Monthly Archives: July 2011

Top Marx: When Socialism Meets Tourism

I’ve had a new travel article published in the July issue of stalkingElk – a comedy satire mag, for which I’m the ‘roaming correspondent’ – all about when socialism meets tourism. Here’s how it begins:

“Look at the condition of communism today and it’s easy to conclude that Karl Marx has been forgotten. China is now home to twice as many KFC outlets as giant pandas. Vietnam is famed for its vast income and gender inequalities. And while Laos’ clampdown on the media is a big commie tick, its free market policy is like defecating directly into Lenin’s cold, dead gullet. Each of these states, a mere two decades after some vexed Germans shouted at a wall, are now about as socialist as Joseph McCarthy in a kaftan.

However, not every socialist state has opened its arms and spread its legs to greet rampant capitalism: there are still three corners of the globe where hard-line communism stubbornly prevails. Three of the most unique and alien places on earth. Which makes them three of the most interesting places to visit…”

If you’d like to read more of ‘Top Marx: When Socialism Meets Tourism’, you can click here for the whole article. Or if you want to read more of the kind, you can visit the stalkingElk website and buy the whole mag for just £3. Bargain!

Web spelling errors cost retailers ‘millions’

It’s official: spelling matters. New research reveals that simple spelling and grammatical mistakes cost web firms ‘millions of pounds’ each year.

Online entrepreneur Charles Duncombe claims that misspellings can foster major concerns about the credibility of a website, and therefore put off a slew of potential consumers – and potential income.

“Even cutting-edge companies depend upon old-fashioned skills,” says Mr Duncombe. “When you sell or communicate on the internet, 99% of the time it is done by the written word.” Continue reading

What Makes a Viral?


On 10th March 2009, the BBC’s Today current affairs radio programme ventured into the world of viral marketing by uploading a video to YouTube. The ‘viral’ – a video that rapidly gains popularity by being distributed and shared on the internet – was created as an experiment to see how widely the three-minute ad could spread in a short amount of time.

As of 31st March 2009, three weeks after being uploaded, Inside Today has been viewed nearly 55,000 times and has been emailed, instant messaged and blog linked across the planet. So far, so good. But the experiment has had its critics, with many questioning whether the Today promotional video can really be defined as viral. Continue reading

Socialism & Tourism #3: North Korea

Prior to the release of my new travel article about socialist tourism, I will be previewing a few of the commie states featured. This last one is North Korea.

If travel is about experiencing other ways of life, then it doesn’t get more ‘other’ than this. North Korea is the most isolated country on earth, cut off from reality by a totalitarian communist government that imprisons its citizens in a 1950s vacuum. This not only means North Koreans have never questioned Lady Gaga’s gender or not shut up about The bloody Wire: they have no idea man has been to the moon.

Consequently, visitors must accept strict limitations on what they say, as well as what they see. But that doesn’t mean the tourism is humdrum – not a bit of it. Visit the Democratic People’s Republic and you’ll get to board a captured US warship, be dwarfed by a colossal bronze dictator and witness the largest gymnastics festival on earth. Oh, and you’ll get sneaky peeks of reality too, like malnourished workers in rice fields and legions of rats scurrying through the metro. Continue reading