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Getting cute

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“We’re going to have to be a bit clever.” So said Sarah Hartley to me this week while looking ahead to future Mail on Sunday travel editions.

With the UK’s quarantine list likely to remain subject to change in the coming weeks, and with France good odds to be added to it this week, scheduling – let alone commissioning – pieces on foreign destinations in an exercise in risk-taking. “Run ‘em while you can” was another editor’s stated approach to the current situation.

Sarah expects to have to continue to produce lots of staycation pieces, which is where the cleverness comes in. Round-ups of the best British beaches or rediscovering our cities already feel a bit old hat due to the sheer amount of staycation copy published lately. Two weekends back, Sarah published a feature by me about the places to find Britain’s classic foods (her idea, not mine); before that came one by Simon Heptinstall about visiting its best artworks. This is the sort of cute piece she means – ways to cover different parts of Britain, and to conjure up an interesting read.

Any ideas along those lines – maybe something literary, like locations of famous scenes in classic British novels, or something historical to do with key sites from different ages? Please do send my way. Generally, I’d encourage anyone with domestic clients to be thinking as creatively as possible while approaching national-paper writers. If you’ve a Lake District or Cornish client, for instance, is there a different type of destination feature waiting to be written? A different focus? What are the merits of off-season visits? And so on…

On an unrelated note, two weeks ago I wrote that “At least, amid these crazy times, we can still rely on the British summer to underwhelm.” I therefore take full responsibility for this heatwave. Depending on whether you have air-conditioning, please feel free to thank or hate me!


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