Is Dubai The New Sun City?

December 28, 2008 at 9:41 am | Posted in music, writing | 12 Comments
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He thinks sipping black coffee and looking out over the skyline at the towering sail motel. He is alone in a way but he is aware that the male voice has a function especially when blended into a choir and he is confident he knows one thing that is true in every situation. The tattoo of the willow tree which covers his back disappears into the darkness of his suit and he turns into the room just as the phone rings.

Can we get, Is Dubai the New Sun City, printed somewhere on the programme, she wants to know. He says no without thinking. He has spent hours hiding the melody in the string section which alternated between a kind of Peter Onion and Peter Hare tone, somewhere not cello nor birdsong. It’s enough to plant the seed of the thought, a kind of mystic fundamentalism. And he has given away a thousand copies of the original track to local pirate radio stations and one-eyed wild rastas masquerading as tribesman with market stalls.

He looks down at the watch the old man had given him, all those years ago. You have had your fun doodling with that Jazz you’re always playing he had said and closed the lid of the piano. We have hired some more musicians and I have invested in a suit for you. It is a great responsibility to be a conductor.

He smiled, semi-conductor, and wonders if she has remembered to buy him a hat.

“It’s A Wilde Ride” had just been released and for some reason a kind of political masochism had swept through the middle classes at the same time.  All the Lady Windemeres were looking for their D. H. Lawrence. When the offer came to play the New Years Party in Dubai she had hinted that he should take the work more seriously but he couldn’t shake the image of her in pirate hat and red lingerie and had signed the contract without reading it.

Blushing nightclub belles hustle past him on their way to various assignations, Sir Ian would have said. He smiles with the confidence of a man who has been through far worse and paid more for it. Besides, he would have his back to them when the light burst over his shoulder onto the musicians’ faces, one hundred and twenty perfectly polished instruments. The lead saxophone is fidgeting and he hopes he got fixed an hour or so before. “Merciless” he had been described in one review he treasured.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw the ex-paratrooper rhythm guitarist nervously trying to slick down his hair while shuffling uncomfortably in his too tight rented tuxedo and through the heavy curtains behind him he can hear the audience entering the ballroom, settling into their seats with a John Lennon jangle of jewellery and the rustle as they opened their programmes. He raises the baton.


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