14 Oct 2008

Monty Python’s Flying Circus, John Cleese, Michael Palin and the need for a bit of laughter

I wrote this post back in 2008, amid the gloom of the banking crisis, when it felt as if a bit of light relief was needed. Have things improved since then? It's debateable. But the 6 remaining members of the Monty Python team have, in late 2013, announced they will be making a come back, and tickets for their scheduled show at the O2 Arena in London sold out in 43 seconds. The Pythons are back in the news, and oldies as they may be by now, the promise of their humour can still draw the crowds. Here's what I wrote in 2008, including a look at the charts of  John Cleese and Michael Palin.

Endless news reports about the credit crunch, failing banks, the global economy and now inflation send me hurrying urgently to find something to make me laugh. I found a page on the BBC website devoted to “What’s making you smile?” together with a jokes page. This one worked for me:

What do you call 12 investment bankers at the bottom of the ocean?
A good start.

And here's another one I've had by email:

What's the difference between a banker and a pigeon?
A pigeon can make a deposit on a Ferrari.

What’s making you laugh, smile, feel a bit better in the face of the current gloom? With Uranus opposite Saturn moving ever closer to exactitude on 4th November, perhaps we need to step away for a while from the heaviness of the Saturnian gloom and look for something to jolt us out of our stasis. We could simply look for some good news, but that’s not always easy to find. You’ll find it here at Positive News, which always provides a refreshing alternative view.

For this post I’ve opted to go back a few decades to Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the outrageously anarchic, satirical and often slapstick TV programme first broadcast by the BBC on 5.10.1969. I’ve set the chart for noon in the event of no actual time of “birth” and in London, from where it would have been transmitted.

What can we see in this chart?

  • it’s very red/green in the aspects colour ratio - 4 red: 4 green: 6 blue - lots of reactive responses and plenty of ideas flowing
  • there’s a Small Talent Triangle and a not-quite-complete Trapeze aspect pattern (for more on aspect patterns see Aspect Pattern Astrology and Aspect Patterns in Colour in Books tabs at top of page). These patterns indicate creativity and ideas, reflecting the motivation of the high ratio of green aspects
  • the stellium of four planets in Libra and one in Virgo has an anarchic/transformative quality with Uranus (the anarchic humour) and Pluto (the cutting edge freshness and change of approach using intellectual and visual humour). In this stellium we also find OTT Jupiter conjunct the Sun and Mercury sits at the apex of the Small Talent triangle as the witty agent of delivery and communication.
I’m including the charts of two of the creators of Monty Python - John Cleese and Michael Palin - partly because they were my favourite “Pythons”, partly because they both went on to develop their careers in film and travel (Palin) and film, TV series and organisational training (Cleese), and partly because they both took part in the memorable “Dead Parrot” sketch . But more of that later.

John Cleese was born on 27.10.1939 at 03.15 in Weston-super-Mare. The aspect structure in his chart covers a large area, indicative of him being able to move into many areas of life. The image reminds me of his appearance in an episode of Monty Python where he worked for the Ministry of Silly Walks. He was seen on his way to work walking in an alarmingly eccentric way, and at the time this spawned a fair amount of imitation from uninhibited members of the public, usually when they’d had just enough drink to loosen their inhibitions.

The chart shaping/motivation is a mixture of fixity and flexibility, suggesting that Cleese best operates creatively within a defined framework. His character Basil Fawlty (who he created) in the brilliant TV series “Fawlty Towers” has something of this about him. Fawlty is mad, eccentric and unbearable, but only when his carefully constructed environment is upset by the unexpected. Cleese has a colour ratio of 5 red: 5 green: 4 blue; the excess red/green drive and motivation echoes that of the Python chart shown above. Outrageous, anarchic and creative Uranus sits on the Balance Point in the 9th house. It’s the highest planet in the chart, so is prominent, and on the Balance Point it gives the ability to work effectively and efficiently. This can be seen in Cleese’s script writing for both Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, along with his acting/performance.

Michael Palin was born on 5.5.1943 at 11.45 in Sheffield. His chart is very different in appearance, with a large, open area on the “You”/DC side and most planets on the more private AC side. Palin might feel vulnerable to the potentially invasive influences of others, preferring his own space, with the aspect structure clinging to the “I”/AC side of his chart. His chart has a restless flexibility to it; he won’t need structure in the same way that Cleese might, and his extensive travelogues for TV give a flavour of how he is able to adapt to new experiences. His colour ratio/motivation of 2 red: 2 green: 6 blue veers strongly to being laid back and relaxed. This comes across in his travel programmes; he seems a real “Mr. Nice” who you’d quite happily invite into your own home.

As in Cleese’s and the Python chart, Palin’s Uranus is also prominent. Tightly conjunct Mercury, it’s in the stress area before the 11th house cusp, so has its sights set on 11th rather than 10th house matters. This means ideas, people of like mind and shared ideals will be of greater interest. With Python humour having a strong intellectual, satirical and anarchic streak, the 11th house focus for Uranus/Mercury in Palin’s chart not only fits, it pulls in his intercepted Moon. It offers the Moon - our sense of self through feelings, the inner child - a doorway into the world where some of these drives can be expressed, possibly in an outrageous and innovative way.

Cleese and Palin performed he Dead Parrot sketch together in a Monty Python episode. Here’s an extract, just to give you a taster and to take your attention off Saturn for a moment and give you the opportunity to enjoy something more Uranian. The scene is a pet shop. The characters are the customer, Mr. Praline, played by Cleese, and the shop owner played by Palin:

Mr. Praline: I wish to complain about this parrot, what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
Owner : Oh yes, the, ah, the Norwegian Blue... What's, ah... W-what's wrong with it?
Mr. Praline : I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it.
Owner : No, no, 'e's ah... he's resting.
Mr. Praline : Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
Owner : No no, h-he's not dead, he's, he's restin'!
Mr. Praline : Restin'?
Owner : Y-yeah, restin.' Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, isn't it, eh? Beautiful plumage!
Mr. Praline : The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead!
Owner : Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!
Mr. Praline : All right then, if he's resting, I'll wake him up! (shouting at the cage).'Ello, Polly! Mister Polly Parrot! I've got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you wake up, Mr. Polly Parrot...(owner hits the cage)
Owner : There, he moved!
Mr. Praline : No, he didn't, that was you pushing the cage!

You can see the whole sketch by clicking here - enjoy!

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Hi Joyce,
OMG... Monty python takes me back a bit. We used to watch this on the channel called PBS, which was network of private cultural channels.
It was fairly exotic for me, and I remember the famous " naughty bits" (he he :) ).

I have followed Michael Palin through his excellent travel shows. I have even watched again a few of his more recent installments.

Yes, hard to be indifferent to Monty Python !