Tag Archives: kim howard johnson

Happy Birthday Graham

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Been a little while since I’ve posted. Sorry. In the past month, I’ve had one graduation, the holidays, getting the kid ready for a move and a new job, and getting ready for another Cleese trip, not to mention my 103-year old Aunt Betty passing away unexpectedly.

But this would have been Graham Chapman’s 76 birthday, and that’s always worth a thought. Graham was an active member of Python for 20 years, and a considerably less active Python for 28 years now. It took nothing less than death to slow him down, and even then, he’s still been popping up in places like the O2 show, and making an ash of himself in various reunions. In fact, one thing that Graham never was, was inactive, and I’m glad that trend continues.

I’ll start posting more regularly as I travel with Mr. C this month. If you’re in the Northeast or parts of the Midwestern US, keep watching–John Cleese is coming your way. And in keeping with our theme, he’ll doubtless have lots to say about Graham.

 

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Python Talk…

…Local reporter Mike Murphy has interviewed me many times about my various comings and goings. He did it again last week, and the result is another well-written piece that makes me sound literate, organized, and knowledgeable, and even plugs my latest Python book. Thanks Mike!

Being Michael McCarthy

I spent a large chunk of this weekend, as I sometimes do, substitute teaching for Michael McCarthy’s writing classes at the iO Chicago. Michael has put together a tremendous writing program that, unlike many other writing programs, actually results in students producing something by the end of each eight-week program. If the students put the work into it, they will have either a packet to submit to talk shows or SNL, a spec TV script, or even a complete pilot script. At the very least, they will have something to submit to potential agents for possible representation. It’s a nifty program and I’m delighted to have a part in it.

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Michael also shows videos during the course of each class to better give students an idea of what–or what not–to aim for. This weekend, instead of showing them a TV pilot or sketches, I decided to do something completely different, and showed a Youtube clip of one of John Cleese’s early Creativity speeches. When I used to work for John, I helped him customize his corporate speeches. The clip I found predates my working with him, but there was still plenty of useful information to help these already creative students become even more creative. Sometime I’ll write more about John and the creativity speeches. I learned a lot and I think everyone will.

Python Singing Again

In early December of 1989, I was in London for the 20th anniversary party for Monty Python. Graham Chapman had died two months earlier, on October 4, so I was prepared for a bittersweet evening.

Graham’s memorial service had been held that afternoon (the day John Cleese gave his famous and touching “Good riddance, the freeloading bastard” speech), so Graham’s presence was very much in the air. I had the chance to spend time with Graham’s foster son, John Tomiczek, the last time I would ever have a chance to see him. So, it had the potential for a very emotional evening.

Fortunately, it turned out to be emotional in a very good way, the way one would hope a Python event would be. It was held in the hall where, a few years earlier, the Mr. Creosote scene was filmed for Meaning of Life, which gave it the proper credibility. I spent the evening catching up with Pythons, crew members, and family members, several of which I hadn’t seen since Life of Brian ten years earlier. The hours flew by.

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At the end of the night, gifts were handed out. There were three or four things to choose from, but I immediately honed in on something I’d never seen before–a brand new Python record album titled Monty Python Sings! It featured most of the great Python music from TV and films, collected on one piece of vinyl, under a beautiful Terry Gilliam cover. I had long been pestering the Python office to put out such an album, and here it was!

Despite knowing what a pain it would be to carry it back in my luggage, I brought it back to the States, and still remember the first time I heard it. In addition to all of the old favorites, there was one special treat. Graham had written and sang Medical Love Song for the Contractual Obligation Album (with Eric Idle) a few years earlier. But Monty Python Sings featured a new version, with additional lyrics, sung by Graham. His voice was noticibly weakened, but it was the last thing he did for Python before he died. I later found out that Eric had walked Graham through it all so that he would have one more piece of work for Python. And Eric immediately shot up to the top of the “Nicest Python List.”

Why do I bring all of this up now?

Because Monty Python Sings (Again) is being re-released on June 9, with new bonus recordings, a few long-lost gems from the Python archives, remixed Terry Gilliam cover artwork, and a special bonus disc of their very first record album, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, recorded live at Camden Town Hall in May 1970. Whether you’re going to the shows in July at the O2 Arena, or watching the final show in theatres, it’s a great way to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Python. It’ll be available on iTunes, or you can order a copy just by clicking here. Sounds like a great deal to me. Knowwhatimean?

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iO Python Process class

Tonight is the final session of my iO Chicago Python Process class. I’m going to miss this a lot! The group is busily polishing sketches and tonight we’ll decide on a running order and do a reading with a few invited guests. If my students are having as much fun as I am, I’m going to have to organize another one of these very soon.

We’ve been watching videos, writing, and discussing re-writes and they’ve been learning collaboration a la Python. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Another Great Review!

Great to see The Last of the Time Police get another nice review on Awesomeindies.net! Thanks to everyone there, it’s nice to know that a time travel-steampunk-action-adventure-historical-fantasy book featuring Ben Franklin, Leonardo DaVinci and Samuel Warner isn’t getting lost in the mix!

To see the Awesome Indies review, click here.

And to order, click here.

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The Last of the Time Police Free Sample!

I’ve been meaning to post the first chapter of The Last of the Time Police on here for a while now. With the abysmal winter weather we’ve been having and will, apparently, be having for a while longer, this seemed like a great weekend to curl up in front of a warm laptop and sample the beginning of my Time Authority series. Enjoy.

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Just click on the link below!

Time Police Bk 1

 

Continued in The Last of the Time Police: The Time Authority Book One