The Curmudgeon


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Venice in Death

Venice is pointing the way for European culture in the twenty-first century. St Tony's chum in Rome is no longer interested in paying for the city's upkeep, so the city council has authorised corporations to advertise on the awnings used to cover the scaffolding on buildings that are being restored. As a result, the Bridge of Sighs has been mostly obscured by a Coca-Cola billboard and, in case the message wasn't clear enough, the authorities are now going to allow the advertisements to be illuminated at night. "No company sponsoring a concert would get its jingles played in the middle of a Mozart symphony," said a conservationist; although it certainly cannot be long before such jingles are considered classics in their own right, as in the film Demolition Man. In a year or two, if it hasn't happened already, someone will argue in all seriousness that Venice should simply be allowed to crumble into the sea, since the profits to be made from copyrighted images will far exceed the viability of continued preservation.

The city of Florence has taken a less radical stance. When the council allowed a supermarket chain to advertise on the Ponte Vecchio, the public - that eternal, reactionary obstruction to commercial Utopia - forced a reversal.

As for broken Britain, it is fortunate that our own history consists almost entirely of kings and queens and the Second World War. If St Tony, the London Haystack or Michael Gove had any idea of the historical significance of public buildings, faith schools would be hawking their wares from Westminster Abbey and Ronald Macdonald would be grinning from the dome of St Paul's Cathedral.


  • At 7:56 pm , Anonymous Madame X said...

    Having just seen an exhibit of 18th Century French art, I can tell you that bad economic policies always lead to a tacky cultural record.


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