by Hans ten Cate
Saturday, 24 April 1999

Python biographer Jonathan Margolis The original 1992 Cleese Encounters

Last year, journalist and biographer Jonathan Margolis published an update to his 1992 biography of John Cleese, Cleese Encounters. This revised biography features new chapters updating Cleese's activities through 1997 (e.g., the full story of Fierce Creatures and its original ending) as well as an updated curriculum vitae.

The book is the most in-depth work on John Cleese you will find anywhere. Extensively researched and based on numerous interviews with Cleese's friends, family, and colleagues, this biography is a tremendously amusing read, even if you are not a Monty Python fan but wanted to know more about one of the most successful men in show business.

Jonathan Margolis was nice enough to contact us in 1997 about additional John Cleese facts and to include some research supplied by the Daily Llama. He even included a whole paragraph on yours truly. It paints the usual picture of a Monty Python obsessive but it's an honor to have been cited in such a wonderful book. So, for better or for worse, here is the quote...

...The pre-eminent Python Internet fan is Hans ten Cate of Washington DC, a twenty-eight-year-old programme manager and policy analyst in the aerospace industry, who has worked for NASA. Ten Cate, who began his lifetime's obsession with Monty Python after being introduced to the sketches by a Norwegian boy at his boarding school in Holland, is a global reservoir of information and gossip on Cleese and co. During his recent honeymoon in London, ten Cate's new wife Alison, an environmental policy analyst, arranged for him to visit the Monty Python office in Delancey Street, north London, where he presented the staff with a 140-page bibliography. 'We talked for about two hours,' ten Cate said on his return to Washington. 'I found out all sorts of interesting facts and trivia bout Python as a cultural phenomenon. What a great day that was. Upon leaving the office, I saw Michael Palin, sitting ten metres straight ahead of me, in a meeting wih some of the Python office representatives. Unfortunately, introductions were not made.'

Margolis, Jonathan, Cleese Encounters, Orion Books, 1998 (U.K.) ISBN 0-75281-693-4 (paperback)

Jonathan Margolis writes regularly for the UK's London Evening Standard and the Guardian and is a European contributor to Time magazine. He has also authored biographies of Michael Palin, Lenny Henry, Billy Connolly, and Bernard Manning. Jonathan's second Python work, Michael Palin: A Biography is exceptionally good and worthy of a read.

The updated Cleese Encounters is listed in the Monty Python Bibliography here at the Daily Llama and can be purchased in Europe and Canada and can be purchased on websites like Amazon UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/).