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Life in the Emirates by The Establishment

Just stumbled into this video a short while ago. Life in the Emirates by The Establishment (featuring Michael Kiely and Patrick Brady) is an ode to the United Arab Emirates from an expats point of view. I love that "TheBoracayboy" has put together this video using (what I assume) are his photos from his time in the United Arab Emirates in the late 1970s. 

This song is a warm tribute to life in the United Arab Emirates. The song was written and recorded in 1979 by two Irish men Patrick Terence Brady and Michael Kiely and was immediately a popular hit. It has been played many, many times by Capitol Radio in Abu Dhabi and by Radio in Dubai and been sung in numerous hotels throughout the U.A.E.. The song is the most famous song in English about this country.

"LIFE IN THE EMIRATES" is a sincere yet light hearted song of praise to this wonderful country. The words speak for themselves. via Patrick Brady

I'd love to get my hands on the record - the artwork on it is too adorable. 

This one goes out to all my friends that have made the United Arab Emirates their home.  


It's tough in the gulf when the ACs not working
and the desert is burning in the hot noon day sun
But I've learnt how to cope take the smooth with the rough
Cos like every expat I'm a long way from home

"Ahlan Wa Marhaba" to "Life in the Emirates"
Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman.
They’re the places I love and the places I won’t forget
Sharjah, Fujeirah and Um el Qwuain"

Well I miss my sweet wife and I miss my dear children
Sometimes I feel like it's breaking my heart
And I'll never get used to having Sunday on Friday
But I know I'll feel sorry when it's time to depart

"Ahlan Wa Marhaba" to "Life in the Emirates"
Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman.
They’re the places I love and the places I won’t forget
Sharjah, Fujeirah and Um el Qwuain"

I work hard for my dirhams and I try hard to save them
but at the end of each day I am worked to the bone
but the friends I have made here will be my friends forever
ulkrack? inshallah I am never alone

"Ahlan Wa Marhaba" to "Life in the Emirates"
Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman.
They’re the places I love and the places I won’t forget
Sharjah, Fujeirah and Um el Qwuain"

"Ahlan Wa Marhaba" to "Life in the Emirates"
Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman.
They’re the places I love and the places I won’t forget
Sharjah, Fujeirah and Um el Qwuain"


You can order this song via Patrick Brady's website.  


(via S*uce


UAE National Day 2011

© Hind Mezaina

Another year, another milestone - the United Arab Emirates turns 40 today.

The country has been in a festive mood for the past month or so. We do have a lot to feel proud of, the achievment cannot be underestimated. But by turning 40, I hope the country takes stock of what we've achieved so far and strives to be better and stronger. 

The past 10 years felt like the country went through a pre-mature mid-life crisis, so for the next 10 years and before turning 50, I hope we don't have to through a second phase of this crisis. I hope our pace into development will be more of a qualitative nature, specifically when it comes to the health, education and enviroment sectors. We've always been dreaming big and hope we continue to dream big. But let the dreams be about quality of life for everyone living on this land. 

Dear UAE, I hope by the time you turn 50, you grow with grace and be the wise and mature nation I always want you to be. 

I leave you with this video that takes you on a journey across the United Arab Emirates. "7 Emirates in 7 Minutes" includes 15,000 pictures taken in roughly 100 hours and a 2,500-km drive around the country. 

Happy National Day! 



(video via Gulf News





My Top 20 Picks for Dubai International Film Festival 2011

The 8th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival starts on 7th December and will end on 14th December. The theme this year is "Films that lead you to the unexpected" - and the line up looks very good. I think they've really stepped up their game this year.

The festival's opening film is Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocal which features our very own Burj Khalifa. But besides a few Hollywood titles, the festival incudes a great selection of films and documentaries from the Middle East, Europe, India, Asia, Africa and South America. There's even a silent film in the mix. Hurrah! 

So without much further ado, here's my top 20. Let me know if you have a list and see you at the festival front row and centre.


