Sunday, August 01, 2010

Frantic corybantic antics

The Goat has been busy. Too busy, in fact, to put in writing those delightful little quirks of Life in the Lands of the Sand. The latest ignominies perpetrated by that old faithful Red Triangles Bank shall, for the time being, go unblogged. So too shall the Goat's most recent experiences with Itisalot.

Most of the Goat's frantic lifestyle derives from living in the Crumbling Villa and working in Abu Dhabi. This eats up about 14 hours a day, leaving six for sleeping and the remaining five for shopping, eating, cleaning, blogging and shoring up the Villa's most urgent crumbles. Yes, that does add up to more than 24, which illustrates the point.

Since commenting on a previous blog post about how the commute was made marginally more tolerable by having the BBC World Service on the radio, the Goat was astonished one evening to encounter classical music on 87.9MHz instead of 'Outlook'. He actually phoned the radio station broadcasting this music to be told that "We've stolen the frequency from the BBC. Shhh!"

It turns out that without notice, Auntie Beeb - or at least the Foreign Office, which apparently is the entity that funds the World Service - stopped renting the VHF band in the UAE, and listeners are obliged to use Short Wave on a variety of frequencies that change throughout the day. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Classic FM broadcasts on 87.9MHz in Dubai, 91.6MHz in Abu Dhabi and 105.2MHz in Al Ain. Although until last week the Abu Dhabi signal was so feeble it was amost inaudible even in the Capital.

Classic FM in the UK was once described by one of the presenters as "A rock-music station that plays classical rather than rock music." Is Abu Dhabi Classic FM essentially the same station? Certainly the station's theme tune is the same, and the playlist generally comprises bite-size chunks of mostly well-known pieces of music composed mainly by dead guys in wigs. Cue Monty Python's "Decomposing Composers" song.

Not that the Goat is complaining. It beats the pants off boom-tsch boom-tsch boom-tsch boom-tsch and tech-tech-tech-techno pop, and takes some of the sting out of the daily commute. Longer tunes mean a lower deejay/music ratio, and this is generally a Good Thing.

Some observations. Three-in-a-row plays take about 20 minutes, and then there's a distinct lack of back-announcing by the deejay. What was that tune? It sounded like Mozart, or one of that crowd (thank you Tom Lehrer), but from which five-act opera that he wrote when he was nine? It is immensely irritating to get to the end of a long series of pieces, only then to cut to the news or other public announcement.

And to the presenters: please, please, please note: Playing classical guitar is not something John Williams does while he's not conducting the Boston Pops. John Towner Williams wrote the music for Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Schlindler's List, ET, Harry Potter and Superman; John Christopher Williams is the guitarist and former member of Sky.

Finally, the cacophone is a theoretical musical instrument that should not be given any air time. Its name is derived from either of two origins; possibly both. Experimental music, including playing all the black notes at the same time, torturing tuneless scratching out of a violin, and beating a trombone with a hockey stick, have no place in the Goat's music collection.

Oh, and the Goat's musical taste is somewhat eclectic. Look at the screenshot from his Facebook page.



samuraisam said...

thanks for removing that post from the uae community blog!

Anonymous said...

World Service is still available on 90.3 FM in Abu Dhabi, fades a bit once into Dubai.

But I never understood why it is only in English between 9am and 6pm. Surely there's room to give us it in English 24/7 and Arabic on another frequency?


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