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20 January 2007

John McCarthy finds out that there is more to wrestling than pictures of Giant Haystack or Mick McManus, on Saturday afternoon TV with its pin falls, half Nelsons and tag teams.  Nowadays it’s got added razzmatazz on satellite TV channels and cheerleaders giving the likes of Mr T and Hulk Hogan international show-biz status. 

Real wrestling aficionado Marcus Trower has journeyed to various parts of the world to seek out the ancient sport in its many different guises.

Sean Dodson is a travel columnist for the Guardian.  Simon Brooke is a journalist and travel writer who has started a website offering mp3 travel guides and Mark Smith is a civil servant who created and runs a website devoted to making rail travel around Europe, and beyond, easier. 

They discuss what impact the internet has had on the way we travel, from how we make the arrangements to the destinations we choose.

Presented by John McCarthy

The last wrestlers (courtesy of Marcus Trower)

Photo: The Last Wrestlers (courtesy of Marcus Trower)

This week's guests:

Marcus Trower was already involved in Judo and Thai boxing and generally interested in Martial arts when in a second hand book shop, he saw a book from 1934 by E J Harrison simply called Wrestling.  In it the author extolled the virtues of wrestling or grappling and Marcus was hooked.

Realising that the sport was in decline and Marcus started to wrestle.   His interest made him wonder if there was a spiritual aspect to the sport. Marcus started his search to find out how popular the sport still is around the world.

He has recounted his journey to India, Mongolia, Nigeria and Brazil in a book entitled The Last Wrestlers - a far flung journey in search of a manly art.

The Last Wrestlers - a far flung journey in search of a manly art
Publisher: Ebury Press
ISBN-10: 0091910676
ISBN-13: 978-0091910679

From Wrestling: Catch-as-Catch-Can, Cumberland & Westmorland, & All-in Styles
E.J. Harrison
published under the auspices of W. (Billy) Wood, London, W. Foulsham and Co. Ltd., 1928

Sean Dodson is a travel columnist for the Guardian and has been observing, both as a journalist and as a traveller the internet’s increasing influence on the way we plan and organise journeys at home and abroad.

Article: The sites that changed our world
Sean Dodson maps out the net's most innovative and best loved travel websites
Published in The Guardian, 26 August 2006

Mark Smith is The Man In Seat 61 who runs a website devoted to rail travel around Europe and beyond. Many years ago Mark was a station manager in London. He later worked as customer relations manager for two UK train companies. Nowadays Mark is a civil servant dealing with the regulation of fares and ticketing on Britain's railways and he runs his website on a part time basis.

Mark started his website in 2001 when while travelling on a train he devised a way to make the planning and booking of a rail journey simpler and more effective. It outlines, amongst other things, the options available on routes, the facilities on the trains and at the stations, the cost of the tickets and where to buy them. 

Simon Brooke is an award winning journalist and travel writer.  Two years ago during a city break in Seville, Simon got annoyed with trying to find where he was on the map, reading the descriptions of sites of interest in the guide book and then looking up to try to spot them, while at the same time attempting to avoid walking into other people.

It then occurred to him that it would be much easier if he could listen to the descriptions of the buildings and follow a route that had already been planned – something similar to the audio guides available in art galleries, palaces and churches.   So a project took shape and Simon started to research and write.  He has now produced a series of spoken guides, to some of the world's great cities, that people can download on to their MP3players.


Additional information:

Birdwatching tours in Mongolia

Climate Care

Travel blogs: 

Travel Blog

Where are you now?

Thelma & Louise club

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Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info

John McCarthy John McCarthy is a widely travelled journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the Middle East.
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