NON SEQUITUR VENICE OBSERVATION

29 Sep

In the evening, a band plays at the famous Florian café on the edge of Piazza San Marco. The efforts of these musicians are entirely for the benefit of the most clueless tourists nowadays since nobody right of mind or slim of wallet would actually eat in such a tourist trap. These tourists seem perversely thrilled that instead of playing anything that might lay down memories of a distinctively Italian or Venetian experience, or something that might evoke the Renaissance surroundings, the band instead plays from a cognitively and geographically dissonant, pandering repertoire.

New Yorkers in the audience got New York, New York. The Germans- with more than a hint of Basil Fawltyish “don’t mention the war” passive aggression, I thought- got a medley from ‘The Sound of Music’ which might have Julie Andrews, nuns and kiddies in it but is still best remembered for being about Nazis and is therefore probably not a cultural artefact that’s looked upon with great fondness by modern Germans, if they’ve even seen it.

Of course all the other tourist traps in the area compete to mop up the excess money of naïve and undiscerning visitors by hosting their own bands. The best thing (indeed, the only tolerable thing) to do is stand in the middle of the square when they’re all playing at once so you get a free atonal Schoenberg concert. Then move on swiftly before some hawker tries to make you buy a copy of a Vuitton handbag.

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