Friday 26 June 2009

Working class lunch, Aristocratic dinner.

It was a somewhat surreal meeting with Italian Bankers; in the flat once lived in by Roberto Caldi (the head of the bank murdered by the mafia on Blackfriars Bridge). And they tell me that when the news of his murder came through, his loyal Secretary committed suicide by throwing herself out of the window of said Flat. I have told my loyal PA, Alison, she is not required to do the same if I were to fall under a bus! And the meeting culminated with a fabulous dinner in one of Milan's top fish restaurants. We worked out our collective plans to develop sector leaders.

This morning I was at " Vita" the Italian third sector weekly magazine. Its a pretty big operation - 15 journalists alone, but also major web, consultancy and publishing. All run by a non-profit foundation so very much grounded in our sector. And the difference with the UK scene does not end there. They cover European and International news as a matter of course. Our own journals appear deeply uninterested in anything that happens beyond the white Cliffs of Dover. I think that does a grave disservice to the sector as it encourages insular approaches and deters learning.

I do an interview and we are taken to an old working class bowls club for lunch. There used to be many such clubs in Milan - strong links with The Party obviously - but they are dying out! So we enjoy pasta and wine in a shady courtyard and talk of politics and philosophy and the state of our non-profits.

Now tonight I'm off to a rather cool dinner and party with my Director and the Contessa Adelina Von Furstenberg. An interesting person - she is the founder and Director of Art for the World, an organisation which promotes human rights through the arts. And she will be whisking me off to Venice tomorrow for further meetings and an introduction to the Alliance of Civilisations; a UN project much favoured by Obama.

No comments: