Sunday, 3 January 2010

Wonderful Life

Emirate of DubaiImage via Wikipedia

Flying into Lalaland, it’s always nice to have the last few minutes of the film you’re watching chopped off by the playing of the compulsory Dubai promotional video. The old promo, which used to show scenes of people enjoying themselves in Dubai’s iconic resorts to the soundtrack of some bird breathlessly delivering adjectives like ‘delicious, delightful, exciting’ in a series of sexlessly orgasmic gasps has now been replaced by the same sort of footage but played over a backdrop of 1980s band Black’s, ‘Wonderful Life’. The adjectives are now displayed as subtitles, which at least dispenses with any danger of DTCM being accused of attempted subtlety.

I have to confess to finding this film mildly irritating. It’s not the content or even the fact that you are quite literally strapped to a chair and forced to watch it that gets my goat. It’s that someone over at DTCM thinks it’s clever to play a promotion for Dubai to a planeload of people that are already committed, in a most fundamental way, to going there.

It never fails to have me thinking about the wasted opportunity to actually communicate with people that this slice of barminess represents – the chance, for instance, to tell them a little more about Dubai and what they could actually do in their time here, perhaps even to communicate something of the moral and social environment they’re about to enter. You could even inform people and help them get more out of their Dubai experience - for instance on how to get around, some of the major sights to be seen, what’s going on in the city right now. They could be produced as a series of short films featuring a presenter, perhaps even as a monthly magazine programme which would, incidentally, avoid the irritation experienced by frequent flyers who have to watch the same thing again and again and again. It could even be made – you might want to sit down for this bit – watchable.

But alas, no. Strapped into your chair, personal electronic devices switched off for final approach, you have no choice but to watch Tiger Woods (who is still, apparently, A Good Thing in Dubai) and friends loving the 'wonderful life’.

Oh, by the way, here is an extract from the lyrics of Black’s happy little ditty, a song of guilty loneliness. It is, perhaps, an appropriate soundtrack...

Here I go out to sea again
The sunshine fills my hair
And dreams hang in the air
Gulls in the sky and in my blue eyes
You know it feels unfair
There's magic everywhere

Look at me standing
Here on my own again
Up straight in the sunshine
No need to run and hide
It's a wonderful wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry
It's a wonderful wonderful life

The sun's in your eyes
The heat is in your hair
They seem to hate you because you're there
And I need a friend
Oh I need a friend to make me happy
Not stand here on my own

I need a friend
Oh I need a friend
To make me happy
Not so alone

Another BTW, BTW: the original video of Black's 1980s songette, shot in black and white, is here. I do find the first frame fascinating... And yes, thank you, it is good to be back.
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EyeOnDubai said...

Good to have you back!


hemlock said...

and that is why i flew etihad.

Adam said...

Except they haven't committed. Count how many people actually get go landside in Dubai. Less than 10 per cent of the plane usually. So they are probably desperately trying to sell it to them for next time.

The thing that annoys me is they get you on take off and landing. I don't care about the features of my Boeing 777-300ER, or whether I can send an SMS from my seat, and I certainly don't care about hearing it twice, then having my movie interrupted again by boring cabin announcements in two languages....

@motdejour said...

Amen to that! I fly about 100 times a year and most of it with EK - and that bloody film drives me mad for much the same reasons.

A) I can never finish the movie
B) The tune drives me nuts
C) It is-as you rightly point out - totally pointless as 90% of the plane live in Dubai anyway and another 8% probably visit the place frequently or don't care.

While we're on the topic, I also am driven to murderous thoughts by Emirate's insistence on doing the world's longest in-flight announcements and then doing them in both Arabic and English. Often with films. Heard of subtitles? Seat back info?

No other Gulf airline feels the need to give the passengers quite so much "information" - or inane interruption as I have come to know it....

Thank you Alex for flagging the "Dubai Is Wonderful" movie on Emirates - you've saved me a job!

Desert_Weasel said...

Around 24% of Emirates passengers stop in Dubai, either as a stopover or as their final destination, so there is another 76% that it might matter to.

Or not

Desert Scorpion said...

Every bloody time I fly with EK have those same thoughts!! Flying about 20 times a year, its quite often!

Doesnt matter who gets off or stays in transit, you're absolutely right about an opportunity missed in getting new info out!

Shame as they do alot of things well, but seem to have overlooked this obvious one.

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