Friday, 11 April 2008

Personality Disintegration

I have now been in Dubai for almost a year and am starting to miss various things that it never occurred to me I could miss... the 16th and 17th centuries for example. By this I mean the ability to walk into a public institution and spend time in the company of some old masters of the Italian renaissance perhaps or some ancient artefacts looted from elsewhere at some point in perfidious British history. However, this is probably a result of relentless exposure to 'contemporary' art over the past month or so.

Another problem I have is the constant feeling that I'm living in some kind of a time warp. With the exception of a few key local programmes radio stations sound like British provincial radio in the 1970s. I have actually given up turning on the radio when I'm cooking dinner in the evening because its either endless sports talk or people who seem to know very little about music history talking bullshit about dreadful playlists! The TV is even worse. Maybe its bad timing but City 7 only seems to show re-runs of Minder.

All of this is turning me a bit radical and is doing very strange things to my sense of humour. The comedy channel for me is Saudi Channel 2. There's usually a laugh within five minutes. This may sound like some kind of orientalist-laughing-at-the-arabs type bullshit but it is truly fascinating and the 10 o' clock news is most informative unlike any local news services. I can no longer get through 8.30 - 9.00 on Dubai One without wanting to blow my own head off.

I am also getting concerned that my personality is disintegrating. I am getting more and more of those days where I am actually losing track of my own identity. I guess this happens without access to people who've known you for years and years and can remind you of who you are. The other identity indicators are the books, pictures and just general 'stuff' that I've accumulated over the years, all of which remains in the UK. I did not realise how much identity was maintained simply by being able to idly glance over my bookshelves once a day or just stare at a favourite painting. Thank god I'd put most of my music collection on an MP3 player! That precious little device is currently constituting about 75% of my sanity.

Do you think I need a holiday????????


  1. There is more news (regional) content on the local Arabic TV stations but then as non Arabic speakers we have chosen (in effect) to exclude ourselves from this. Not that there is much by way of local news in any language other than property, traffic and PR stunts (see property). Guess you should get out more (out of here, but in here too?)

  2. Hi Val!
    Hi from Hamish & Katharina - I think a holiday might be necessary! Are you staying or coming back :-)

    All the best

  3. Hi Val!
    Hi from amish & him alone...
    It's not to say that contemporary art is not good or everything that was created during renaissance was wonderful. Good art, just like thing else gets distilled over a period of time. Most of the art was championing something or the other. be it Sistine Chapel Taj Mahal, time segregates good art from bad ideology, i read it somewhere. what i do not know is whether posterity will do the same with our contemporary art, take the good out of bad or they will get accustomed to contemporary quality judgments..what you feel is a result of a habit of not unlearning, changing cultures, changing priorities, changing lives, require us to unlearn more than it requires us to learn. All we need to do is adapt not learn. Problem is with those who learn. This is also something that posterity would understand and they will adapt...I'm we really need to know some one for years in order to strike the identity chord?

  4. Of course you can strike an identify chord with people you haven't known for years! But 'chord' is a good way of putting it. I guess I was talking about people who have known you long enough to hear a whole song or even a symphony … or at least the first couple of albums!! :)

  5. How many new songs do we critical/creative appreciation subjective or tastes develop...does identity evolve...if it changes, can it be called seeing believing or believing seeing?
    I understand what you saying here, at one level me be i dont...