Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Monty Python, the Holy Grail and the Magna Carta

I finally broke the dry spell.

It had been a really long time. A really long time. Since all the way back in February.

I was starting to get a bit agitated. A bit restless.

But I got lucky.

I spotted the tickets to the 40th Anniversary screening of Month Python and the Holy Grail on Twitter, being shown to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta at the British Library with Michael Palin himself guest speaking.

After months and months of no action, I finally saw a show.

I just happened to be filling in time in the morning, scrolling mindlessly through my Twitter feed when I spotted an ad for the Monty Python screening. Without further ado, I purchased two tickets that included the Michael Palin session, and then asked Daniel if he would like to join me. I figured there was no way I could miss out on seeing a Pythoner in the flesh - and we all know how much impulse control I have.

Tuesday 18 August
We made our way to the British Library and joined the queue in a comfortable embrace. As we shuffled forward, minding our own business, we suddenly heard a gruff voice beside us proclaiming loudly, "No Canoodling!" We jumped and moved apart to see a man in horns, a long coat and a staff glaring at us as he moved on past.

Spotting the ruckus, a Knight of the Round Table approached us with his clapping coconuts, motioning for me to take them. Brandishing said coconuts, he instructed me to move them at the pace at which Daniel, who was now acting as a horse, was to travel. I started clopping to coconuts quite slowly, and sped to an impossible pace.

I returned the coconuts with a giggle, and we continued forward in the line, where Tim the Enchanter awaited us, with nasty big pointy teeth. It was all a very silly start and already set us laughing.

We entered the almost full hall, not realising that people had been entering for some time. Luckily, we found two seats next to each other near the centre aisle with a great view of the stage. The seats were so comfy and made me wish that lecture theatres of my youth were this comfortable.

Michael Palin Q&A
The Q&A lasted almost an hour and was not only hilarious but informative. I felt the interviewer liked the sound of his own voice a lot, and many times I wished he would get to the point because I wasn't there to listen to him - I was there to hear Michael Palin. The interview truly came into its own when the interviewer threw questions to the audience (and ultimately shutted up).

With ease, Palin slipped into old and familiar accents used through out the movie, recreating scenes and giving us insight into how Monty Python and the Holy Grail was written, filmed, funded and promoted.
"My friends are getting married," one questioner asked, "You've been happily married for decades - do you have any advice for my friends?"

To which Palin responded, "Marry my wife!" 

All too soon it was over and time for us to wind our way out into the courtyard to settle down to watch the film.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
While I ducked to the bathroom, Daniel found us a great spot in the middle and near a food stall, allowing us to lean against it. I had expected us to be sitting on grass, but the screening was held in the concrete open aired piazza, a first for the library. We commended ourselves for bringing a picnic rug, a couple of cushions and a blanket and settled down for the film to start.

I discovered that I had never really watched the movie with anyone who was a fan. Here, surrounded by Pythoners, I discovered a whole new level of hilarity in the film. I, and everyone else, sang along while Brave Sir Robin ran away, said Ni!, and we all counted to three (not four, and five is right out) when the Holy Hand Grenade was launched.

It was a fun, well run evening by the British Library - even if the link between the Magna Carta and the Holy Grail was rather thin. 

Poor impulse control triumphs again!


NB: I realise I've made a lot of references in here that most sane people will not understand. Watch the movie, if you dare, although I don't think it will make much more sense!