and the ultimate combination of misfortune and thematic irony (his as-yet-uncompleted take on Don Quixote).  Yet, to his credit, he presses on, undeterred, willing to pursue his creative muse (which I imagine looks like something out of a collaboration between Hieronymous Bosch and Basil Wolverton) down whatever bizarre rabbit holes he can dig for himself.  Take Tideland, for example, which - well, let's come clean here; like almost everyone else on the planet, I haven't been able to bring myself to watch Tideland.  I even borrowed the DVD from a friend this past week to bolster my research, and the damn thing remains, glowering and grinning evilly, beside my TV, hissing out a dare I haven't the intestinal fortitude to take.  (I'd try and cheat a little and get my friend's opinion, but he hasn't been able to watch it either.)  I mean, hell, I can scarcely think of getting past this...

Oddly, the easiest Gilliam films to love are his strictly work-for-hire pieces, The Fisher King and 12 Monkeys, which yoke his visual brilliance to coherent stories and moments of restraint.  (That I can use the word "restraint" in describing pictures featuring Robin Williams on full-on manic mode and Brad Pitt as a googly-eyed mental patient should clue you in to the kind of sensibility we're dealing with here.)  Not to imply that there isn't loads to appreciate in his other films, especially from back in the days when he still felt the need to trade on his Python associations to get his pictures made: there are few better extra-Pythonic roles than John Cleese's cameo as Robin Hood in Time Bandits and Michael Palin's shockingly terrifying villainous turn in Brazil.

(Weren't there supposed to be Beatles references in this introduction?  They're starting to get rather thin on the ground at this point...)

Still and all, as difficult as Gilliam's solo work can frequently be, he deserves no small amount of admiration - through sheer talent and bluster, he alone has managed to secure himself a lasting identity apart from Monty Python.

Whereas, by contrast, we must once again look in pity and sympathy to poor Graham Chapman, who never quite eluded the Python's death grip.  (Shit, now my mixed metaphors have gone reptilian.  If only Monty Boa Constrictor scanned a little better...)  Of course, he never got the chance - who's to say what he might have accomplished had throat cancer not claimed him at age forty-eight? - but even an accomplished mountaineer like himself couldn't manage the steep uphill climb his intra- and post-Python career presented.  The mid-to-late-seventies found him struggling on two major fronts: his apparent inability to write except in collaboration and a horrific bout with alcoholism that hobbled his ability to write, period.  (One of the reasons Cleese opted out of the fourth Python series was his weariness at being saddled with a writing partner who by afternoon had a hard time remembering what he'd come up with in the morning.)  Many intriguing ideas died on the vine during this period (he was in the running to co-write and direct the Sex Pistols' motion picture before his unreliability pushed it into the arms of Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert, who wound up not getting it made either - more's the pity, judging by Ebert's intriguing screenplay, but that, like a good 80% of what I've posted thus far, is beside the point); scripts for projects completed but never produced, including a one-hour special for Ringo Starr (HEY, THERE'S ONE!); and what few projects did make it to various screens seemed cursed by association(s).  With Bernard McKenna (a frequent collaborator who co-wrote a number of episodes of the various Doctor in the House-derived series with Graham), he came up with The Odd Job, where he was to star alongside longtime (drinking) companion Keith Moon, a potentially winning combination dashed by Moon's unavailability come shooting time, being dead and all.  (Moon's role was assumed in the finished product by David Jason, a Do Not Adjust Your Set cast member who later went onto UK fame as Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses...  I present the following clip, not because it's relevant, but to irritate any British comedy fans who may be reading this, as it may be the most overplayed "great British comedy" clip in the history of television:)

Chapman also happened upon another co-writer during this period, a fellow Cambridge grad named Douglas Adams.  Adams' nascent talents (and willingness to put up with Chapman's excesses) earned him a place in comedy history as the only outsider (other than Neil Innes and Connie Booth, neither of whom can really be considered "outsiders") to write material for Python, albeit very little: Chapman/Adams wrote an amusingly bloody doctor sketch for Python's final episode and this morbidly funny bit from The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (0:32-2:40 in the following clip):

(Incidentally, I would strongly advise against looking up the definition of "winnet" if I were you.  Some doors are not meant to be opened.)