Boiling Dreams

In a tiny Moroccan village, a young father of two plans his illegal crossing into Spain. He assures his wife that he will telephone her three days after his departure, to confirm his safe arrival in Spain. However, the call never comes.  Schedule and ticket information.



Come Rain, Come Shine

Whilst driving to the airport one day, a young woman tells her husband that she wants to leave him for another man. The husband responds with muted acknowledgement and drives on. On the day she is to move out, a massive storm strikes and forces the couple to spend another day together. A lot can happen in one day, as their soon to be new reality sinks in. Schedule and ticket information.



The 81-year-old Bastu is trying to find a new purpose to her life since her husband’s death. With only her granddaughter for company, the film (set in a real village) explores, with wonderful magical realism, the depths of the octogenarian’s vivid imagination, looking at human relations and the co-existence of extremes - life and death, dreams and reality, tradition and modernity – and the spirit of her dead husband who keeps popping up. Schedule and ticket information.



Noora is a young lawyer in Tehran, recently disbarred for participating in activist campaigns against the government. She is also pregnant and alone. Her husband has been exiled to work in the desert, as punishment for his actions as a political journalist. Unsurprisingly, she is in desperate pursuit of a visa to leave her country and navigates through the male chauvinistic hallways of Iranian bureaucracy, nearly impenetrable for a woman with an absent husband. But she persists, for all she wants is her freedom. Schedule and ticket information.



“Habibi,” a story of forbidden love, is the first fiction feature set in Gaza in over 15 years. The film is a modern re-telling of the legendary tragic romance ‘Majnun Layla’, which was set in seventh century Arabia, when a poet named Qays fell in love with Layla. Driven by the intensity of his passion, Qays was known as ‘Majnun Layla’, which translates as ‘madman for Layla’. In the contemporary setting, two students in the West Bank are forced to return home to Gaza, where their love defies tradition. To reach his lover, Qays graffiti’s poetry across town. Schedule and ticket information.


Here We Drown Algerians


In response to the call of the Front de Libération Nationale (National Liberation Front), thousands of Algerians from Paris and its suburbs, march on October 17, 1961 to protest against the curfew imposed on them. Fifty years later, the filmmaker sheds light on the events of the day. Blending testimony and unseen archive footage, history and memory, past and present, the film presents the different stages of the day and reveals the strategy and methods applied at the highest level of the French state: manipulation of public opinion, the systematic challenge of every accusation, the censoring of information in order to prevent investigation. Schedule and ticket information.


“Inni” is Sigur Rós’s second live film following the hugely-celebrated 2007 “Heima”. Whereas that film positioned the enigmatic group in the context of their Icelandic homeland, providing perspectives on their “other-worldly” music, “Inni” focuses purely on the band’s performance, which is artfully and intimately captured by French-Canadian director Vincent Morisset (“Arcade Fire’s Miroir Noir”). Interweaving archive material from the band’s first 10 years with the sometimes gossamer light, sometimes punishingly intense, concert footage, “Inni” is a persuasive account of one of the most celebrated and influential rock bands of recent years. Schedule and ticket information.


Into the Abyss

Werner Herzog uses a triple homicide that took place in Texas, as a springboard to explore capital punishment in this thought-provoking documentary. In late 2001, Texas teens Jason Burkett and Michael Perry were arrested for murders related to a car theft gone horribly awry. Ten years later, Perry sits on death row awaiting execution, and Burkett languishes in prison with a life sentence. Interviewing the families of victims and perpetrators, locals and those convicted of the crime, including Perry on death row eight days before his execution, Herzog travels from luxury to poverty, dispassion to deep emotion, revealing an American gothic landscape that both reveals yet denies any easy explanation. Schedule and ticket information.


Las Acacias

An unexpected road trip on the highway between Asuncion, Paraguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ruben, a lonely truck driver who is a regular on the route, finds himself responsible for transporting a countrywoman, Jacinta, and her 5-month-old daughter, Anahi. With a long stretch of 1,500 kilometres ahead, the journey starts off on a uncomfortable note, but gradually softens as their relationship delicately evolves along the way. Schedule and ticket information.


