Tag Archives: Glastonbury

Unilever CEO’s Harry Potter moment

A lot of us are very worried about the environment and the legacy we are leaving our children.  Big companies are having to listen because keeping in our good books helps their growth and delivers shareholder value.  Unilever used to hide behind an invincibility cloak but now it’s keen to tell us all about the brands it owns and the good stuff it is doing.

Unilever’s latest global drive, across print and digital, will feature the tagline ‘Small actions. Big difference’ and showcase some of the progress Unilever has made in improving its sustainability credentials. It will also challenge consumers to contribute to this.

The campaign, which is set to  roll out in September, will feature Unilever’s corporate logo prominently.  Unilever’s intention is that it will result in consumers having a better understanding of the diversity of its product range, which includes brands such as Persil, Surf, Dove, Lynx, Bovril and Ben & Jerry’s.

I’m off to watch the last Harry Potter film next week (personally I think Harry will make a comeback as Headmaster of Hogwarts in around 10 years) but even he would have difficulty achieving the goals set out by  Unilever chief executive Paul Polman: double sales by 2020 while reducing environmental impact.

Sad news for men

With the Arab spring drifting into summer and stalemate all over the place it’s difficult to predict what will happen next.  As an incredibly conservative Kingdom with cash to splash keeping everyone relatively happy Saudi Arabia has come through the upheavals unscathed.  Two titbits from recent coverage will further enlighten you.

From al-Qassim, “Riyadh looks like Paris and [the relatively tolerant port city of] Jeddah looks like Bangkok,” says one Saudi reformer.  One to cross off your holiday list!

And this classic from a liberal reformer:

“If you ask women all over the world if they prefer a mixed environment or to be away from men, they would choose the latter,” Duwaish, whose centre was one of the first to publish a report on domestic violence in the Kingdom, told the Guardian.  My wife has just left for the summer with a big grin on her face so maybe Mr Duwaish is onto something.

Down and out

Rebekah Wade

Rebekah Wade

In amongst the debris surrounding the closing of the News of the World I found this gem (the paper first published in 1843 bit the dust on the back of a phone hacking scandal; my mate Micky will be devastated, but not for long):

Computers at the newspaper were disconnected from the internet after the announcement that the paper would close to prevent staff from communicating their reaction via Twitter.

While I’m an old hand at Facebook (34 friends and counting) I’m fairly new to Twitter, however  in my short Twitter career it has come to my notice that my phone is the perfect vehicle for Tweets.

The world champion in cynical opportunism Rupert Murdoch has manoeuvred the situation to turn The Sun into a 7 day operation.  200 plus loyal and hard-working staff plus countless freelancers have been thrown on the scrap heap while his chosen one, Rebekah Wade, is still hoping to walk away scot-free.  Apparently The Ivy-loving redhead (soon to be seen in Dubai editing Gulf News?) didn’t know the phone hacking was going on when she was Editor, although she must have been a little bit curious about all of the exclusives coming her way.

One great Tweet that did slip out: “Brooks or NoTW? Murdoch’s ditched the wrong red-top.”

Final thought on the subject, hacks hacking has a horrible ring to it.

Pack up your property woes in an old kit bag

Regional unrest failed to revitalise the property market and while extending residency visas from 6 months to 3 years was a good move they should have been much, much bolder – 10 years minimum.  There is still so much property being delivered in an uncertain market that the only way is down.

For everyone in Dubai who is caught in the declining value trap spare a thought for the poorer people of America.  Once a multimillionairess, Miss Kluge, has just sold her mansion, once listed for £62 million, for just £9.3 million.  Ouch.

They came, they saw and they nabbed it

Like  many people living in Dubai I’ve watched the phenomenon of group-buying explode.  I get it but I don’t get it.  When times are tough you need to look after your pennies and are on the lookout for great deals.  I know plenty of people who love it but I just can’t be bothered, a good night in with a good book is taking precedence – I’ve just read a great book set in Ethiopia – Cutting for Stone a first novel by Abraham Verghese.

With news that Gonabbit has been snapped up by Living Social – well done the nabbit guys – I read quite a lot about Groupon.  Last year it was valued at $6 billion when Google were sniffing around, this year $30 billion.  Groupon has never made a profit and I think the companies offering the deals will pretty soon see it as a short road to nowhere (they hand back up to 50% of what you pay to the deal maker and deal hunters are always looking for the next deal, i.e. they never go back and pay full price).  So my advice, if anyone makes an offer – sell, sell, sell.

Glastonbury pop or rock?

The Wombles

The Wombles

I watched some if the BBC’s coverage of this year’s Glastonbury extravaganza.  I was drawn magnetically to Beyonce’s performance, what a whole lotta of woman!  It wouldn’t have happened in my day when bad boys of rock spent as much energy on dodging flying beer bottles as delivering high-octane rock.  The pick for me was Primal Scream while the low has to be the Wombles, OMG.

