The Great Debate UK

from Business Traveller:

The right type of travel writing?

Travel writer and newspaper columnist A.A. Gill told listeners of BBC Radio 4’s Excess Baggage programme last week that he doesn’t do research, doesn’t take notes and considers himself a rather superficial traveller, a tripper.

Whatever his methods, not many writers can so succinctly drill down into a destination simply using well-honed observational skills. Gill seems to know by osmosis who best to chat with while dashing around a destination – and somehow plans his visit at a particularly prescient moment in time.

Readers who seek politically correct armchair travels, where all the colours and customs of the far-flung world are greeted with wide-eyed awe may not enjoy Gill – he is acerbically provocative, occasionally chauvinistic, has kept the Press Complaints Commission consistently busy and caused a minor diplomatic incident with the Isle of Man in 2006 after deriding its citizens in a Sunday Times column.

While those on the receiving end of his compound-adjective-heavy wit might call it bigotry, his fans – and they are many – would not hold his writing in such high regard were his take-no-prisoners commentary not punctuated with thoughts and ideas pulsating with wisdom.

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