The politics of topless sunbathing

I’m pretty certain that what I’m about to say is essentially unsayable. So here goes: we need to have a frank conversation about boobs. Bare boobs. Because on my recent holiday to Majorca, I have to confess to being a little astonished to see quite so many topless women on the beach. But what a simple joy it was; old, young, lithe, voluminous, ponderous – there they were in all their glory, glistening or wilting in the sun, or simply splashing about in the sparkling water. Boobs. I know, I know… as a straight, white, privately educated man in the raw good health of middle age this is not territory that

How the travel industry convinced us we needed holidays

In September 2019, Thomas Cook filed for compulsory liquidation, leaving 600,000 customers stranded abroad. It was a sorry end to a company that had lasted 178 years and survived both world wars. Founded by a Baptist preacher who began organising railway trips to Midland cities for local temperance societies, the company grew into one of the largest travel agencies in the world, thanks to the transformation of tourism from an activity for the idle rich to an experience open to all. This opening up of travel is the story Lucy Lethbridge tells in Tourists, taking the reader from the last years of the Grand Tour to the first years of