Travel Days - Introduction

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This section contains a series of articles in Portable Document Format from Travel Days; my transient and most unsatisfactory association with this publication began with an advertisement in the Journalist and ended with a substantial judgment in Clerkenwell County Court. Like Winston, the guy who was responsible for my riddles and puzzles appearing in the Voice, the publisher of Travel Days was a man with big ambitions and limited means. Unlike Winston, he made a conscious attempt to rip me off; he was neither the first nor the last publisher to do this, but he was the one who regretted it most.

I donít want to go into any great detail about this, it was bad enough that I had to rope in my friends in order to get what was owed to me; both Chris Tame and Mark Taha appeared as witnesses, and at the end of the one day trial, the judge, who was unimpressed with both the publisher and his publication which he referred to as ďthis throwawayĒ, awarded me the £3,000 I had claimed plus costs for myself and my two witnesses. And I was paid in full.

I have to say that I found the whole business distasteful in the extreme as I had come to regard this man as a friend, and if he had been half as dynamic as I was input-wise we could indeed have made a success not only of this paper but of the others heíd hoped to launch.

I made a note at the time that there were two versions of the launch issue of Travel Days, one which was put out before the start of the London-based World Travel Market 1991, the other after it had opened. At this distance I canít remember much about the exhibition, but I do remember doing a fair bit of interviewing at Olympia.

A few words about the articles etc, in alphabetical order as far as practical. Mostly the writing consisted of straightforward copy, rewriting press releases and such. Generally this sort of journalism - for want of a better word - is uncredited, so the vast majority of these articles are unsigned. Also, I am not entirely sure that I did write all of them, I may have omitted a few that I did write, and they are of course edited to house style. I canít recall to what degree most of them were edited because I did not retain copies, but I would say that by and large they were edited extremely minimally, unlike for example my contributions to New Computer Express, a couple of which were edited almost out of recognition.

The first issue of the paper was not only undated but unnumbered, although a short, unsigned editorial on page 2 makes it clear that this is the launch issue. The pages of the paper - all the editions that I worked on - are also unnumbered. Iím not sure if I contributed to the first or second printing of the launch issue, or both; I have two copies in my possession, and they appear to be exactly the same, at a guess I would say the second only.

An Offer You Canít Refuse: in my personal bibliography this was listed as appearing on page 3, but when I came to scan it, it appeared to be on page 5; I appear to have got the unnumbered pages mixed up, but this is hardly important.

Appointments In Brief, February 1992 - Iím fairly certain I wrote most or all of this column. My name appears at the end of the second review article.

I definitely wrote Big In Japan, my being an Alphaville fan and all that.

Iím fairly certain I wrote Down Under Looking Up; this sounds like the sort of pun I would have made.

Dream Sales For Travel Agents is credited to Rosemary Plum; it is not uncommon for especially small publications to pad their staff lists with non-existent correspondents, but Iím fairly certain I actually met Rosemary Plum at some point. Likewise I am fairly certain that I rather than she wrote this piece. The February 1992 issue contains a signed article by Rosemary Plum: NEW YORK CRUISE LINES DOCK IN LONDON which Iím fairly certain I didnít write so perhaps it was written by the lady herself.

Eurodollar Shows The Way Forward was I think one of my pieces although Iím not sure about Eurodollar UK Appoints New Sales Director which is included in the scan.

European Commission Says ďNoĒ To BA Probe: Iím fairly certain I wrote this even though it appears on the front page of the launch issue.

Fly Thai: Iím 99% certain I wrote this.

Flying Above The Recession: likewise Iím sure I wrote this.

The article High Fliers Only Need Apply (or should that be High Flyers!?) was not listed in my personal bibliography, I am 99% certain I wrote it though, so it is included here. The article PIE IN THE SKY (in block capitals!) which appeared on page 11 of the undated launch issue is not included here nor is the most extensive piece I ever wrote for the publication, a signed article called Everything You Always Wanted To Know About City Airport, which appeared in the May 1992 issue at pages 8-9. This latter involved an actual trip to the Airport and an interview with its Information Officer. As things stand these two articles are too large for me to scan and post on this site recognisably, though I may post them at a later date, possibly in JPG format.

