Friday, September 26, 2008

Weekend video

The day of rest, bags packed for the Etihad 'red-eye' overnight to Munich. The call to midday prayers sounded as I was waiting for a taxi in baking 37 degrees but with no humidity to fog up the glasses; that's how I like the Sandlands to be.

I am inordinately pleased that it turns out I can stay professionally active both in the UAE and in Europe. The potential here remains intoxicating, in spite of the inevitable mafi mushkala which precedes each shamelessly broken promise, in spite of the bukhara insh'allah which heralds the inevitable wearying and protracted delay.

Now for the video for the weekend... highly relevant to my mission here. It's extracted from the television show Studio El Fan, from the 2002 series produced in Cairo. 'El Fan' has nothing to do with screaming enthusiasts; the term implies entertaining artistry. Since the early 1970s Studio El Fan has been the incubator of many of the biggest musical stars in the Middle East, including Elissa shown in the excerpt below, this was Pop Academy years before casting shows became all the rage.

Edition 2009 will be quite spectacular, insh'allah, a pan-Arabic year-long season of weekly variety shows and daily 'back stage' reportage à la Big Brother. It will be awesomely cross-platform and media 2.0 and is to be produced in a purpose-built dedicated facility in the hills just north of Beirut overlooking the Mediterranean.

Ambitious? Yup. But only marginally improbable when one takes into account Sandlands excesses such as the newly opened Atlantis on the Jumeirah Palm, about which both the Times and the Daily Mail waxed eloquently gobsmacked during the past week.

I do go on... But à propos the Times. I read in yesterday's locally printed edition a review of the new book by Ian Rankin, noting it as a 'must buy'. To my delight it was already on sale at Books Corner in Abu Dhabi Mall. So on the plane my companion will be Rankin, if not Rebus.

New tales told by my favourite three Scottish thriller writers in a single month... nice!

Bon weekend!

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