I've been thinking about holidays a lot recently, what with the time of year. I've always wanted to go to Italy. One of my all-time favourite books is The Talented Mr. Ripley (book is better than the film because Patricia Highsmith did not mangle the bloody ending, but the film is very well directed and shot and acted and still worth watching), and that whole book is a bit of a love letter to Italy.
Tom Ripley, the main character, avoids visiting Venice for most of the book because he doesn't want to be disappointed by it. When he eventually visits, he loves it and rents a house there.
So like all sensible people, I always wanted to see Venice. But then, as with so many things, The Guardian ruined it for me.
Venice's population is constantly dropping. The city has turned itself over to tourism so much that it's virtually impossible for people to get permission to build houses - as much land as possible is given over to hotels. The death rate outnumbers the birth rate 2 to 1, and there isn't even a cinema for the locals to use. Young Venetians cannot afford to live there.
That is not the portrait of a living city. That's a theme park.
And suddenly, going there seemed a lot less like something I want in my life. If I'm ever in the area, I'll pop in. But I feel uncomfortable about the idea of spending money in a city that venerates tourists above their own residents - that isn't a position I want to support.
Holiday planning gets a hell of a lot harder when you start trying to bring your politics into it. And if you read the Guardian, you might as well stay at home. . . :)