For anyone who's ever been a tourist, Counter-Tourism is an invitation to completely transform our experience of the heritage-tourism industry and its many sites (castles, National Trust properties, etc.). It provides a set of powerful lenses, designed to bend a whole world of conventional tourism into a spiral of new perspectives and experiences. Beneath those simple sounding stories in the Visitor Guide and behind the locked gates marked PRIVATE in heritage sites, there lies a multitude of inconvenient stories, hilarities, wonders, absurdities, extremes and entertaining outrages. When Counter-Tourism opens the doors, tourism becomes a funny, shocking, revealing, subversive and life-changing experience rather than a deferential procession through the unrevealing stately homes of Heritage plc. Counter-Tourism upsets the sanitising efforts of the heritage industry. Counter-tourism is also a journey of mini-pilgrimages, challenges and pleasures. It celebrates the multiplicities of meanings in every heritage venue and upsets all the heritage industry's attempts at meaning-control and homogenisation. With hundreds more tactics and images, philosophical diversions and asides, the Handbook is for anyone who wants to explore the ideas of counter-tourism in more depth. Part 2 of the Handbook has ideas on how to extend the tactics described in Part 1 into interventions that can be planned and performed in heritage sites. And Part 3 goes on to suggest open 'infiltrations' that can be used by artists, performers, radical tourists and even heritage site managers themselves to reinvent their own sites. Alongside this there's a photo-essay on using the tactics, and a full bibliography.
Crab Man (Phil Smith) has several backgrounds. One, large and wide, is in performance and music theatre [he has written more than 100 plays for companies including St Petersburg State Comedy Theatre, Opera North and Perpetual Motion, and he is dramaturg with TNT (Munich)]. From site-specific performances in South Devon beach huts, lidos, tea shops and other unconventional settings, to mis-guides in National Trust properties, to counter-tours and drifts in city streets, Crab Man has long practised what he preaches in these two books on Counter-Tourism. He is a visiting lecturer at the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth. He is being paid to do interesting things for the Culture Olympiad. With Signpost (Simon Persighetti) he is co-author of 'A Sardine Street Box of Tricks' - a handbook for anyone who wants to make their own 'mis-guided' tour or walk, which is also being used regularly by university drama departments . Singlehanded, he walked and wrote 'Mythogeography: A Guide to Walking Sideways', a book you can buy here and an entire socio-cultural bath you can immerse yourself in here. He is one of four core member of a group of artist-researchers called Wrights and Sites, who have generated a range of mis-guides, performances, possible cities and forests and other wonders.