Charlie, you have hijacked my embryonic new thread!
I must nit-pick that Wanderlust is the best travel magazine. I find it merely the best readily available travel magazine. It is rather too safe and lacks edge, being obsessed with malaria, Gore-Tex and how to cope with missing wash basin plugs. I shall whinge no further.
Holidays for me are usually focused around music, horse riding and natural history. Iâ€™ve enjoyed Cajun, Zydeco, and Jazz in Louisiana and blues in Clarksdale and Yazoo. Hip-Hop in Paris and Kwaito in Soweto take some beating. Mongolia and Vietnam were enchanting. Costa Rica was a disappointment. I missed out on resplendent quetzals and the music was unremitting Bob Marley.
I hate to see someone's feedback topic die a death (I know how it feels) so here is my rather belated response.
I'm going to opt for even closer than Liverpool, Jayne, and suggest good old, wet and world-weary London. To quote red shoed Dorothy - there's no place like home.
If anyone can tell me any other city of the world where you can see and hear such a diversity of music any day of the week or year, then please do, and I'll make it my next holiday destination.
As Richard Herring pointed out in Time Out a couple of weeks ago, even New York can't measure up to the breadth of entertainment of all kinds that our bedraggled capital still has to offer. The Time Out guide to New York is a flimsy pamphlet compared to the jam-packed London Addition.
Obviously familiarity can breed contempt and we sometimes have to be somewhere else in order to be seduced by particular styles of music.
But music has seemed to me to be more accidentally stumbled across rather than sought out, when I've been in foreign climes:
The weird Think Of One/Dead Brothers-style huddle of musicians with their badly battered trumpet and huge bass drum, trying not to freeze to death outside Centraal Station in Amsterdam.
In Aswan, some old gentlemen with leather for skin, jamming on the deck of a moored but gently rocking Falouka.
A generic gospel choir in their Sunday best, strolling with attitude around the tables of a tourist trap-of-a-joint in Harlem, singing their hearts out, while we ate our breakfast of grits and collared greens.
The too laid-back sounds of a West Coast Jazz festival in San Francisco. Heard whilst passing it, rather than going to it, I hasten to add.
Or in Barcelona, seeking out a distant sound of flamenco guitar and making several wrong turns down impossibly narrow streets before finally finding one's self in the sun-filled square where the guy is intently strumming away.
This is, of course, in some ways the best way to hear music. To have it sprung on you or to be guided by it's sound to it's source. But sometimes we Londoners just want to purchase our tickets and know what we are getting.
My wife and I, having booked a trip to Marrakech for next year, were surprised to read that although the city is full of music there is, paradoxically, no real venue for music. It comes down to the fact that music is just part of life there rather than something special to make a point of going to.
So once again it's going to be down to luck as to whether we hear anything great or not. I can't wait!
I agree with your comments about Marrakech. It's also very true what you say about London, although things aren't that easy when one lives south of the river.
It only takes me about 30 minutes to get to Ashford to catch the Eurostar, therefore weekend breaks in France are a cinch. The myriad music scene in Paris is a never failing joy, and browsing in FNAC for a couple of hours gives me a greater hit than a Harvey Nick's sale - and does more damage. I have often noticed that albums I have coveted have been released in France earlier than here, including those of Bob Dylan, for heaven's sake. So much for our special relationship with the USA!
Does anyone know if FNAC introduced its "Music du Monde" section before 1986? It is sans pareil.