The Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Purchased

So, I was browsing around on Amazon looking for a book. I’ve been watching a lot of Monty Python lately, and while doing that, I was particularly amused by one character called “The Constable,” so I decided to doodle a picture in my sketchbook. Also during this time, I decided I should learn all of the Pythons’ names for easy future reference. In this process I discovered that Graham Chapman, the fella who plays the Constable character (as well as The Colonel, King Arthur, and Brian) was actually a super interesting human being. Therefore, I decided to read his autobiography.

[Interesting things about this guy, for those interested: He of course wrote and acted in Monty Python stuff, but he started off as a medical student, and was a licensed doctor. He was a raging alcoholic until the mid-70’s, when he quit almost cold-turkey. He climbed mountains, and was one of the first celebrities to publicly announce that he was a homosexual, which he did in the 70’s. The following is a relevant interview with Merv Griffin from 1980:

Anyway, at this point I’m dicking around on Amazon looking for this book. I notice three things: 1) It is not currently in print, and a lot of the copies on Amazon are prohibitively expensive [one was over $100], 2) It is expensive to ship things from the US of A, and 3) I forget. From there I went to ebay and found a better deal. Then I found another copy that was a dollar cheaper. Then I found another one that was fifty cents cheaper.

Then, I followed a link to ebay.co.uk. As I was converting the price from pounds into dollars, my brain said “Just get the first one. It’s not worth all this effort.” Addition, as many of you know, is serious heavy-lifting for me when it comes to mathematics. Anyway, I ignored it and converted the price. It was still 50 cents cheaper. I bought it. The total came out to about 14 bucks.

When I found the package in my mailbox yesterday, I took it with me on my way to class. I tore that bitch open while waiting for the tram, and started to thumb through it. I was disappointed to learn that this was a first edition from 1980. I mean, first editions are cool, but I was hoping to get the re-print with the foreword from Eric Idle. Oh well. I started reading it; it was good.

Later, I was sitting in the classroom, reading, when my friend came in and started talking to me. I idly began to flip the pages around when I noticed an inscription on the title page. I thought “Cool, I like books with history” but I didn’t actually read it. Then she pointed out that the message was signed “Graham.”

Graham Chapman wrote a motherfucking inscription in this book.

It reads:

From a Northumberland hiker who once called in for tea. – Graham

Here’s a picture.

There’s also a sticker on the inside cover which reads:

presented to
King Edward VI School
Stratford-upon-Avon
by
Mrs. J. B. Priestley
in memory
of her husband
March 1986

So, I did some research. Graham was an avid climber. J. B. Priestley was an English playwright. I found a quote online where Priestley made a reference to mountaineering. I then found a chapter of the book which describes how Graham “rang him [Priestley] up for tea” and visited him along with John Cleese and a couple others.

It seems to me that he wrote that inscription for Priestley, who kept the book in his library for 6 years until his death in 1986, at which point his wife donated it to the King Edward VI School in Stratford-upon-Avon. At some point between 1986 and 2010, it wound up at some bookstore in London, where an inattentive employee failed to notice the inscription, and sold it to me, via ebay, for about 10 dollars.

My final piece of evidence is this. On the left side is his signature from the book’s inscription. On the right, his proper autograph.

Pretty cool.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: