Writer, comedian and actor Michael Palin added ‘Margaret River favourite’ to his ever-growing list of titles this weekend thanks to appearances at the 2017 Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival.
Taking to the stage at the Cultural Centre on Friday night and again on Saturday, Palin was joined by writer and social commentator Jane Caro, who cast a discerning eye over the room and at once declared it “a room full of dishonourables”.
A self confessed “writer, shit-stirrer and avid wine drinker” Caro was the perfect introduction to the headline act, and declared she was already considering a move.
“In these days, it is a hell of an asset to be so far away from everything,” Caro said to a roar of approval from the local crowd.
“I’m already looking in real estate windows, trust me.”
Of course as I’m waiting to be told I can’t board the plane, a pair of Aussies sail past, ‘Ooh yeah Monty Python, how’s it going Michael Palin’, while the people in Dubai airport haven’t the faintest idea who I might be.Michael Palin
Arriving on stage to wild applause and cheers, Palin was quick to confirm he was grateful to be on Australian soil, recounting an unfortunate delay with a visa in Dubai.
“Of course as I’m waiting to be told I can’t board the plane, a pair of Aussies sail past, ‘Ooh yeah Monty Python, how’s it going Michael Palin’, while the people in Dubai airport haven’t the faintest idea who I might be,” he chuckled.
“Every piece of my work has been about making thins a story,” Palin said, discussing his enthusiasm for the literary festival.
“I’ve been lucky enough to earn a living telling stories.”
Referring to himself as “a shy, spotty Sheffield schoolboy with a talent for alliteration”, the star held the crowd in the palm of his hand as he shared some stories from his early days in Yorkshire, where “stories meant lies, you’ve been telling stories, son!”
Saturday evening saw another sellout crowd in the theatre, spilling over into a second room where a live broadcast was screened for fans unable to secure seats for the main stage.
Local writer and adventurer Rosi Moore-Fiander was thrilled to introduce Palin to another crowd of enthusiastic fans.
I asked him what countries he'd not yet been to that he'd really like to visit and he said Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and the ‘stans’ - and I told him I drove there last year.Rosi Moore-Fiander
“I’m quite pleased to discover I have visited some places even Michael Palin has not,” she said as she prefaced his arrival.
“I asked him what countries he'd not yet been to that he'd really like to visit and he said Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and the ‘stans’ - and I told him I drove there last year,” she told the Mail after the show.
“He's visited 96 countries and I've visited 86.”
Palin spoke for over an hour about his travels around the world, sharing slides from memorable locations and moments, focused on his Around the World in 80 Days adventures.
A question and answer session followed, with some lucky audience members given the chance to ask the headline act about his experiences, his work and the health of Palin’s friend and fellow Python member Terry Jones.
Palin discussed the ailing Jones’ health briefly, explaining his loss of memory and the experience of watching his friend decline, a sombre and touching moment during the otherwise raucously funny presentation.
As excited audience members poured out into the foyer to share their favourite moments from the evening, long time fan Ryan Cope said he was thrilled to be part of the event.
“I can’t believe I got to ask him a question, I’ve been a Monty Python fan and a Michael Palin fan for so many years, since I was a kid, this is just a once in a lifetime thing and it is incredible that he is here, in Margaret River!”