Of all the Pythons, Graham Chapman was the most anarchic in his comedy. He excelled at stream-of-consciousness humor and non sequitirs, and made a permanent mark on the comedy landscape with a stature rivaling anyone in the last fifty years. This book can be viewed as a companion to Graham's earlier work, "A Liar's Autobiography," as it contains a lot of material that didn't make it into that book, as well as many diverse pieces such as screenplays and correspondence, most of which appear here for the first time.
Graham was a complex person, and this book gives an outstanding view into the workings of his mind. His struggles are well detailed here, yet he always made the most of any situation, especially if wild parties with the likes of Keith Moon and Ringo Starr were involved. I was pleased that the bulk of this book dealt with Graham's life outside of Python, as that has been very well documented elsewhere.
The book itself has the feel of a mixed-media contemporary art piece as it is from so many diverse sources. I must admit that the title drew me in: it is taken from a piece on page 88 in the essays section. The essay does, in fact, make calcium much more interesting than in any chemistry class I have had, to wit: "Calcium...occurs naturally as the carbonate CaCO3 in limestone, chalk, marble, and in brothels...." Graham's medical training (he was a doctor, after all) comes through in other places as well, as on page 189 where he discusses disorders of the trachea and bronchial tree in a musical adaptation called "The Ciliary-Mucus-Escalator Dance." Of course, the weirdness doesn't stop with scientific and medical humor, but dwells in both the mundane (a pompous man who brags about his "fleet of atomic-powered Silko-Glyde lawn mowers - each with a sauna bath, a cocktail lounge with three adjoining cinemas, and a discotheque", page 235) and the surreal (an insurance salesman selling a man a "special Being Nibbled To Death by Okapia Policy," with correspondingly odd terms on page 245.)
My two favorite parts of the book are the monologues and the personal letters. My favorite monologue concerns riding down a black diamond ski slope in a "wretched wooden gondola" with the Dangerous Sports Club, a piece that opens and sets the tone for the book. (I recommend the DVD, "Looks Like a Brown Trouser Job" which recalls this among other strange occurrences.) The letters are all fairly deranged, but my favorites are the letter reproduced in the dedication, which is an apology to a pub owner ("Words alone will have to express my profoundly abject apology for my behavior in your pub last night. I will have the shelf repaired, and I have already bought a half pound fillet steak for Dennis's eye...") and the condensed letters of E.P. Snibbet, Esq., which conclude the book.
Graham was a genius and a loony, and I miss him. This is a brilliant book and is not to be missed by anyone fond of insane humor; I recommend it highly.