I’m in favour of writers travelling abroad to do something other than research books. Perhaps there has been enough mere observation. Gimmickry must also have run its course – what’s the point of travelling around Ireland with a fridge?
In this puritan, work-motivated age, it’s good when travel writers have more strings to their bows. Jason Webster practically killed himself infiltrating a band of drug-using gypsies in order to learn flamenco guitar – but at least now he has a useful skill. Similarly, Brian Winter may be able to earn money teaching the tango when the credit crunch bites.
I envy Winter this skill, having spent nearly three years in Buenos Aires myself without ever learning more than a few steps of tango. The reason is that Argentine teachers tend either to be beautiful young women, or curmudgeonly old men who wear