I brushed my teeth this morning as the Ligurian countryside flashed by. I am on a night train bound for France after two days in Florence. The night train does not compare with the luxury of the Grand Hotel, and the view of Liguria may not be as dreamy as the one I had of the Arno and the Ponte Vecchio, but as a method of travel it is marvellous. I got into my bunk at midnight and woke at 8am. That happens about once a year at home.
I was rather tired. The office party the night before was great fun. “Don’t get drunk,” my mother emailed to tell me just before I left my room to join the others in the bar. And for once I didn’t. We ate in a restaurant that doubles as a museum during the day. I was sitting opposite a fresco of Dante having a conversation with Boccaccio. After dinner we went to a nightclub. Yes, you did hear me right. I went to a nightclub. And there discovered another advantage of getting older. I never have to go to one again.
The music was loud (funny that) and that sort of house stuff I loathe. They played one song Tamsin (a colleague from The 7 Arts) and I could sing along to and we danced happily. But then it was back to the dreary deep thud of monotonous music I’m sure even young people don’t want to listen to. Wouldn’t they prefer some Abba? Or maybe some Banarama? I know I would. And most of the pretty young things looked bored out of their minds.
As far as I can make out the point of a nightclub is this. If you’re a girl you show up wearing as little as possible and dance nonchalantly hoping one of the boys will come and pick you up and take you away from this meat market. If you’re a boy, you stand around posing and drinking and assessing the talent. I guess for women the ultimate aim is to be picked up by someone who marries you, thus making another visit unnecessary.
As we walked back to the hotel through the streets of Florence in the early hours of the morning I couldn’t help wondering if nightclubs had been around in Dante’s day the Inferno would have been even scarier.
Before I get to Nice, I must just tell you the best line of the trip. Ben, my boss, was looking up at the statue of David (the real one in the Accademia) when he said “Jeez, look at the size of him. Imagine how big Goliath must have been.”
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007