|Chanel: settled the bill.|
The Venice Lido by Robin Saikia – review by Vera Rule – this article was published on guardian.co.uk at . A version appeared on p19 of the Guardian review section of the Guardian on .
A pocket-sized monograph, with mini-map, on the history of the great prototype beach resort, and so well brought off I expected sand to sift from its pages while I was reading. The evocation of the Lido in winter is especially sharp, that sense of it being (even considering the development thereon) still the wild walk of Venice with the Adriatic storm wrack fetching up along its shoreline. Excellent, if often dodgy, company is kept throughout: Byron of course (and Byron quiet at that, soberly asking that his grave should, like one in the Certosa cemetery, merely implore peace); Diaghilev being rowed to his burial, with the bill settled by Chanel; and many gallant and gay gondolieri-fanciers. Moreover Saikia can separate the didactic John Ruskin from the offduty Ruskin, who temporarily lost his little dog Wisie to the Lido waves, which returned the canine better and wiser. Smashing sections on the local intersection of early airplanes and futurism, and the invention of the film festival, almost casually, in 1932. All this and Cole Porter, too.