Tuesday, 26 May 2009

"Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside..."

Reading the latest email from Kew nearly made me spit out my tea. There wasn’t anything particularly bad or funny about it. In fact, it was well laid out, lovely pictures and best of all typo-free. So why did I scoff at the offer? Well, having lived in north Devon for quite a few years I know how important tourism is to the local economy. I also watch The Apprentice and saw the candidates’ efforts at rebranding Margate. There’s a fine line between marketing a town as a hotspot and making it sound like a dump. The email from Kew unfortunately leant toward the latter with its competition to “Win a retro weekend break to the Isle of Wight”.
Retro is another word for saying old-fashioned and rubbish, isn’t it? It’s postmodern and ironic to mean something that is so bad it’s good. I certainly hope that’s not what Kew was aiming for. I have never been to the Isle of Wight, and I’m sure it has a lot to offer. To promote it as retro seems a little unfair.

I don’t know who actually goes on these expensive “retro” holidays (though I do realise Kew is offering it as a prize)—it reminds me of an article I read in the Sunday Times called My Posh Camping Disaster in Devon. On the plus side though, at least it's encouraging people to holiday in Britain and that can only be a good thing. Still, if I really wanted a retro holiday I could just as easily grab a bucket and spade and head down the beach. Retro, feh!—MT

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