Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Been comprehensively crap at updating this but I have my reasons. Mostly due to not having an internet connection coupled with having a laptop that is on the blink. And who said that technology was a good thing?!

Either way, I'll just wish you a very Merry Christmas wherever you may be and whoever you are with.

Hopefully I'll get round to a New Years post before New year happens.

Merry Chrsitmas.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


The flurry of 'best of' lists has started in earnest for 2008. It's not really something I like though I do check them out to see if they are made up of. Mostly I tend not to agree but there are instances where I've thought 'yep, I'd go with that'.

Of course, its the music ones that i'm most interested in. To be honest, I've not really been all that enthralled with alot of music that has been released this year. I wonder if that is more to do with the fact that I don't have much access to it. I do read about it but then thats not the same as actually having it blaring from your speakers.

I did have a laugh at the Q 'best of''. It is highly predictable sadly. Who brought out an album this year that are quite big and who have been on the front cover seems to be their motto. Yes, you've guessed it in their list is: Kaiser Chiefs, Oasis, Coldplay, Razorlight, Metallica, Elbow, the Killers, Keane, REM to name a few - the 'usual' suspects perhaps.

I'm not really sure that some them can be classed as 'best of' the year but what I do I know?

Is the Kaiser Chiefs actually anything new and exciting. Does it show some kind of progression from their previous 'stuff'. I don't think it is to be honest. And for that alone, I wouldn't put it in. And Razorlight. Delusions of granduer seem to have sturck Mr. Borrell. His lyrics are not as clever as he thinks and is this new album any better than their 1st album? It might sell more but that doesn't make it so. Coldplay are an enigma they make music for the masses but it does appear that they have tried to push the boundaries back particularly by having Brian Eno on board and for that, I would have them in. REM have always done it better when they 'rock'. I could go on but then why lose sleep over what Q say?!

2 albums have stood out for me; namely Crystal Castles and A Cross the Universe by Justice.

The 1st is not an easy listen. It's what? Techno punk? I'm not sure but strip away the harshness of the beats and the 'computer game' whizz is an album that really does sound like nothing else. It even has its tender moments. No doubt there will be those who try to imitate but then that is always the case. The Justice album is a curosity. It's a live album. For every 1 'good' live album are 10 'bad' ones for whatever reason but on this one, they have mixed the crowd noise quite high so you do actually get the impression that you could be there in amongst it. It's a trick that Daft Punk tried on Alive and it works. Well. Furthermore, its a live album that doesn't just play the songs as they are found on the studio album. They elongate shorten them, mix 'new' things in and take bits out. It's almost a 'new' album in its own right.

Perhaps others will hit me in the next few days but that's it for now!

Friday, December 05, 2008


So this ongoing English course that I've been conducting finally finished; 'finished' in the sense that the students don't need to come back to class for the moment. I gave them a short test at the start of end of the course in order to get some idea if they had improved any, or even got worse. Thankfully, all the students improved on their original scores. Some not by much but others by quite a considerable amount. I guess that is a sign...

The 'real' test though was the final test which would make them eligible for promotion. That particular test is a new that I have just made up. I think its a fair test and the questions in it are all 'stuff' that was covered in class so it is not as if it is completly 'new' to them. It was interesting speaking to the students afterwards as they didn't feel that it was easy. I guess a test isn't meant to be easy though. If it was and to coin a Bond line 'I wouldn't be doing my job very well'.

Anyway, unoffficially 2 out of 7 have failed which if had been offered before the course had started, I would have taken. For those that failed, its not the end of the world - they will get another chance but they will need to work for it and no amount of asking me to 'help' them will make their scores go up unless they study. It's a not a game; its real and if they aren't upto the standard then there is only so much I can do.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


December 2nd is no ordinary day. It is U.A.E. national day. It is 37 years since all the Emirates decided that it would be a good idea to stop being separate, and join as one. I'm particularly pleased because it results in a day off work.

It does appear that our local hosts are do make a day of it with fireworks and stuff like that. Alot of the cars are even coloured in the national flag. All in marked contrast to us Scots who do nothing for our 'national' day. Why is that? Is it because we're not proud enough or is it too politically incorrect to 'celebrate' Scotland being Scotland?

I'm surprised that 'patriot' Salmond hasn't decreed it as such. No doubt that it has been discussed at that level, after all he wants Scotland to be Scotland and not part of something bigger - the opposite of the U.A.E. if you like.

I guess alot of other nations do - I can name the U.S, Australia, France and Korea as nations that have their national day as a day off. It's not something that they are ashamed of, in fact the Koreans have a special holder on their apartment balconies especially for holding their national flag. I should point out that the Koreans are a bit mental though. The point remains though.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Rain. Loads of it.

Thought this place was meant to be 'the desert'?
Well, I can exclusively reveal that that is not the case. Its a lie.

3 times its rained in the last week.

The irony being that everyone who has lived here for years and years actually loves the rain. Apparantly its 'beautiful'. Eh, I think not. If I want rain, I'll go to Scotland thank you very much.