I call it Destination Reading: those writers and columnists who you seek out in certain publications on certain days outside of your regular newspaper consumption.
I’m thinking of Jeremy Clarke in The Spectator on a Thursday, Rebecca Tyrell in The Indy on a Monday, and yes, even Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times on a … err … Sunday.
Paddy Burt’s Daily Telegraph column on the back of the Travel section was another. Faced with an overwhelming heap of newsprint, I’d still seek it out because I enjoyed her reflections on hotels up and down the country. It took me to that section and therefore exposed me to the advertisements therein, so I guess we can say that it did its job.
But no more. Paddy has departed (or has been dumped) and we now have an irregular cast doing a similar shift. Week One post-Paddy was a chap called Michael Rowley reviewing a pub in Yorkshire; Week Two was Clare Ferrier in a B&B on the Romney Marshes. And there’s the problem.
A hotel or restaurant review column requires, above all, consistency. The same standards need to apply week after week, otherwise how can sensible comparisons be made?
Ask yourself, do you pay any attention to the Style magazine restaurant review if ‘AA Gill is away’? Of course not.
Joe Bloggs might have different standards to Jane Doe. Therefore the opinions now offered up in Saturday’s Telegraph are largely useless.