25 October 2011

Venice In Peril

Venice is always in peril and has been for centuries. I suspect many reading this will have been to Venice, one of the most amazing places on earth and a must for the romantics but with the ever-rising lagoon and some of the buildings suffering from their wooden piles disintegrating, it can only be a matter of time before there is a major flood or a collapsed building and serious damage happens.

I first visited Venice in 1982. I was lucky enough to attend an IBM Sales Convention there and despite the reservations about spending four days with your sales mates in a place not particularly known for its wild nightlife, it turned out to be an amazing trip, one which has remained with me all these years and one which drew me back to Venice several times over the following years.

The Lido with Venice in the background 
With the IBM trip being so long ago, some of my memories are hazy. How did we get to the Lido where we (all 500 of us) were staying in fancy hotels? Which fancy hotel did I stay in? Where was the convention centre where we had to attend various ‘business sessions’ so that IBM could claim the trip was a legitimate business expense? How did we get to and from the main part of Venice on the small ferry boats without anyone falling in the lagoon?

The one thing I did/do remember though was entering the convention centre on the first afternoon and hearing the most amazing atmospheric music. On stage was a small orchestra, the players dressed in Venetian period costumes, complete with masks and filling the vast hall with music which was totally in tune with the Venice we’ve all read about in books and seen in films. It was absolutely stunning – so stunning in fact that as soon as I returned to the UK, I went straight into my local music store and ordered the CD – Venice in Peril by Rondo Veneziano.

So why am I writing about this now?

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that now I am down in the ‘jungle’ slashing and burning, it would pass the time quicker if I had some music on my iPhone and so over a period of a couple of days I transferred my whole CD collection into iTunes and thereafter onto my iPad and my iPhone. It was only after I’d removed and copied all my CDs that I found a long lost CD lying without a cover at the back of the CD rack – yup – Rondo Veneziano’s Venice in Peril. I’ve been playing it ever since.

Now, I know that it will not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you had been walking into that convention hall on the Lido with a misty Venice a few miles across the lagoon looking like it had a limited lifespan, you too might have been affected like I was.

Not everything was quite so romantic on that trip I hasten to add. Apparently, the IBM ‘cash man’, a faceless, nameless guy who traveled with a case full of £250,000 cash in local currency to ‘sort out’ local difficulties was in demand all over Venice as group dinners went unpaid, bars were drunk dry and police fines were racked up at an alarming rate.

The supporting act at IBM’s gala dinner, his name shall not be revealed, (the main performer was Gloria Gaynor – ‘I Will Survive) who had been invited to a drink in our room was last seen coming out of the bathroom with white powder all over his nose, being chased by his wife and convinced that one of our sales guys was Marvin Hagler, the newly crowned World Middleweight Boxing Champion.

Fun days indeed.

If you wish to hear Rondo Veneziano, click on the link below.



Apartments for sale in Bibione said...

Congrats for this amazing experience, it was a good choice!

Tom Cupples said...

Thanks - I'm glad you enjoyed it. I noticed the link to the music didn't seem to work - hopefully I've fixed it.