Le Havre

Suffused with warm humanism, nods to French classic cinema and odd moments of surrealism and irony, the film has Marcel Marx, a former author and well-known Bohemian, in voluntary exile in the port city of Le Havre, where he works as a shoe-shiner. Marcel is content with his life: work, wife and social hours at his favourite bar. All is well until an underage African refugee crosses his path. With his wife now fighting a debilitating illness, Marcel must, against all odds, rescue the young refugee from a dogged detective and police dragnet closing in on him.   Schedule and ticket information


The Light In Her Eyes

Using Islam as a catalyst for change, Houda Al-Habash encourages women and girls to challenge tradition to pursure higher education and jobs. Filmmakers Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix spent a summer at Houda's Qur'an school in Damascus, Syria, follwing the studies and daily lives of the great diversity of students that attend courses at the mosque. Their compelling film reveals how Houda has transformed her mosque into the center of an inspiring social network, and why women are turning to (their interpretation of) Islam in a rapidly changing world. Schedule and ticket information.


The Mexican Suitcase

Three long lost suitcases that went missing in Europe at the start of the Second World War are found in a wardrobe in Mexico City in 2007. In them, were 4,500 negatives of images shot by Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and David ‘Chim’ Seymour, friends, photographers and die-hard anti-fascists, who had left their respective homelands and together travelled to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War. This fascinating film uses the find to illuminate and add to the history of the War with archive footage, memories of survivors and refugees and the contemporary search for mass graves. Schedule and ticket information.


Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

A typical police procedure, in the hands of Nuri Bilge Ceylan, takes on an atypical and unpredictable course. A murder followed by a confession. The murderer leads an overnight search party to the corpse. As the group traverses through the stark countryside, the killer fails to locate the burial spot. Through the seemingly insignificant conversations, clues are served for an audience willing to play sleuth. Once Upon A Time in Anatolia features a grand climax, an eerily beautiful lanscape and Ceylan’s signature exploration of the human condition. Schedule and ticket information.


Otelo Burning

A rare township swimming pool on the Kwazulu-Natal coast of South Africa survived the violence of apartheid, creating a unique opportunity for township boys to learn to swim, taste freedom and escape the misery of their lives. Inspired by this, and set against the backdrop of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, the powerful story of Otelo Buthelezi and his friends dives into hope, betrayal and jealousy, and the huge potential for change, which their ability to surf might bring. Schedule and ticket information.


Pandora's Box

"Pandora's Box" premiered in Berlin on February 9, 1929. Largely ignored at the time, it was only recognized after the 1950s, due to the efforts of the Cinémathèque Francaise and George Eastman House. But no original negative nor original print is known to exist, only inferior duplications. The only way to even attempt to restore the original beauty of Georg Pabst’s images was by applying digital tools to the project from which new 35 mm preservation negatives, prints and digital material have been created. See it now in all its pristine beauty as restored by Martin Koerber of the Deutsche Kinemathek. Schedule and ticket information.


Planet of Snail

Young-Chan has been deaf and blind since childhood. His participation in the world is limited until he meets Soon-Ho who, like him, has a physical disability. They wed and he learns to communicate with the outside world through her. "Planet of a Snail" tenderly follows the couple and we see them replacing a lamp together, receiving friends, working on a theatre piece, reading a book, and gliding down a mountain on a sleigh. These everyday scenes are accompanied by a poetic voice-over by Young-Chan, in which he reflects on his existence without sight and hearing. Schedule and ticket information.


A Simple Life

“A Simple Life” is based on real people and events. Chung Chun Tao, or Ah Tao, was born in Taishan, China. Her foster-father died during the Japanese Occupation and her foster-mother sent her to work as a servant for the Leung family where she served four generations over the course of 60 years. Now, with her health failing, it is time for Ah Tao to be cared for. Schedule and ticket information.


