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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

A Sortabiography
By: Eric Idle
Narrated by: Eric Idle
Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (488 ratings)

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Summary

We know him best for his unforgettable roles on Monty Python - from the Flying Circus to The Meaning of Life. Now, Eric Idle reflects on the meaning of his own life in this entertaining memoir that takes us on a remarkable journey from his childhood in an austere boarding school through his successful career in comedy, television, theatre and film.  

Coming of age as a writer and comedian during the '60s and '70s, Eric stumbled into the crossroads of the cultural revolution and found himself rubbing shoulders with the likes of George Harrison, David Bowie and Robin Williams, all of whom became dear lifelong friends. With anecdotes sprinkled throughout involving other close friends and luminaries such as Mike Nichols, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Paul Simon, Lorne Michaels and many more, as well as the Pythons themselves, Eric captures a time of tremendous creative output with equal parts hilarity and heart. 

In Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, named for the song he wrote for Life of Brian and which has since become the number one song played at funerals in the UK, he shares the highlights of his life and career with the kind of offbeat humour that has delighted his audiences for five decades.  

The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of The Pythons, and Eric is marking the occasion with this hilarious memoir chock full of behind-the-scenes stories from a high-flying life featuring everyone from Princess Leia to Queen Elizabeth.

©2018 Eric Idle (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

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Pop Idle!

There has been so much written and documented about the Pythons that I wasn’t totally sure I would enjoy this. In the end it was a real joy, some old stories with a new slant and plenty that I had never heard. This is a positive and uplifting story that seems to flash past all too fast. I think it’s so typical of the man that I’ve read the story of his life and I am left wanting more. If I was to make any complaint about this it’s just that, it’s too short for me. Major events seemed to come and go all too quickly because he may be Idle by name but he certainly isn’t idle by nature! He has packed so much variety into his life in comedy.

If name-dropping was an Olympic sport Idle would have a string of gold medals, it’s amazing to hear about the people he is able to call friends from Rolling Stones to flying Beatles! If I have a favourite of all the stories it is one about Leslie Nielsen and how he manages to avoid talking to people in lifts. And as I am no great Python expert I was very surprised to hear the stories about one of their greatest ever fans and his Pepperpot bedroom antics! As I’ve always thought when listening to autobiographies in an audio format it’s best coming from the horse’s mouth and so it proves here too. Idle’s voice gives a very positive tone to what is a very positive story.

When it comes to comedy in the UK we have some of the most amazing real-life characters and in these days when there can be a tendency to talk our country down it’s fantastic to be reminded of one of our genuine national treasures. As I said, my only criticism is that I finished wanting more but maybe it’s a mark of the man that he didn’t get too carried away when writing his own life story! This is definitely about looking mostly on the bright side of a life.

12 people found this helpful

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A great read

Copious name dropping, a lot of blowing his own trumpet, but an interesting book. Would definitely recommend. Seems like a bloody nice chap who's had a bloody nice life. Good on him!!!

5 people found this helpful

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Warm and witty.

Always one of the more accessible members of the Pythons, Eric weaves a funny, insightful and touching account of a life full of creativity, extraordinary people, fame and iconoclastic wit.

2 people found this helpful

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Fabulously entertaining!

What a lucky jammy life he’s had! And appreciated it too!
Well worth a listen!

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And now for something completely hilarious

A heart warming story of how a small, hunchbacked fish wife from the north side of Bristol and how she became one 1/6 of the greatest comedy team ever and all the celebrities that he’s hung out with over the years and the drink and drugs that went with that.

2 people found this helpful

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Brilliant, funny and moving

As Eric himself suspects, the length of the many Python documentaries may add up to be longer than the original series! So while of course there is alot about Python here, there's also lots of stuff that will is new. If you've read the Greedy Bastard Diary (also a brilliant book), you'll spot a few bits from there that he's reused but also expanded on. I laughed out loud in many places but was also moved in other places, especially the George Harrison chapter. The emotional power of course being all the more effective because Eric is reading his own words. A "must listen" for any Python fan.

2 people found this helpful

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This starts off great

Eric reads his book well and after the beginning I thought I was in for a treat.

Somewhere near the middle it gets a bit lost in a luvvie's love in of Olympic proportions. I don't mind the namedropping as that's par for the course with a celebrity book, but even so it is a bit of a who's who of right on people.

Some of the anecdotes, like his stories about George Harrison, are great and well worth the listen. His political views are bang on for mega-wealthy Hollywood types but irrelevant for the rest of us and to my mind didn't need to be in the book.

Summary - the parts about Eric's early life and the beginnings of Python are great and well worth the listen (can we say the years before the money?). The rest was a bit of a slog. I was pleased when it finished.

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I laughed, I cried and then listened to this book

see I was listening. absolutely brilliant. incredible snapshot of a legendary era that will never happen again. the cast of characters are a who's who of legend status. Eric tells it in such a brilliant and funny way. These guys are the last few remaining true comics of a lost generation

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Excellent and what more do you expect?

Just great, wonderfully read and written by the man himself. I was brought up with Python and all the wonders of Eric's work. To listen to his incredibly funny account of his life was well worth my time.

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Better than eating cake

Excellent book honest and uplifting. Tears off joy and sadness with a sprinkle of silly lunacy. Warning Can give you heartburn.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Wendy McLachlan
  • 29-10-19

Worst book I have listened to!

I am a huge Monty Python fan, but this book was all about name dropping. I battled listening to the end.

2 people found this helpful

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  • TullochReviews
  • 02-08-19

Fantastic read by a brilliant comedian

A fantastic review by a brilliant comedian, goes into the laughs, the sad times and the legacy he has built and left behind. Kind, caring and funny