Holiday tip for 2016
As the days get shorter and the nights draw in, and the horrific Christmas adverts start polluting our eyes, it's the perfect time to start planning your next sunny getaway. Or so the broadsheet newspapers' travel supplements would have you believe. Well, you can bin that lot because the solution is here, thanks to "Expert-led Historical Journeys", as advertised on the back of the latest Private Eye magazine. Here's the full ad:
Now, far be it for me to cast aspersions on anyone who chooses to spend a minimum £795 on a holiday called "The Face of Evil: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". At least the brochure promises that you'll meet "like-minded travellers", which I'd like to think are hard to find in everyday life. Note to self: there's definitely a fly-on-the-wall constructed reality soap/doc series here.
But much more than this, my eye was drawn to the even more mouth-watering option listed underneath it: "Secret War: The French Resistance, guided by Paddy Ashdown". Now we're talking. It says something about the big beasts of Liberal Democrat politics that they're now available for hire as historical tour guides. The holiday spares no detail in recreating the actual events, lasting a full 7 hours. Paddy will no doubt enjoy reminiscing about a plucky band of indomitable underdogs who bravely fought against the dominance of a reactionary right-wing regime. Or should that be a tiny group whose actual importance has been greatly exaggerated? As the comedian Rob Newman notes in his Entirely Accurate Encyclopaedia of Evolution (now playing on BBC Radio 4): "One of the great myths of twentieth century history is the existence of a French Resistance. Here's a statistic you don't hear as often as you should: there were actually less members of the French Resistance than of Dexy's Midnight Runners".
What are you waiting for? Get booking, and bonnes vacances!