Everything in Dubai is an ‘-est’: biggest, longest, tallest. The buildings don’t scrape the sky, they pierce it. The Dubai Mall is a labyrinth of the glitziest brands surrounding a four-storey fish tank – with sharks. The ski-dome attached to the Mall of the Emirates refrigerates 22,500 square metres of indoor ski runs – with real snow.
The Emiratis have captured, combed, irrigated and planted the desert, reclaimed the Gulf and filled it with island homes and six-star resorts. In the words of the Sheikhs, magnanimously staring from billboards lining the fourteen-lane highway: impossible is nothing. To most of us, though, Dubai is Disneyland for grown-ups.
Posted in Dubai, travel, weather, wine
Tagged Arabia, building, Burj Khalifa, civilisation, creativity, culture, Dubai, Emirates, Middle East, Sheikhs, snow dome, snowboarding, travel, UAE, weather, wow factor
Yellow has never been my favourite colour. Too bright, too banana-ry, the colour of cowards. Hating yellow made springtime at primary school a right bloody chore: all teachers want kids to do in March is stick little bits of yellow tissue paper onto outlines of daffodils, chicks, eggs, shining suns – you get the picture.
If you’ve got kids, you will literally be getting the picture any time now. Probably on the last day of term, in the form of a happy Easter card. And you’ll love it because your kid made it. Not because it has anything to do with spring any more. Continue reading
Posted in brave new world, creativity, weather
Tagged daffodils, easter, Great Britain, heroes, inspiration, snow, spring, summer, sunshine, The Beatles, weather, Wordsworth, yellow
Sir Edmund Hillary was clearly a climbing addict. And how addicted to maths were Archimedes and Ptolemy and all who’ve followed their lead, to come up with the endless version of Pi?
Artists, musicians, astronomers – they all display the sort of obsessive behaviour we call addiction yet in them, we don’t see a problem that needs solving. We are so used to seeing addiction as a bad thing that we’ve forgotten how positive such commitment to a cause can be. If we can just overcome moderation …
Posted in addiction, moderation, working, writing a novel
Tagged abstinence, addiction, civilisation, creativity, culture, Lent, moderation, spring, twelve steps, winter, writing, writing a novel
Humans are genetically programmed to avoid illness and a morbid fear of death is perfectly normal. But we’ve become so used to guzzling antibiotics to fend off the slightest cough, that tiny, but dastardly powerful germs are growing armour against our best defences.
Luckily, we love a bit of irony. And if it’s fear of dying that’s actually rolling us towards the grave, we’re as likely to laugh as cry. Chugging into oblivion is fine; as long as it’s us doing the steering.
Posted in General, magic, science, tenacity, Writing, writing a novel
Tagged antibiotics, civilisation, colds, common cold, cure, gel discovery, hospitals, human body, IBM, medicine, science, superbugs, virus, whisky, writing
My mate and fellow novelist, Julian Moore, has tagged me in a blogging chain called The Next Big Thing. I have to answer ten questions about my book and then pose the questions to another five authors.
My tags are at the bottom of the post – talented writers one and all – so I’m excited to see how they choose to answer the questions next. Consider the baton officially passed.
Here goes …
Unexpected thing number one about Christmas this year was not hearing Fairytale of New York by The Pogues. Not even half of it. Most odd.
Unexpected thing number two; my man and I, being allergic to the British festive combination of gloomy skies and garish tat, usually run away to the sun. This year, we decided to go snowboarding instead. Continue reading
Posted in Bavaria, Schliersee, snowboarding
Tagged Bavaria, Beer, dachau, Heart Kids, holiday, Jodler Peppi, snowboarding, Wolpertinger, yodeller