Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
The title says it all.
Eric Idle had a grim childhood in a horrid boarding school, and various other troubles – divorce, addiction, people grasping for money – but he doesn’t spend much time dwelling on any of those darker parts of life. He’s 75 and his milieu is 1960s-70s era rock and roll, so he’s lost a lot of friends, but he focuses mostly on the happy times he spent with them. At the same time, he’s philosophical about death – you can feel his deep sadness over his friends’ deaths, but as he says in the song, “life is quite absurd, and death’s the final word.”
This is a fun and cheerful autobiography. There are appearances by a vast array of musicians and actors, with photos throughout. There are glimpses of the jet-setter life, with luxurious travel on friends’ private planes and yachts. Even more, though, I came away impressed with the boundless energy Eric Idle brought to his work. Movies, plays, silly songs, live performances with and without the rest of the Pythons. He seems to be constantly in motion.
Sadly, I also learned from this book that my idea of having Always Look on the Bright Side of Life played at my funeral is not the least bit original – turns out, it’s the number one requested song for funerals, at least in England.