Hanging out with Scarlett Johansson on Venice Lido

Share
Related Topics

No matter how many times you do it, arriving in Venice is the most fabulous travel experience in the world. Getting off the plane and hopping onto a water taxi to be whisked up the Grand Canal to your hotel is to undergo a sensory rehabilitation like no other. I was there with an old artist friend who lives in Newfoundland and is curiously representing the island at this year's Biennale.

I had never been to the Biennale before and was blissfully ignorant of what awaited us. It seemed that all the hipsters in Europe had left their Berlin lofts and descended upon the water city with their tight red jeans and tiny moustaches. The big boys of the artistic world have their own pavilions in the Giardini, a park at the end of the main island. We did a lightning tour of most of them – Canada (dark), Denmark (dull), Great Britain (arse), Russia … well, we loved Russia. We entered the pavilion and stood around a bucket full of gold coins that could be lifted up through a hole cut in the ceiling. There they were placed on to a conveyor belt, taken up to the ceiling and dropped on to the people next door. They were given umbrellas to protect themselves from the coins, asked to collect them and bring them back to the bucket to continue the process. I grabbed an umbrella and tried to take part but was refused entry as inexplicably it was for women only.

I wandered into another room to see if I could get some information but it only contained a man in a Prada suit astride a saddle on a beam high in the ceiling. We howled with laughter as we exited the pavilion past a small group of hipsters holding an impromptu pro-gay, anti-Russia demonstration. All the best art is theatre.

We left the Giardini and strolled around town visiting exhibitions belonging to countries not deemed important enough to have their own permanent pavilions. My personal favourite was the entry from the United Arab Emirates that simulated standing on the deck of a boat at night in the middle of an ocean. I'm not quite sure if the UAE had thought this through since you do this every time you travel in Venice after 7pm, but maybe that was the idea.

Overdosed on art, we took a boat to the Lido and popped in to the Venice Film Festival. We couldn't fail to know that this was on: anybody remotely connected to the event swanned around Venice proudly sporting their laminates and press passes around their necks. One woman was even wearing hers on the plane home. Get over yourself...

We arrived in time to spot Scarlett Johansson make her entrance at the premiere of her new movie – Under the Skin. We blagged two tickets and found ourselves watching a very dark, art film about an alien serial killer driving around a very gloomy Scotland.

I really enjoyed it, but admit to feeling a touch depressed afterwards. The following day we read the reviews in the British papers. Some gave it five stars, others called it the worst film ever made. Like everything else in Venice at the moment, it's a toss-up between junk and genius.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The bustling Accident & Emergency ward at Milton Keynes Hospital  

The NHS needs the courage to adapt and survive

Nigel Edwards
 

Letter from the Sub-Editor: Canada is seen as a peaceful nation, but violent crime isn’t as rare as you might think

Jeffrey Simpson
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?