Tom Palin: Finsbury Park campaigner and son of Michael Palin talks Wireless Festival and Monty Python
PUBLISHED: 09:37 12 October 2017
The man leading a campaign to protect Finsbury Park from a growing number of music festivals and events says he got his passion from his father – Michael Palin.
Tom Palin became the Friends of Finsbury Park’s chair in 2015 as a way to protest the overuse of the space. Next month he will carry his fight to the Court of Appeal.
Should the challenge prove successful, the group will have changed the nature of private events in parks across London for good, with restrictions placed on their length and frequency.
But Tom is no stranger to the limelight. As the child of the world-famous Monty Python star he appeared in Life of Brian alongside Beatle George Harrison, who funded the film.
“Growing up I often had my father and a few of the others around chuckling or laughing hysterically, amusing themselves,” Tom recalled. “Occasionally we would go onto the film sets and in Life of Brian I’m a little Arab boy with my teeth blacked out.”
To Tom it was just growing up, but he admits it was a childhood full of laughter.
“Python was always very silly,” he said. “As a child watching someone talking about a dead parrot and laughing at each other, it’s very funny. It’s never nasty, it’s always nice humour.
“To me it was all a part of growing up, to other people it’s very interesting. I never had a problem through life with it – I’m very lucky it’s Michael Palin and not Sarah Palin. He’s a great father – what you see is what you get. He was very supportive, and is very supportive of this work that I do. He’s passionate and says you have to get involved with things you care about.”
His father won’t be at the Court of Appeal on November 2 because he’s in Myanmar raising money for the thousands of people fleeing violence in Rakhine, but Tom is confident of delivering good news to him.
“We are not saying we want to ban the events,” he added. “It’s about the frequency of them in local authority parks across London. Councils have no money and are trying to finance parks with commercial use. But our argument is it’s not sustainable.
“I became chair because I felt passionate about the overuse of parks. I used to be a music producer so I’m not against these events and it’s not about being a nimby – it’s a fundamental problem. We say: ‘If we don’t do this there will be more events’.”