Adams' partnership with Chapman dissolved in acrimony after a fairly short time, but not before they (and McKenna) wrote the pilot for their own post-Python sketch show.  Out of the Trees aired only once, on January 10, 1976 on BBC-2, with little promotion and slotted against Match of the Day on BBC-1.  Viewership was predictably pitiful and the Beeb wiped the tape shortly thereafter.  (This is the onerous practice I've alluded to in my previous posts, and I may as well vent part of my spleen about it right here.  Videotape was not cheap in the sixties and seventies, and British broadcasters were nothing if not parsimonious, not to mention short-sighted.  Comedy [and drama and chat and music] shows fell under the banner of Light Entertainment in those days, and, as the name implied, the programs tarred with that epithet were considered ephemeral and disposable, and therefore surely had no archival value whatsoever.  So, in order to defray expenses, the BBC [as well as other British broadcasters, to varying degrees] simply erased these Light Entertainment trifles so the tapes could be reused.  Would you like to see the early seasons of Doctor Who?  Or That Was the Week That Was?  Or the full runs of Not Only...But Also, Spike Milligan's Q5, The Frost ReportAt Last the 1948 Show, Do Not Adjust Your Set, or indeed almost any of the televisual fruits of the great British comedy explosion of the sixties and early seventies?  Sorry, can't be done.  The tapes were erased so that generations to come will be able to luxuriate in valuable historical events like the 1968 Horse of the Year Show.  [In the case of those shows that were broadcast live, many of them were never taped to begin with.]  All that remains of many of these shows are those segments produced on film [and not too many of those, either], audio recordings, and scripts.  [Ironically, it was the Lord Chamberlain's Office, Britain's official censorship board for theater and television through 1968, who kept archives of the latter: inadvertently, it was the keepers of the blue pencil who wound up showing more respect to the greats of British comedy than the people who gave them work.]  This practice went on at some level all the way through 1978; do the math and you may realize with horror that the very program that I'm sure to get around to writing about sometime in the next decade barely escaped the same fate.  Several times, in fact.  But we'll get to that later.  There'll be more than ample opportunities to prove that British broadcasters of yore were, by and large, a load of old winnet.)

Anyway, because of this, Out of the Trees was considered lost for over three decades: only a few filmed segments and the shooting scripts for the pilot and two further unproduced episodes were known to exist, which gave it a reputation as a "lost masterpiece," a key missing piece in the storied careers of two British comedy legends (and Bernard McKenna), even something of a Holy... um... drinking vessel of some sort, can't think of the name.  But!  Lo and behold, the efforts of the owner of an early VCR have recently borne fruit!  Finally, the full pilot of Out of the Trees is here to be seen in its entirety!  And...er...well...I'm not about to say that OotT was better off "lost," but its reputation is likely to lose a bit of luster now that you can see why the BBC never bothered to let it go to series...

By the turn of the eighties, Chapman had conquered the scourge of alcoholism, embraced a much healthier lifestyle, and capped his personal triumph with a renewed partnership with John Cleese and a fantastic central performance in the title role of Life of Brian.  But, outside of Python, opportunities were increasingly hard to come by.  After LoB, Chapman's next big job was as part of the ensemble on NBC's short-lived The Big Show, the latest (and, to date, last) attempt to update The Ed Sullivan Show for a new generation of viewers, meaning that you could occasionally make out the figure of one of the pillars of modern comedy bobbing up in a sea of contortionists, lame singers and acrobats.  But that's nothing compared to the humiliation visited upon him on November 5, 1979, where he shared a grid with Valerie Bertinelli, George Gobel and Bill Saluga on... wait for it... The Hollywood Squares.  (My guess is Paul Lynde wasn't available and they had to fill their "witty homosexual" quota or else lose their funding.)

But Chapman, bless him, carried on regardless, and poured his energies into realizing a long-simmering pet project - the piratical comedy Yellowbeard.  Again conceived with Keith Moon in mind for the title role (and regrettably even more dead than before by the time shooting commenced), Chapman took over the part and surrounded himself with a truly dazzling array of talent - Cleese, Idle, Peter Cook, Spike Milligan, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, James Mason, Nigel Planer (Neil from The Young Ones), David Bowie, and not only Cheech but also Chong.  Chapman co-wrote the screenplay with Cook, one of the pre-eminent geniuses of British (and, by extension, any) comedy, and the ubiquitous Mr. McKenna.   It should by rights have been a triumph.  But alas...

First problem: the directorial reins were handed to Mel Damski, a journeyman director of episodic TV whose work on shows like Lou Grant, The Bionic Woman and the immortal Big Shamus, Little Shamus left him ill-equipped to handle either the visual demands of a swashbuckling period piece or the pacing of a knockabout comedy.  Second problem: as talented as most of the American performers were, few of them were particularly adept at navigating the Britishisms in the screenplay; only Madeline Kahn emerged more or less unscathed.  (Cheech and Chong, whose initially promising movie career had by this time devolved into limply [you will pardon the expression] hashed-together comedies for undiscriminating stoners, are particularly jarring in this regard.  For their sins, they would come together for a mock-historical, mock-hysterical misfire of their own the following year, Cheech & Chong's The Corsican Brothers, which makes Yellowbeard look like an Ealing classic.)  Third: in order to appeal to a youth market that might conceivably be put off by a bunch of odd-looking middle-aged comic actors, the studio foisted Martin Hewett on the film  as Yellowbeard's long-lost son, who had a treasure map tattooed on his head shortly after birth, which sets the plot in motion and blah blah blah.  To call Hewitt "bland" would be to risk a defamation-of-character lawsuit from Velveeta - his previous film, Endless Love, where he was cast as a sexy arsonist who deflowers the 15-year-old Brooke Shields, was mired in controversy until its release, at which point it was realized that this is a guy who couldn't convincingly burn up a piece of kerosene-soaked flash paper, much less a public building or Ms. Shields' quivering jailbait loins.  Fourth: the whole thing wasn't especially... oh, what's the word I'm looking for here?  Oh yes: funny.  Cleese took one look at the screenplay, co-written, mind you, by his longtime writing partner and the man he considered the greatest comic genius of his time (and Bernard McKenna), and pronounced it "the worst script I've ever read."  (Big words from the man responsible for Fierce Creatures, but never mind.)  Only a lot of obsequious begging from Chapman secured his participation in the film (which, allegedly, Graham mischaracterized as enthusiasm to convince most of the other performers to sign on).  And sadly, Cleese had a point: here's his major scene from the film, and keep in mind that this constitutes one of Yellowbeard's comic highlights:

Blind Pew



Sadly, despite the talent on display, Yellowbeard goes only to show that certain strains of Pythonic humor, which had seemed so fresh and new not so long before, had begun to curdle into predictability.  (Not to mention the uncomfortable preponderance of rape jokes, which makes Out of the Trees equally unpleasant to watch, but I'll be nice and assume Bernard McKenna came up with them.)  Sadder still, Marty Feldman suffered a massive heart attack at the movie's Mexico City location and died because his heart had the bad form to give out during rush hour and the ambulance was stuck in traffic.  A morbidly apt way to die, given the poor timing that runs throughout the movie.

After that, Chapman essentially disappeared for several years: he was nowhere to be seen until 1987, when he oddly (but somehow characteristically) took a supporting role in a CBS TV-movie, Still Crazy Like a Fox.  And then, suddenly, he was back, with a quite unprecedented burst of creativity: hosting a cable-TV series, The Dangerous Film Club; co-writing a promising science-fiction/comedy pilot, Jake's Journey; embarking on a well-received lecture tour; and turning up everywhere from The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross to the cover of Spy magazine.

Then he got throat cancer (thanks in no small part to his ubiquitous pipe) and died, one day before the twentieth-anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus.  So, there we go, the elusive Beatle comparison recaptured: diminishing solo returns followed by several years' exile followed by a return to the public eye followed by an untimely death.  Graham Chapman turns out to be the Pythons' John Lennon after all.  I wonder if his cancer cells were fans of Catcher in the Rye.