Top 7s

Family away so I’ve got the sound cranked up and my iPod on shuffle – I love it for reminding you of all the great music that you have forgotten.  7 (couldn’t restrict to 5, sorry) nearly forgotten fond favourites:

  • Suede: Animal Nitrate
  • Doves: Kingdom of Rust
  • Block Party: I Still Remember
  • Magazine: Shot By Both Sides
  • Psycadelic Furs: Pretty In Pink
  • The Cult: She Sells Sanctuary
  • Buzzcocks: Ever Fallen In Love

There is a very strong link between two of these bands, first one to spot it (only my answer is the right answer) and I’ll buy you lunch at the newly opened Lime Tree Café in Media City next to the mini showroom.



Filed under Observations

Cheats do prosper

Despite England’s sharp exit I’m still fixated with the World Cup, sorry.  Now we know for sure the big man upstairs doesn’t care about football.  Suavez’s last-minute handball wasn’t punished and Uruguay are through to the semi-final.  Rugby has a penalty try for deliberate cheating, football has now lost all credibility.

hand ball

Cheating is rewarded and the football genius Maradona is still intensely proud of his hand of god.  Suavez is also very proud of his actions, this is what he had to say:

“The Hand of God now belongs to me. Mine is the real Hand Of God.  I made the best save of the tournament. Sometimes in training I play as a goalkeeper so it was worth it. There was no alternative but for me to do that and when they missed the penalty I thought ‘It is a miracle and we are alive in the tournament’.”  His punishment, a one match ban!


FIFA had their chance, they should have banned Maradona when he openly admitted he cheated and then we wouldn’t have been left with World Cup where cheats are treated as heroes.

footballers celebrating

I was very disappointed with Brazil.  They spent the whole of the match against Holland trying to stop Robben by foul means and completely forgot about Wesley Sneijder – my player of the tournament so far.  It was horrible to watch Brazil trying to kick their way to victory.

Meanwhile Capello keeps his £6 million a year job and vows to bring in new players.  Fabio, here is one for you – Adam Johnson.  I spotted him last year and he should have played a starring role in the World Cup.  Instead you picked his understudy at Man City, Sean Wright-Phillips and played Milner in the position he left behind two years ago.

Final word on football (until next week) can someone please explain to me why Chelsea let Joe Cole go and have since signed Yosi Benayoun?  One classy English player for an OK Israeli, a very strange decision which leads me to predict Chelsea won’t win anything next year and their sugar daddy is preparing to up sticks.

Changing subject completely, I was left cold and seriously angry by the decision of a court in Iran to sentence a 43-year-old mother of two to death by stoning.  The barbarity is beyond belief but other things struck me about this case.  Firstly there was zero evidence; Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted in May 2006 of conducting an “illicit relationship outside marriage” on the basis of “judge’s knowledge” – a loophole that allows for subjective judicial rulings where no conclusive evidence is present.  Secondly, under Iranian sharia law, the sentenced individual is buried up to the neck (or to the waist in the case of men), and those attending the public execution are called upon to throw stones. If the convicted person manages to free themselves from the hole, the death sentence is commuted.  Treating women like tenth class citizens is one thing but oh my god.  Please click on the link below for the full article.


I sprang out of bed this morning and yet another thought popped into my head – if Britain’s green and pleasant land is warmed every year by the Gulf Stream are we going to get more than we bargained for this year?  As always I turned to Wiki for a better understanding of what could happen.

The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic Ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, exits through the Strait of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

I watched bits of the Glastonbury Festival, Muse were amazing (click on the link for a bit of shock and awe) and Stevie Wonder is a legend.  However Stevie you should really consign I just called to say I love you to the dustbin of history.  How could somebody so talented write such an awful song?

Also it’s worth checking out Gang of Four – they are back!  For those who don’t know them they are a Brit band from the 1980’s credited by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers as being the band that most influenced their music.


With Dubai clearing out for the summer, news is a bit sparse.  I’m going to dedicate the next few weeks to unearthing bargains.  For all of you golfers out there click on the link for summer rates.  Yas Links is highly recommended, it was designed by the same guy who created Kingsbarn, my favourite course in the whole wide world.


Another bargain – check out MMI’s summer wine offer in-store while it lasts.  Monster savings on some very drinkable wines.  Click on the link for store locations and if you want to avoid tax give Barracuda a swerve and head off to Al Hamra Cellar.


With my family off for the summer we had a bit of clear out.  These are my top 5 from when Florence and Beatrice were tots (they all escaped the clear out!).

  • Book: Jolly Pocket Postman
  • Film: Toy Story
  • Audio: Big Friendly Giant (BFG)
  • Clothing: Beatrice’s bee dress
  • Toy: Rocking donkey

Join in the banter and please leave your comments below.

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Filed under Observations