Surviving Progress

Ronald Wright’s bestseller “A Short History of Progress” inspired this cinematic investigation of progress as, well progress or a series of pivotal big mistakes? Some of the world's foremost thinkers, activists, financiers and scientists challenge us to overcome “progress traps”, which destroyed past civilizations and lie treacherously embedded in our own, proving the adage that"every time history repeats itself the price goes up". Schedule and ticket information.


Turtles Don't Die of Old Age

Three octogenarians – Chehma, a master fisherman; Erradi, a solitary innkeeper; and Abdesslam, a street musician – still work to earn a living. Driven by a desire to continue living to the best of their ability despite being in their twilight years, this documentary addresses the universal themes of life and old age, and describes a simple way of life that is perhaps dying with this generation of Moroccans. Filmmakers Hind Benchekroun and Sami Mermer have combined stunning cinematography with a narrative anchored in the everyday details of these inspirational men, coating their film with tenderness and poignancy. Schedule and ticket information.


Under Snow

In the Japanese region of Echigo, the local population lives with heavy snowfall six months in a year. They have developed their own customs of everyday life, festivals and religious rituals. In a wonderfully poetic way director Ulrike Ottinger leads us into the reality of the snowy landscape with its beauty and austere living conditions, following the mythical tracks of the “gods of paths and roads” and mountain spirits, and places us within the fairytale world of a beautiful fox and her lover. Schedule and ticket information.


(All movie descriptions via



Ang Lee Film Festival at DUCTAC


DUCTAC is hosting a festival dedicated to Ang Lee from 3rd-5th December. Don't expect to watch Brokeback Mountain, but the festival will include Ang Lee's legendary New York University graduate school thesis work Fine Line. I hope this is a start of special mini festivals that deal with retrospectives of certain film directors and genres.

If you've not been to DUCTAC, I suggest you use this as an opportunity to go. I couldn't ask for a better venue to host this festival, the Centrepoint Theatre at DUCTAC is the only proper theatre in this town and it's quite charming.


Screening schedule:

3rd December at 7pm  - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Li Mu Bai’s mission to recover a magical sword that has suddenly disappeared is made all the more difficult by his love for Yu Shu Lien. Set in the final glorious years of the Qing dynasty, the film features blistering martial arts scenes, remarkable acting and breathtaking visuals.

Winner of 80 awards, including the Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Director and the Academy Award and BAFTA for Best Original Score. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director.

December 4th December at 6pm - Sense and Sensibility (1995) 

This wonderful adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel follows the Dashwood family, who are almost penniless after the death of their patriarch, and the romantic fortunes of sisters Elenor and Marianne as they support one another through death, hardship and heartbreak.

Winner of the BAFTA Awards for Best Film, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress and Golden Globes for Best Film – Drama and Best Screenplay. Nominated for seven Academy awards, including Best Picture.


4th December at 8.30 pm - Fine Line (1984)
Lee’s 1984 graduation thesis film draws on his Taiwanese Heritage in its portrayal of migrant Americans in New York’s Chinatown and Little Italy. This 43 minute film about a Chinese-American girl and an Italian-American boy won The New York Film Academy’s awards for Best Film and Best Director.


5th December - Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)

Mr. Chu, the greatest living chef in Taipei, has struggled with his three grown and rebellious daughters since his wife died years ago. When nagging widow Mrs Liang moves in next door, everyone wonders if she could be suitable for Mr. Chu; but then pregnancy, separation, death and true love all come along.

Nominated for the Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and for Best Director and Best Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards.Winner of Best Film at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival and Best Foreign Film at the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards



Event details
Date: 3rd-5th December 2011
Venue: Centrepoint Theatre at DUCTAC in Mall of the Emirates (location map
Phone: +971 4 341 4777 
Free entry
For Ages 16+ (except 5th December, 18+)


[image of Ang Lee via musicloversblogspotcom]


Review: Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2011


A bit of an overdue review, but here it is.