Okay, let's try and wrap this up before we get any older, eh?

4) They know how to market themselves.  What does the Python legacy entail?  They were really only an ongoing concern for a total of fourteen years (from the debut of MPFC in 1969 to the release of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life in 1983).  In those fourteen years they produced forty-five half-hours for British television, two forty-five minute programs for German TV, five feature films, ten record albums and five books.  The first album and the first film consisted almost entirely of remakes of sketches from the early episodes of the series; two of the albums and one of the films were recordings of live performances (which, again, consisted largely of well-known sketches from the TV show), three of the albums and three of the books were promotional vehicles for the middle three films, three of the albums and two of the books were tie-ins to the series and contained varying amounts of material adapted from TV, and one of the albums was a "best of" consisting solely of material from the albums that came before it.  Oddly, the only non-TV or film artifact from that period that contained no material that hadn't first appeared in Flying Circus or any of the movies was 1980's Contractual Obligation Album, produced, as the title suggests, mainly to get out of their recording contracts with Charisma Records (in the UK) and Arista (Stateside).  (Even then, it wasn't entirely new - the only two tracks to feature John Cleese, "String" and "Bookshop," were sketches that predated Python, from The Frost Report and At Last the 1948 Show respectively.  This would indicate that Cleese was barely involved in the record and only begrudgingly took part in it, expending as little effort as possible to participate, which certainly squares with his attitude towards the troupe at other points in its history.  However, more Cleese material from the sessions later turned up on bootlegs, implying that we have something else to blame COA producer Eric Idle for: obviously, he considered weak pieces like "Do What John" and "Muddy Knees" preferable.)  Whew!  That's a lot of not-especially-enthralling information there.  Let's cleanse the palate with one of that album's highlights, which proved how finely-honed their sword of outrageousness was by 1980 - all it took was seventeen seconds to provoke a lawsuit and get this piece scrubbed from many pressings of COA:

So, yes, there was a lot of recycling going on with the Monty Python line of ancillary product.  But that's not to say that these were mere mercenary toss-offs designed to exploit their gullible fan base.  On the contrary; record albums and tie-in books were fairly common ways of extending the popularity of hit radio and television shows during this era - in the days before home recording and mass-marketed video (never mind file-sharing, torrents and YouTube), they were the only permanent keepsakes available to fans of these shows.  Almost invariably, the books were simply reprints of scripts festooned with on-set photos and the records were taken directly from the audio tracks of the programs, and that was perfectly acceptable.  Python could have followed in lockstep with that tradition and none of their fans would have registered a complaint.  But, to their credit, they wanted no part of it.  Their first, BBC-sanctioned album was actually a half-step away from conventionality - almost all of the material came from the first thirteen shows, but instead of taking the audio straight from its soundtrack, they were remounted and performed, radio-style, in front of a live audience - but the results were highly dissatisfying.  The sound quality was weak, the audience seemingly half-interested, and the resulting product somehow worse than if it were produced the old-fashioned way.  From then on, the Pythons assumed control of their spin-offs.  The albums (mostly overseen by Jones and Palin) and the books (edited by Idle) were always meticulously produced and designed, with as much new material as old, and shot through with the same playful tweaking of the conventions of their respective media as their TV show.  From the covers themselves -

(The inky fingerprints are part of the design - click on the image for what you'll find once you remove the dust cover.  NSFW, y'all.)