The reviews Island Life and The Other Face Of Scotland came about as a result of my (unpaid) work for Topical Books - yet another publishing disaster with which I became involved. Iíve heard it said that the guy who founded it, Ian Mitchell, was a crook. I donít know if that is true but he certainly never made any promises to me that he couldnít keep, although he was yet another publisher/entrepreneur whose big ambitions failed to materialise, though not in this case to my financial detriment.

Jewish Cemeteries Under Threat is an orphan; it was published in Londra Sera, the parent of Travel Days so to speak; I had this published for one of my Rabbi friends, and I had to fight to get it in. The slightly green tinge to the title is due to its being used in the court case, it was marked by a felt pen, by the judge himself if I remember correctly.

Iím fairly certain I wrote King Losing His Crown, again, this sounds like the sort of pun I would make.

The untitled snippets beginning ďLand Travel LtdĒ and ďTalking of RussiaĒ appear in the same column as More Time Share Rip Offs and To Russia With Books, the former sandwiched between the two, so I am 99% certain I wrote both of these.

Not All Cheese And Tulips: I definitely wrote this but not (as far as I recall) "SWALLOW launches..."

Iím absolutely sure I wrote Round-a-boats and swings; this is a typical Baron pun.

Sealink: Iím fairly certain I wrote this.

The Italian Way is a very short piece at the bottom of the article Pie In The Sky, so I definitely wrote this.

The Write Stuff is an article I definitely did write; I also submitted an entry for the competition mentioned therein, although I didnít win a prize.

TRAVEL, DRINK AND BE MERRY was page 5 in my personal bibliography but page 3 when I came to scan it, so as with An Offer You Canít Refuse (above) I may have got the pages out of order.

Chris provided the photos for Up In Smoke; the document is marked P.5 - this should read P15 or page 15; it was one of the exhibits in the court case.

Apart from Pie In The Sky and Everything You Always Wanted To Know About City Airport, this is the bulk of my Travel Days articles; there were definitely a few more - very few - I also wrote a considerable amount of material for new publications which never got off the ground, and which I no longer have copies of. These latter formed part of the basis for my successful County Court action. If and when I find any or all of the aforesaid I will scan and post them here as time and resources permit, but there are other, even sadder chapters of my life that I plan to document before then. If I live long enough!

There is a postscript to this sorry saga; while I was compiling this section I checked the British Library catalogue, and found a listing for the paper from 2003. On my next visit to St Pancras I ordered 2003 and the last year on the shelf. A single copy turned up: Travel Days, New Series Issue N. 1 - November 2003, ďThe newspaper for the travel industryĒ !!!

The front page includes a signed article by the publisher, the paper is in the same format, still no page numbers, and totall indistinguishable from the issues I contributed to. On page 4 is the same photograph of Sir Colin Marshall as appeared on the front page of the launch issue. The paper appears to have been relaunched for the 2003 World Travel Market whic was held at Excel, and appears to have been written almost entirely if not entirely entirely by the publisher himself.

One other thing, I did actually get a trip to Paris out of this publication, well, out of British Rail. They provided me with a return ticket and I took a long weekend in the capital, taking a few photographs of and from the top of the Eiffel Tower and publishing an article in Pensionersí Voice on the strength of it. I also called in on an acquaintance, much to her surprise. Sometime before I had been contacted by a young Venezualan student named Laura Perťz who was writing a dissertation on small presses, or something of that nature. She interviewed me in London. (A few years later I was interviewed by an Australian student named Anthony Long who was more interested in me from a Revisionist perspective). Laura Perťz had given me the address of the French institute where she moved on to after London, and was (dare I say pleasantly?) surprised when I turned up on at the instituteís doorstep early on a bright Saturday afternoon.

I donít think British Rail were so pleasantly surprised when they contacted me sometime later to ask about the article(s) I was supposed to be writing about them for the paper, which never materialised, albeit through no fault of mine.

Alexander Baron

April 5, 2009


Update: April 24, 2009: Sometime after publishing the above I hit on the bright idea of reducing Everything You Always Wanted To Know About City Airport from A3 to A4 before scanning it. Much to my surprise it worked. Yesterday I scanned the last of my Travel Days articles, the last of them to the best of my knowledge, as I said before there are or may be a few others. Whatever, I am drawing a line under it. A note or two:

Computers: The PC Independent User Group were very helpful to me when I was a total neophyte. I wrote an article about them for New Computer Express but the magazine went bust before it could be published. Scroll to the bottom of the scan.

Demand for IT Products Increase: a rare signed article.

Pie In The Sky also reduced and included.

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