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival ran for 10 days in October, it brought us more than 150 films - short and full features, documentaries and special programs. The one major change at this year's festival was the venue of the official host hotel and headquarters, it moved from the Emirates Palace Hotel to the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr with its new open-air cinema. I didn't get a chance to check it out because it was almost half an hour drive away from the other locations that screened the majority of the films - the charming but underused Abu Dhabi Theatre and the very ordinary VOX Cinemas in Marina Mall (sadly, one of the most unpleasant malls I've been to).

I had a great marathon session of movie watching and glad to say there wasn't anything that I disliked from my list. I skipped the short films because of time and I avoided all films/documentaries related to the Arab Spring. The stories are still being told and I think it's too soon to objectively reflect about what's happening.

So here's a rundown.

Documentaries -  One thing I find the Abu Dhabi Festival do well is their selection of documentaires. The ones that stood out for me this year include:

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 is about a collection of rare 16mm footage that was recently discovered in the basement of a Swedish television station. The archival footage was recorded by a group of Swedish journalists who followed the Black Power movement in the USA from 1967 to 1975. Co-produced by Danny Glover and directed by Göran Hugo Olsson, it is very thought provoking and left me thinking about what has changed and what has remained the same.

The Tiniest Place by Tatiana Huezo is a very emotional documentary about Cinquera, a small village in El Salvador and the trauma endured by its inhabitants during the civil war. We silently follow the day to day lives of its survivors on screen, but we hear them narrating their stories, their thoughts and feel the emotional and psychological damage that's taken place.

The City Dark, a documentary about light pollution and the disappearance of the night. We follows its filmmaker Ian Cheney, who moves to New York City and discovers the sky is almost completely devoid of stars. It's a lovely visual essay with some great astrophotography. The film questions what is lost when we because of light pollution and explores our relationship with the stars. It includes interviews with some very interesting (and quirky) characters in the field of astronomy, astophysics, biology and cancer research.

Project Nim, was the one I was looking forward to the most because I've been reading abut how great it is for months. I was not disappointed, how could I, its made by the same team behind  Man on Wire, which is one of my favourite documentaries. In Project Nim, James Marsh again brilliantly crafts a documentray with touching inerviews and amazing archival footage. Nim, a chimpanzee who was taken away from birth and was raised like a human child, part of a research project by Professor Herbet Terrace to study animal language acquisition. We see Nim grow, the impact he has on the lives of the people that take care of him and of the research project itself. The film really made me reflect on human behaviour which on many occasions is dark and frgtening.

El Gusto, the darling of this year's festival is a music documentary by Safinez Bousbia. Described as the Arab version of "Buena Vista Social Club", El Gusto is a nostalgic look at the origins of Chaabi music in Algeria and the men behind it. Bousbia started working on this from 2004 when a chance meeting led her on a mission to track down the key musicians from this period. It's beautifully filmed with very endearing personalities and storytellers. It's a reminder of a time long gone, when life in the Casbah inhabited by both Muslims and Jews was lively, bohemian and joyful. All that changed after the War of Independence in 1954. The film climaxes with an emotional reunion of the surviving members who all play again for the first time after five decades. The film received a standing ovation at both screenings and won the Best Director of the Arab World award. It's clearly a labour of love and I imagine it will make its way around the festival circuit in the coming year after it had its world premiere in Abu Dhabi. 

Full feature films - there was a good selection of films from around the world, but these four films stood out for me for their style and story telling.

Almost in Love by Sam Neave is decribed as "a love story in two takes". It is shot in two uninterrupted 40 minute takes and addresses love, friendship and loyalty in one of the most honest ways I've seen on the big screen. It is a very intimate film with great dialogue - watching it made me feel like I'm in the same room as the characters in the film.

