I WISH TO REGISTER A COMPLAINT

Wikipedia has this to say about the Pythons …

Broadcast by the BBC between 1969 and 1974, Monty Python's Flying Circus was conceived, written and performed by its members Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. Loosely structured as a sketch show, but with an innovative stream-of-consciousness approach aided by Gilliam's animation, it pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable in style and content.

Vinyl Connection has this to say …

Discovered by the writer at the tender age of eighteen, fresh from High School and totally overwhelmed by university, Monty Python provided a brain twist, a challenge, an awakening and a refuge. 

At home, I remember sitting with my parents in front of the TV, waiting for the moment when the magic word, “It’s…” would drop onto the faded carpet with a husky crash. My mother would plead tiredness and head for bed. My father was made of sterner stuff and would hang around for at least part of the episode. But for someone who thought The Two Ronnies the height of British Comedy (note capitals) and was not averse to a bit of Benny Hill, it was a stretch. One could say, perhaps, a sketch too far.

In the record library of the university Student Union building (soon to be demolished to make way for modern accommodation for rich overseas students, I am told) you could tell which headphone-wearing slackers were tuned to the Python record by the chuckles popping into the silence like exploding shrubs in How Not To Be Seen.

I loved the records and snapped up a boxed set of Python LPs many years ago when you could still buy vinyl without needing to auction your firstborn.

Last night, Ms Connection being out, I listened to the first album with the boy, trying not to laugh just ahead of the punchline because that is supremely annoying. Mostly I succeeded. 

Some of the ‘style and content’ still pushes the boundaries, and certainly not all the content connected to a millennial teen. But the highlights—and there are many on this debut—are timeless.

Doctor: Mr. Bertenshaw?

Mr. B: Me, Doctor.

Doctor: No, me doctor, you Mr. Bertenshaw.

Mr. B: My wife, doctor...

Doctor: No, your wife patient.

Sister: Come with me, please.

Mr. B: Me, Sister?

Doctor: No, she Sister, me doctor, you Mr. Bertenshaw.

Nurse: Dr. Walters?

Doctor: Me, nurse...You Mr. Bertenshaw, she Sister, you doctor.

Sister: No, doctor.

Doctor: No Doctor? Call ambulance, keep warm.

The boy learned the Pet Shop sketch last year for a drama project and joined in. Me? I was hooked in the first 90 seconds all those years ago. 

Tourist: I say, those ARE sheep aren't they?

Shepherd: Yeh.

Tourist: Yes yes, I thought so. Only, why are they up in the trees?

Shepherd: A fair question and one that in recent weeks 'as been much on my mind. It's my considered opinion that they're nestin'.

Tourist: Nesting?

Shepherd: Aye.

Tourist: Like birds?

Shepherd: Exactly. It's my belief that these sheep are labourin' under the misapprehension that they're birds. Observe their behaviour. Take for a start the sheeps' tendency to 'op about the field on their back legs. Now witness their attempts to fly from tree to tree. Notice that they do not so much fly… as plummet. (Baaa baaa... flap flap... thud.)

Happy fiftieth birthday to The Worst Of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Grab a Stormy Petrel on a stick, sit back and enjoy.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus — The Worst of Monty Python’s Flying Circus

BBC Records, 1970

20 comments

  1. Brilliant. and timeless. Really must put a couple of evenings aside and watch the Holy Grail and Life of Brian again. Never tire of either. But while it took longer for me to see the TV series (I was a little too young on first transmission), I knew so many of those great sketches through taped versions of the records from my older bro and his mate. And the most memorable for me was 1973’s Matching Tie & Handkerchief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we’ve inculcated the boy with the films already! 🙂
      With you on Matching Tie (of which I have two copies). If you had cassettes, Malcolm, were you aware of the very interesting pressing of one side of that LP?

      Like

  2. At age fourteen, I spent almost all my afternoons sitting in Dan Fox’s basement rec room reciting Monty Python sketches. Even with the show’s production just ending that year, it already seemed like a lost relic from a previous time–probably due to the muted colors of the artwork. As a principal bonding connection with my counter-culture group of friends, Monty Python was one of the most important things in my life for over a year. I, too had the three-sided Matching Tie & Handkerchief.

    Like

  3. Monty Python was a constant throughout my formative years, I struggle to remember the sketches apart from the obvious Spam Song and the Spanish Inquisition, we used to spend every morning at school annoying teachers with silly walks and reciting the repeats of it we had seen the night before on BBC2, I bet teachers the world over hated Python, it was soon replaced by Not the Nine O’Clock news in our affections and then the Young Ones. TV through rose tinted glasses was so much better.

    Like

  4. I’m surprised Monty Python started quite so early – always feels like a 1970s thing to me.

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  5. It is not an easy task – not laughing too soon, knowing a good joke is en route!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jprobichaud · · Reply

    I’ve laughed so much to these guys. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They’re an institution in the english-speaking world, eh? Thanks jp.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jprobichaud · · Reply

        I’d say so, yes. Iconic even.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I dont have this one Bruce but I do have a couple others I wore out. I’ve been thinking about doing a take on at least one of them. They hit my funny bone. I thought that was what people were like over in England.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Our UK colleagues might be a touch offended by that, CB!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So you’re telling me there was no such person as Dennis Moore, highway man who stole lupins? Back to school for CB.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 🤣 Ta for the laff, CB. As they say in Londinium, you’re a diamond geezer.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I like that. Thanks.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I had a double
    Cassette release called the Final Rip Off. It must have been borrowed and circulated amongst my friends in high school for almost all senior year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember that comp. The box set I mention in the post also includes an earlier compilation called ‘The Monty Python Instant Record Collection’ which is rather good too.
      Did you and your friends quote at each other constantly?

      Like

  9. Yes they were great and drew the whole family together; around the box anyway.
    My favourite skit, with apologies to you Bruce, ends:
    “Yes Socrates himself is particularly missed;
    A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he’s pissed.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Someone had to go there, DD. 🙂

      Like

  10. Brilliant. These would great to shake off the working week.

    The Two Ronnies was a favourite in my house growing up (re-runs on a Saturday, I think)… and I dare say I was about 16 or 17 when I discovered Monty Python.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The perfect age, J.

      Liked by 1 person

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