An evening with Michael Palin
Comedian, travel presenter and author, Michael Palin, brought a whirlwind of excitement to Wimbledon as Bookfest sold out tickets to his event within weeks. The keen queues were animated but long, and luckily, WSM and Russell Cooke had organised canapés and drinks before in the beautifully decorated (and warm) William Morris tent. So the crowding and waiting was skipped and the WSM team and our guests were led to the front of the Big Tent like VIPS after everyone else was seated.
Interviewed by fellow travel journalist, Jenny Cox, Palin talked through some of his more personal experiences which were not captured on camera whilst he made his first journey across Brazil in 2012. Palin explored the huge country with its compelling blend of religions and cultures, cities and jungle wilderness over a couple of months, tracing Teddy Roosevelt's 1914 expedition.
He shared his experiences of living with the Yanomami tribe inhabiting the Amazon rainforest on the Venezuelan border, including a rather embarrassing toilet incident whereby he almost let a wild boar destroy the village. He also shared his great knowledge of the country and its history of once being the sole producer of rubber, until the early 1900's when the rubber tree was illegally exported to India and Southeast Asia where it had no natural predators, the trees flourished in the hot climates and Brazil's economy crashed as a result of India's success!
While his recent Brazilian ventures were the key focus of the evening, Palin delighted the audience by talking about other travels and the Python experience as well as answering some more personal questions such how his family deals with him being away so often.
The evening concluded well with some more drinks and nibbles and some sneaky photos with the former Python himself!
(L-R): Andrew Bithray, Annie Lee, Michael Palin, Paul Windsor, Kayley Hackshaw, Anne Irvine.
Michael and Paul getting chummy!