Stories Only Exist When Remembered by Julia Murat is a beautifully made heart wrenching story about loneliness, old age and death. We follow the daily routines of a small and elderly community in a small village in Paraiba Valley in Brazil. Their daily routines are somewhat disrupted with the arrival of Rita, a young travelling photographer who stays on to photograph the people and the village and through her photographs we are left with some unanswered questions.

A Separation by Asghar Farhadi won the Golden Bear at this year's Berlin film festival. It's about a married couple Simin and Nader and their desire to do the right thing. Simin wants to leave Iran with Nader and their daughter Termeh for a better future. Nader wants to stay back to look after his ill father. What happens over the next two hours of the film is a slow unravelling of events and secrets that lead to some dire consequences. A very well crafted film, with great acting and script - it ends with no definitive answers, because as Asghad Farhadi said at the Q & A session after the screening, even he doesn't know the answers. 

We Need To Talk About Kevin - an amazing film on every level - the acting, the visuals, the editing, the soundtrack. About a mother-son relationship that is one of the most uncomfortable I've seen on the big screen, we go back and forth between the present and the past to figure out what led to Kevin's murderous tendencies. Needless to say, it's very dark, very grim - the kind of film that leaves you speechless after the end credits roll. 


Other highlights of the festival include:

Sea Shadow was the only full feature film from the United Arab Emirates that screened at this festival. Directed by Nawaf Al Janahi (his second feature film after The Circle) and produced by Abu Dhabi's Image Nation, the film is set in a small seaside town in Ras Al Khaimah and follows teenagers and their teenage dreams amidst the emotional and generational divide between parents and children in the United Arab Emirates of today. It's a gentle film that looks good visually. But it had some dark undertones related to sexual abuse which wasn't addressed with depth. It made me wonder if it's the Emirati filmmakers or the Emirati audience who aren't ready to tackle deeper subjects on film. (Look out for a full review coming soon on this blog.)

Between Heaven and Earth was part of the 'Naguib Mahfouz–Man of Cinema' series that celebrated his 100th birthday. Written by Naguib Mahfouz and directed by Salah Abu Seif in 1960, the film is set in an elevator on a hot Friday afternoon in Cairo. The elevator is filled with people that represent Egyptian society (a movie star, a thief, a madman, a cook and a pregnant woman to name a few) who are trapped in it for 12 hours. What is revealed in during the time they are trapped in the elevator is relevant today as it was 50 years ago. It was such so special for me to watch a classic Egyptian black and white film on the big screen for the first time.

But the most delightful highlight of the festival goes to...

I end my review with the most delightful moment of the festival which happened at the misnamed "Family Day Special Program". This section was presented by Serge Bromberg from Lobster Films, a film historian and an expert on film restoration. He screened a selection of restored silent film gems - fantasy films, travelogues, animation and Buster Keaton's long lost short The Love Nest from 1923 - all accompanied by live piano (well, actually a keyboard) played by Serge Bromberg. The cherry on top was the screening of the restored colour version of The Trip to The Moon by George Melies from 1902 - often described as the 'first science fiction movie ever made'. It was accompanied by the new soundtrack composed by French electro duo Air, who were also present to talk about the music and what inspired them to make it. As a lover of silent films and a fan of Air, this basically added the cool factor to the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Here's a taster of what I saw.


40 at 40 - Part 3 


In part 3 of the 40@40 series (you can see part one here and part two here) there's a very eclectic mix of objects. But my favourite is the 1956 edition of National Georgraphic (object 24) which included a feature about this region with some Kodachrome-tastic photos. 


Object 21. Painted dowry chest - 2008


Object 22. Codd neck soda bottle


Object 23. A gold tablar locket - circa 1900s


Object 24. An issue of National Geographic Magazine - July 1956


Object 26. Arabic Dictionary


Object 27. Labour card issued by the Abu Dhabi government - 1973


Object 29. Asahi Pentax camera


You can read about all the 40@40 objects here.

[PS Objects 25 and 30 are missing from this post because it's missing from The National's YouTube channel. Will add it here as soon as I get access to it.]



Burj Al Arab in Dubai


Long before Burj Khalifa, the iconic building that represented Dubai was Burj Al Arab Hotel. Dubai's architectural dreams really started in the 1990s and not in the 2000s as many believe. It was the beginning of the creation of a "city state and an economy that was moving away from oil and was engaging with the rest of the world". (As you will hear in the video below.)

Going to the beach in the 1990s, I remember seeing Burj Al Arab under construction and although I like the design, I was never comfortable with its "seven-star" hotel status - and I couldn't help but associate the hotel for the nouveau riche. It took me a very long time to step inside the hotel and when I did, I saw a few dodgy looking folks. I continue to admre it from the outside and although it's been overtaken by the other Burj, this one will hold a special place in the history of the city.


Architect Simon Crispe reveals the story behind the construction of Dubai's Burj Al Arab


A video snapshot of the architectural vision behind Dubai's iconic Burj al Arab




40 at 40 - Part 2 


Here's part 2 of the 40@40 series (you can see part one here). It's from a video series put together by The National to mark the 40th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates. It features 40 historic objects that have shaped the country. You can read about each object here.

My favourite from this set of videos is the Grundig radio (object number 20).

Object 11. Russian tea pot - 19-20th century


Object 12. Pearl Sieves - Early 20th Century


Object 13. Passports belonging to Mohammed Al Fahim -1957 to 1971


Object 14. Block of coral from an Abu Dhabi house - late 19th/early 20th century


Object 16. Royal invitation cards- 1979


Object 17. Two clay pots - date unknown


Object 18. Al Sidr Leaves


Object 19. Khanjar dagger - 1930s


Object 20. A Grundig radio used by Sheikh Shakhbut


[PS I'm aware Object 15 is missing from The National's YouTube channel. Will add it here as soon as I get my hands on it.]


Music Monday - Gotye

Music Monday is back after a short break. 

This blog post has been in draft mode for the past few months, so I'm not sharing anything new today - you're probably one of the 18 million people that's already seen the music video I'm about to disuss.

I almost gave up on sharing this post, but after hearing Somebody I Used to Know by Gotye on the radio yesterday, (it was a while since I last heard it), I thought to myself - I'm going to post this, even if it's old news.

So here's Gotye (his real name is Wouter De Backer), the Belgian-Australian artist that has become an international hit because of his heartbreak song that you want to hear over and over again, "Somebody I Used to Know". 

We're bombarded with pop songs full of empty lyrics these days, so I think it's wonderful when a pop song that's crafted this well, lyrically and musically, becomes a worldwide hit. Gives me faith in humanity. And the video is great too.

So enjoy this again, and if it's the first time you see this, hope you like it as much as I do. Read this excellent review of the song I found on

Somebody I Used to Know


Here's Gotye talking about "Somebody I Used To Know" and how it was almost left on the cutting room floor.

Here are some of Gotye's recent and older songs:

Don't Worry, We'll Be Watching You


Easy Way Out

Coming Back


Hearts A Mess


40 at 40 - Part 1


The National has put together a great video series to mark the 40th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates. 40@40 features 40 historic objects that have shaped the country. I will feature the videos in four parts on this blog over the next few days.

Each video is around 2 minutes long and many include some archival footage. It really is a trip into the past and some of the stories are very endearing. I hope there will be longer versions of these videos later on. In the meantime, enjoy the first part of this series. You can read about each object here.

Object 1. Silver headdress - early 20th century


Object 2. Foetal heart monitor - early 1960s


Object 3. Boat drill - 1950s / 1960s


Object 4. Postage stamp - 1968


Object 5. Mirror and comb - 1940s


Object 7. Pearl diver's nose clip - 1964


Object 8. Etisalat phone - 1987


Object 9. Wooden bridal chest - 1900


Object 10. Formula One volunteer armband - 2009


[PS I'm aware Object 6 is missing. Will add it here as soon as I get my hands on it.]