Friday, April 28, 2006

The travelling flu show!

For the last 72 hours, I've been a victim of a severe bout of flu, I've tried to brave my way out of the first 36 hours with no medication, and you guessed it, it got way worse, with burning fever.
Yesterday I gave in and went and got my self several off-the shelf flu medications, which have made life a little more bearable, but only suppressed the symptoms, lets see how it goes.

To make things even more interesting, I have to make a two-day business trip to recruit senior staff, and I have to leave on very early morning flight and return on a red-eye. I cannot cop out of this trip because I am the organizer and the interviewer, so I have to grit my teeth and bear it.

Did I mention that I cannot have any drinks during the whole period of medication, not amusing!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Robbie Williams in Dubai

Last night I went with a couple friends to the much hyped Robbie Williams concert in Ned Al-Shiba race grounds in Dubai, and beside the nightmare of parking in a swamp by mistake (really) and trying to get my tiny New Beetle unstuck from the shifting mud, the concert was a breath of fresh air.

I have never bought an album by Robbie, but I don't dislike his music either, it is a bit of fluffy anthems and occasionally inspired songs. Where Robbie excels, is showmanship, and in that department, he was in top form last night.

Robbie danced, posed, and managed to insult and mimic a dozen singers, all while entertaining the 25,000 people nonstop. His Sexy Camel pose was a crowd favorite and his barb against JLo was hilarious.

The Crowd: Down in the trenches, it was an odd mixture of people, noticeable though, was the obnoxious attitude of the relocated cream of the council estates. The sheer rudeness of some people never cease to amaze me. A particular pikey yob had the nerve to yell "yella, move from here", well, I must congratulate you for your linguistic achievements, you came all the way from Hull to learn the equivalent of Oi! Despite the chavs being in force, we managed to enjoy the concert and badly accompany the man in singing the crowd pleasers of Feel, Mellinuim, and Angels.

Final verdic: a truimph, but with this kind of crowd, I will go for seated tickets next time.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The comfort of strangers

One of the artist I've been following quite avidly over the last 4-5 years has been Beth Orton, her vocals are amazing, heartbreaking and trance inducing at the same time. She is also a first rate songwriter and musician. So I had quite a lot of expectation for her new album"The Comfort of Strangers", especially when her previous one, "Daybreaker" broke new grounds for me. All reviewers emphasized that this was the milestone 10th year album, and compared it with such gems as "Blood on the tracks"

At first I found it very hard to judge the album, while I've read the reviews that described it as minimalist effort, I was not really prepared to the extent of it. The album is recorded in Analog, with no more than three instruments, and with Beth playing most of them.

The first impression is that it was too folksy and too self-indulgent, if you know Beth's vocal you will appreciate how hard is it to exactly make out the words, but after several listening, the flowers blossomed so to speak. The obvious truth shone, that Beth does not need a horde of musicians and mixing to make her mark, she is an accomplished artist and she can carry a whole album with only her vocals. The album is a gem, songs such as "Worms" and "Absinthe" brought tears to my eyes with their disarmingly simple premise and their heavy subtext, the title track "Comfort of Strangers" is the most approachable track for non-Beth fanatics.

I still missed the hinge of electronica that gave Beth her "Queen of comedown" moniker, but her courage and absolute integrity in doing this album really touched me. Now I have to make do with yet another favorite Beth Orton Album.

Monday, April 10, 2006

NY Times article on Arab democracy

No comment really. No suprise either.
Article is here