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Beach party

Beaches are giant blank spaces, washed clean every day, on to which all sorts of hopes are projected. But they do not transcend politics?in fact, they represent a third way between market and state

Along with football and cricket, railway travel and the public library, it is an enduring British innovation, still enjoyed every year by millions of people: the beach holiday.

Most of us carry a store of memories and hopes of beach life, from rockpools and sandcastles to romantic encounters walking along the silver sands on a desert island. Beaches are locations of childhood adventures from the Famous Five to Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series. Properties overlooking beaches are our preferred sites for retirement. Adolescents go to beaches to lose their virginity. Adults go to become children again.

What explains the beach’s…

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