I saw stars at the Rialto Reunion

In 1986-88 I worked at an ad agency called Rialto. The agency collateral said that the reason for the choice of name was inspired by the Rialto Bridge in Italy. I knew that wasn't the case - I'd worked for Roy Meares who was one of the two founders and had heard his story about how he was trying to think of a new name for an agency he and David Innes had been backed into by Hylton Mackley of Clemmenger. Driving through Newmarket he noted the old theatre Rialto and thought it would make great premises - certainly better than the bland, multi-level prefab that housed the host agency Whitaker Advertising. They didn't score the building but did manage to appropriate the name. And what a bloody good name it is. Or should I say, was.

20 years later the reunion for Rialto staff was organised by Elliot Smith. He was courier in the last gasping days of the company after it had been dealt savage knocks by clients who couldn't pay their bills after the stock market collapse in 87 and profligacy by management that enriched interior decorators but accomplished little.

It was interesting to meet the crew who showed up - many of whom I barely recognised. All were in good spirits. Happy to catch up and trade war stories and lies. Some were still in the business. Most were not. Real Estate had lured some. Retirement homes others. Some have become business owners and entrepreneurs. Others artists and performers. What a talented mob. It felt like i was meeting them for the first time. I guess they had shed and regenerated virtually every molecule in their bodies since we knew each other.

Some I'd like to stay in touch with, others well,…I'll see them at the next reunion…if there is one.

I enjoyed catching up with some of my favourite people, Barbie Cope, Roy Meares, Helen Medlyn, Scott Wooley…

Megan Taylor couldn't make it. I wish she could.


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