- to the presentation of the content within (the Matching Tie and Handkerchief album was infamously mastered with two different sets of grooves on its second side [though both were labeled as "side one" to maximize confusion], so the listener was never sure what they were going to hear once they put the stylus down), they were admirably constructed to play with the expectations of consumer, manufacturer and salesman alike.  (Their "greatest hits" compilation, The Monty Python Instant Record Collection, was seemingly packaged specifically to drive rack-jobbers spare: the original cover, which accordioned out to reveal a series of phony record spines, had a tendency to pop open while still in the store.)  There was no dearth of previously-produced material, but the performances were always fully committed and sometimes even improved on the originals - even a classic such as the third series' "Cheese Shop" didn't achieve its definitive performance until it was recorded for Matching Tie.  Compare and contrast:

The Cheese Shop by Monty Python on Grooveshark

The movie tie-ins tended to run along similar lines - not mere cash-in merchandising opportunities but treasure troves for hardcore fans.  The Holy Grail book contained both the shooting script and the first draft (80% of which was discarded, though parts of it were reused in the fourth series of the TV show), the Grail soundtrack was about two-thirds new material, the Life of Brian book flipped over to reveal a second volume of behind-the-scenes material, deleted scenes, etc.  In short (cough), Monty Python, during its decade and a half as a productive unit, comported itself with the utmost integrity, laboring intently to ensure that no inferior or cynically-devised product went out bearing its name.

Then they broke up.  And their popularity continued to grow.  New generations discovering Python, existing fans becoming ever more rabid, and only a finite amount of material to go around... but, hmmm, the demand is there and there are solo projects to finance, mortgages to be kept up on, ridiculous amounts of alimony to pay... it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to, y'know, trade on their legacy a bit, would it...?

...would it?...

...um, would it...?

Like the Beatles (we are still doing that, right?), Monty Python has had an unbelievably lucrative afterlife.  In rock 'n' roll, that's hardly unique to the Fabs; there's Elvis, of course, not to mention scads of shorter-lived bands who continue puling out posthumous product decades after their demise - compare the number of releases the Doors and the Smiths put out during their lifetimes with the number of reissues, remasters and repackages that have come since their toes were tagged and you'll see what I mean.  But comedy-wise, Python has no peer where reconfiguration for fun and profit is concerned.  (Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons' merchandising shelves may groan even more than Python's, but they don't count since they're still alive and kicking with no discernable end in sight, no matter what those of you who haven't watched either of them since college and didn't even realize they were still on the air and besides they suck now anyway might think.)   Other than the t-shirts and the board games and the Black Knight plushies and the gummi dead parrots and the notarized swatches of Graham Chapman's epidermis and the Girls of Castle Anthrax Fleshlights and so on, the actual work itself has been rearranged and rejiggered in reconfigurations that continue to stretch towards infinity.  The TV series has been released on various home video formats numerous times - currently, there is a DVD boxed set that gets reissued every couple of years with an additional disc or two.  Same with the movies - you can count on new, more-deluxe-than-before, more-definitive-than-ever editions of Grail and Brian and MoL on the off-years where the Flying Circus boxset isn't being re-released.  New compilations of bits from the albums, with titles like The Ultimate Rip-Off that seem more taunting than self-mocking at this point, happen along every few years or so as well, and all of the major albums have been re-released on compact disc baited with bonus tracks.  A book series, A Pocketful of Python, and another set of DVDs, Monty Python's Personal Best, have emerged in recent years, collating the individual Pythons' favorite sketches with new wraparound material that serves mostly to remind you that they were wise to quit when they did.  And of course, there's no dearth of books and documentaries about Python, culminating in the troupe's own version of The Beatles Anthology: a coffee-table-sized oral autobiography just like the one the Beatles put out, all the way down to the formatting and even the size of the book; and an official multi-part documentary, Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut), also structured similarly to the Beatles' own official multi-part documentary.  

And then, of course, there's the fresh avenues of exploitation that each new advance in personal technology provides.  Home computers becoming popular?  Here's a game you can play on them: 

The Internet, you say?  Well, we'll start an official website, then, and we'll even maintain it for a while until we get bored and drift off to something else...

An app?  What's an app?  You're just making up words to confuse us at this point, right?  All right, all right, we'll give you the benefit of the doubt and dredge up some old material and outtakes and things so we can get in on one or two of these here "apps" you speak of...

But wait - why just milk the die-hard fans?  I bet we can take some of our beloved old material, broaden it up a bit, add a whole bunch of bright colors and dancing and so on, and clean up in the tourist trade to boot!  Or, to put it in SAT terms, Cirque de Soleil's LOVE: the Beatles::Spamalot:Python!

