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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 (70 ratings)
Non-member price: $30.38
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Publisher's 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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Not just an Idle fan

I found the story funny, reflective, sad, unbelievable & most of all enjoyable. This is a person who has lived & is living a great life. Hearing Eric’s voice, telling his story a slam dunk, back of the net, top shelf yarn. To borrow a couple of quotes “Say no more, now f-off & get it.”

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant !

Great from start to finish. With some surprises along the way. Author narrative was perfect

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Good in parts

I was looking forward to listening to this book as I have always been a fan of Eric Idle. Unfortunately, the more I listened to the book, the more annoying was the incessant name dropping interspersed with sketchy details of other events in his life. Disappointing and I was unwilling to finish it.

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Nothing but name dropping, utterly dissappointed

I was really excited to listen to this book and then found myself utterly disappointed... it is basically hours of naming dropping and pretty much no substance... at one point I literally caught myself eye rolling, this is when I returned the book.

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Simply brilliant

An amazing life story sparkling with gems of celebrity strewn throughout. A must listen for all

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Great book

Eric Idle did a fantastic job as the author and narrator of this book enjoyed immensely

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Fairly tedious stuff

Spoiler alert... Eric Idle knows a lot of famous people. I am a fan of autobiographies and Monty Python so I thought this would be a treat. Frankly this is a just name dropping with a tease of stories that have no depth except to stroke a rather big ego. Such a disappointment, go read David Mitchell instead.

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Funny and touching story of a life well-spent

As in many autobiographies and biographies, I found the most interesting parts of Eric Idle's were about the years before he became famous. I had no idea he spent many years in an orphanage, and he describes these with humour and no self-pity. Of the years of his fame, with Monty Python and various projects, he tells us a lot about the celebrities he knew - mostly fascinating - but it's life in the goldfish bowl, as he often says, or words to that effect. Thus it bears some similarity to many other accounts of living in such bowls. I was most impressed by Eric's honesty and generosity, and of course amused by his unique way of telling a story.

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A very good listen

Very good to hear Eric in all his glory, only one flaw of the book toward the end when he gets a little political and that really lets it down. I Don’t want to hear political views what ever side they’re from

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Fan-bloody-tastic!

Eric Idle, born in the same place as his mother but not at the same time. This is bloody marvellous, hard to stop listening to.
His wit, humour, sadness and humanity all rolled into one rip snorter of a ride.
Be warned, drinking while listening to this leads to large amounts of liquid being sprayed over your nearest and dearest.

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  • Simon
  • 02-10-2018

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Lesley Townsend
  • 22-10-2018

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!!!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 21-10-2018

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • mrs alison bethell collins
  • 20-10-2018

Fabulously entertaining!

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • James M.
  • 18-10-2018

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • karin
  • 16-10-2018

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-10-2018

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-02-2019

what a book!!!!

Please dont read this if you Have NOT got a sense of humour
what a book Eric idle brilliant writer and speaker
loved it.

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  • Clin
  • 28-02-2019

Un-pausable & un-putdownable

Just great, everything you want from the life of a Python and more ...... nuff said

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  • Matt W
  • 27-02-2019

Entertaining romp through the life of a Python

What lifts this from the countless other celebrity memoirs, and indeed the many from ex Pythons themselves, is Eric Idle's delivery.

His upbeat, energetic narration brings life and colour to his life, and more broadly, to the emergence of a new breed of comedy from 1960's Britain.

In the later stages, it does get a bit "name drop central', with a roll call of other actors and comics, from what is now a very comfortable LA life. But it's hard to be churlish with a companion as entertaining as the author