Now I am painfully aware that the list of names I just threw out aren't exactly on my top ten list of acts to see - as easy as it might be to turn into a huge Arabian Gino here and wear white suits with giant brown sunglasses all day and night, I'm not there just yet. A quick walk through the CD section of one of the giant Virgin MegaStores here reveals the essence of mainstream musical tastes - racks and racks of dj and club compilations out of Ibiza and the UK, mid-tempo vocal house, high energy block rockin' club beats, and a reasonable sprinkling of American hip hop and r'n'b. Electro and d'n'b are virtually non-existent, and even artists I would consider mainstream electronic such as Underworld and The Chemical Brothers are slim pickings. Call it a symptom of the image-conscious and highly-consumerist mainstream culture - but the majority of music listeners are only interested in what is considered the latest and greatest, promoters and music stores are just following suit.
Something like 80% of the 1.6 million population of Dubai are expatriates, and of that less than half are from the west. That leaves a population of maybe 500,000 highly transient people to support the electronic music scene - barely enough to develop a subculture of any critical mass. So where do you go to get good music here? Fortunately I've already found the one and only vinyl shop in Dubai, called Ohm Records, it's only ten minutes walk from our apartment. Unlike Virgin, they carry a decent selection of electro breaks, techno, and hiphop, they also throw on some of the more interesting club nights including the Paul Van Dyke show tonight (with some interesting electro djs filling out the rest of the lineup).
There are a couple of decent clubs here that also double as venues for the big DJs that roll through town. Peppermint (locating in the Fairmont Hotel), Trilogy (see photo below of outdoor rooftop terrace), iBo, and The Apartment come to mind as the big players. In terms of the music, crowds, and vibe, the clubs are Ibiza in the middle east, just on a smaller scale. Although the venues may be great, for me at least it's about the music so you're more likely to catch me there on one of the one-off parties with a good name in from out of town rather than at the huge pure mega club anthem thursday night bashes.
"I am in a duel to death with this wallpaper. One of us has to go".
- Oscar Wilde
"They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist---".
- General John Sedgwick
(General Sedgwick was a corps commander of the Army of the Potomac who enjoyed a reputation among his men as a good-humoured guy and relentless optimist. At the Battle of the Wilderness, while other mean were diving for cover from Confederate sharpshooters, Sedgwick scoffed at the danger, stood up, and caught a bullet in the face.)
Like so many other things here, Ski Dubai is both impressive and just a little odd. It's the largest indoor ski hill in the world with two 400m runs and a whopping 90m of vertical drop. Don't ask me how they pay the air conditioning bill, but they actually keep the place at a balmy -2 degrees C all day and night and make their own snow. Sure it's no Whistler (shut it, Halliday), but considering this is the middle of the farking desert it's not all bad.
It costs 120 DHS (about $30 CDN) to ski or snowboard there and that includes all equipment and winter gear. I ran into a few other Canadians there today and of course we had all ditched the ski jacket and pants in favour of hoodies and shorts so we could soak up the oh-so-lovely "mountain air". A ride up the chairlift takes about three minutes and a run down, including a couple of jumps in the terrain park, takes about 45 seconds. Watch 45 seconds of Pure Adrenaline .
Sure it's not much, but considering the nearest proper mountain is in Cypress or Kenya I'll take what I can get.
- You pretty much need to drive everywhere
- Everyone drives like a lunatic here - the speed limit on the highway is 120km/h but even trucks in the slow lane go faster than that, no surprise there are so many accidents
- There is no such thing as a street address in the older parts of town - places are only relative to other places. To get to our appartment all you need to tell a cabbie is "Bur Dubai (the part of town we live in), Al Mashrabia (the name of our building), behind the new Spinny's (a grocery store)". If he still gives you a funny look, then just add "beside the Burjamon Centre".
- Some people don't believe you when you tell them that your building doesn't actually have a street address, just because they live in a poshy beachfront villa in Jumeirah ...
- Traffic is always bad, all day, all the time. There are over 1.5 million people in Dubai now and although the roads and highways here are even more manicured than they are in Switzerland, there's just too many cars on the road.
Although the United States is perfectly capable of launching air strikes on Iran, such a scenario could have a very negative effect on U.S. interests. The negative outcomes that are part of this policy may outweigh the positives. The negative outcomes involved in an attack were outlined by PINR on March 2: "The U.S. military is overburdened by the ongoing insurgency in Iraq, making a realistic ground invasion of Iran improbable. While strategic air strikes are certainly an option, it is unlikely that such strikes would destroy completely Iran's nuclear research program. Furthermore, an actual attack on its facilities would probably hasten Iran's drive toward nuclear weapons, similar to the effect that Israel's 1981 strike on the Osirak reactor in Iraq had on Baghdad." There is also the very real concern that an attack on Iran would cause it to exercise its levers of power in neighboring Iraq, using its power brokers to increase instability.
In addition to the above strategic costs, there are also economic repercussions. The price of oil currently stands at US$68 a barrel, and any instability introduced to the Middle East will raise this price substantially. The economies in oil dependent countries are already suffering from sustained high oil prices, and as the price of oil moves higher it will cause further damage to these economies. Even without an attack, any sanctions placed on Iran that include its energy industry will also cause an escalation of oil prices.
Read more at http://www.pinr.com