As master of the mouse organ Arthur Ewing would say, you get the general idea.  I don't begrudge them the use of their life's work - it's theirs to be used, after all - but we're starting to get to the point that the continued stream of Python product is starting to grow a little thin, a series of repackages tricked out with increasingly meager bonuses in order to ensnare the credulous acolyte into repurchasing a lot of the same material for the dozenth time.  It's more than a little cynical and more than a little insulting.

And I own pretty much all of it.

5) It took a while, but they've finally managed to estrange themselves from each other over money.  By all accounts (ho ho), business problems never seemed to be an issue with the Pythons the way they were with the Beatles.  There's no Apple Boutique, no Magic Alex, no Lee Eastman, no Allen Klein in the Python mythology.  Whatever forces led to the Pythons' dissolution had much to do with their growing apart creatively and little to do with finance (unless you count a touch of greed - Cleese was informed after Life of Brian that if they kept their momentum and went straight to work on another movie, they'd "never have to work again."  This led them to jump into what eventually became The Meaning of Life without a clear idea of what it should be.  The ensuing false starts and general frustration exposed creative fissures within the troupe, and indeed, they never did work again, at least in tandem).  But no major fiduciary disputes have ever come to light; the team have had a rare degree of control over their own output, and profits appear to have been split equally between all participants.

Then along came Spamalot.

It was probably inevitable that the Broadway musical version of Holy Grail would wind up mired in confusion and bad feelings over credit and recompense.  Eric Idle is unquestionably the motor behind the show - it was his concept (and don't bother saying that that concept was essentially a ripoff of what Mel Brooks did with The Producers - according to Idle, that was his idea, too), he developed the adaptation and wrote the new songs for it, thus he deserves the lion's share of the credit (or blame, depending on your point of view).  The other surviving Pythons all signed off on it, it's brought their comedy (or some version thereof) to a new audience, and reinforced the brand.  But once it became successful - massively so, in fact - some of them have been heard to grumble that perhaps they deserved a somewhat bigger cut of the proceeds - after all, a fair bit of their original material carried over into the show.  (And let's not even talk about the indignities heaped upon poor Neil Innes.)

The grumbling finally became a high-pitched shriek this past December, after Idle "surgically removed" the voice of John Cleese from the role of God in the touring version of Spamalot, so as not to have to pay the allegedly high price he charges for voiceovers.  This stung Cleese pretty badly, especially since most of his income these days is going to alimony payments.  And I wouldn't even have bothered mentioning any of that here were it not for the angry Tweets Cleese posted with which he and Idle's mini-war of words reached its bilious crest:

I see Yoko Idle's been moaning (again), about the royalties he had to pay the other Python's for Spamalot. Apparently he paid me "millions"
Dec 14 via Twitter for iPhoneFavoriteRetweetReply
... actual rough figures last time we checked - Yoko Idle $13m, Michael Palin $1.1m, the others just under a million each...
Dec 14 via Twitter for iPhoneFavoriteRetweetReply

So you can see how it fits this comparative notion I've been chasing down for three really long blog posts now, only...  I can't for the life of me parse the damn thing.  How is Eric Idle Yoko, exactly?  Did he become a Japanese avant-gardist when I wasn't paying attention?  Has he taken to performing "Nudge Nudge" from inside a bag?  Is there a book of erotic lithographs of him and John du Prez floating around somewhere?  Really, John, I've spent weeks constructing this massive analogy, and you have to come along and mess the whole thing up. Thanks a bundle, pal.  Go play with your lemurs or something.

6) Slim Whitman sold more records in England than they did.  Strewth.

And with a sigh of relief, the prelude is done.  Now, on to the meat of the matter and let's see how much gristle we can pull out of it.  Next time, I review the first (or second) episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus and hope to justify all this preambular blather.  We shall see.  Meet you back here soon, the former voice of John Cleese willing...


The Amphigorist said...

You're doing God's work, here, son. Great stuff. Keep it up!

Theo said...

Yes, very nice. Looking forward to more.

Cassandra Ramir said...

Get on with it.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how much you know about Monty Python. Update soon.