Daily archives: March 18, 2012

A New Goethe Needed

The Peacock Throne of the Mughal Emperors was set at the heart of beautiful gardens, fountains and elegant courtyards. Poetry was as important to them as warfare. On the throne was set the inscription: “If there be heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.”

I am in Dubai. If there be hell on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here. Dubai. The land that taste forgot. Apparently designed to gather together as many as possible of the nastiest people from all continents, and give them anything their heart desires. I am sure, if you could just find the right person to chuck a spare million, you could make a snuff movie starring one of the unfortunate little Sri Lankans or Central Asians who are everywhere, doing all the work, but apparently invisible. Then you could go to a Spa.

It is as though someone had given Jordan a trillion dollars and a million slaves and invited her to construct the city of her dreams. For those who believe that consumption is the purpose of life, this is the new Mecca. I think I can sum it up best by saying that I am continually expecting to see Tony and Cherie come round the corner, followed by Mandy, Nat Rothschild, Deripaska and Gulnara. I met nicer people and my soul was less disturbed up country in the middle of the Sierra Leone civil war. My God, I want to get out of here, burn all my clothes and shower for a week.

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