The last resort
September 16, 2008 12:33 AM   Subscribe

Martin Parr is a celebrated English photographer who has a reputation for being both preoccupied and inspired with notions of consumerism, foreign travel and tourism. Now you can actually go on holiday with him. The School of Life, a maverick cultural institution in London, is offering a weekend away with the sardonic snapper in the Isle of Wight.

Parr has described the Isle of Wight as like "a living theme park, like stepping back into an England of 20 or 30 years ago". For the princely sum of £500, you get to stay in Parr’s favourite seaside hotel, and join him for visits to the Brighstone holiday centre, the Needles, Ventnor beach and "other landmarks of the Isle of Wight tourism scene". According to the website, Parr will discuss his photography as well as his collections of souvenirs and postcards, and train your eye to see the "ugliness in beauty and the horror in leisure".

Future holidays with cultural figures are planned by the School of Life, including a tour of the "overlooked delights of Heathrow airport" with philosopher Alain de Botton and an exploration of the M1 motorway.

To my mind, this reminds of the sports tours where past greats are paid to guide you around famous stadiums and then sit with you at dinner trading old anecdotes. But does this cultural-history-as-holiday have other antecedents, I wonder?
posted by MrMerlot (6 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Appealing as this expenditure might be, I can't go to the Isle of Wight because I don't have the proper fashion. And I live 6000 miles away.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:43 AM on September 16, 2008

I would give a limb to go to this, but sadly I am already scheduled to be doing something else for which all of my extremities must remain intact.
posted by mippy at 2:53 AM on September 16, 2008

They also have a dinner which looks intriguing.
posted by vacapinta at 3:41 AM on September 16, 2008

We provide diners with a specially-designed conversation menu

But the more you converse, the larger the tip.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:04 AM on September 16, 2008

We provide diners with a specially-designed conversation menu

Do you have to chew the fat?
posted by mandal at 6:36 AM on September 16, 2008

I saw Parr in person in Toronto like eight years ago. Overrehearsed, overconfident, glib. I was disappointed.

But I’m still a huge defender of his Boring Postcards books. Don’t flip through them: They tell a real story, so start from page one and proceed in sequence to the end.
posted by joeclark at 2:51 PM on September 16, 2008

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