An Ode to Dubai


An Ode to Dubai

WHETHER YOU’VE grown up in Dubai, been living here for a couple of years or just arrived to make a home for yourself, you’ll find some useful words of advice in Dubai 92’s rendition of the song Everybody’s Free...

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Published: Wed 13 Aug 2008, 12:43 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:50 PM

...(To Wear Sunscreen), called ‘Class of 2008.’ What was originally an essay in the Chicago Tribune in 1997, soon became a UK number one single in 1999 by Australian film director Baz Luhrmann. An interesting fact is that the song is a mix of the essay, with a remix of the song Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good), used in Luhrmann’s 1996 film, Romeo & Juliet.

When Tom Bushell of Dubai 92 played the original on the radio, he realised that creating a version that applied to Dubai wouldn’t be difficult, and asked listeners if they had any words of advice that they would include.

After some useful feedback, Tom and Dan Marsh, another well known DJ on the station, wrote the lyrics, and had the station’s Creative Producer Clint Lucas work his magic using a Seattlebased voiceover artist to create Team 92’s ‘Class of 2008.’ Once released, ‘Class of 2008’ sparked a lot of interest among listeners. Positive feedback has been rising as listeners can relate to the lyrics and are entertained by the song.

More so, since the song’s debut, more and more listeners have been contacting Dubai 92 in order to find out how to get a copy of the track, which is currently downloadable from

The song begins as the original, advising listeners to use sunscreen, then evolving into a lecture of sorts on how to live and what to expect in Dubai, with a couple of promotional words for Dubai 92 in the mix.

Both DJs have not been living in Dubai for longer than a year and a half, however are very satisfied with their experience here.

When asked, Dan’s favourite lyrics are: Where do you come from? / Do you like it here? / How long are you staying? / These are questions you will probably be asked daily / Learn to answer them honestly, if not creatively.

He says he wishes he could give some bizarre and extravagant answer to these each time he’s asked, but invariably ends up giving the same “England/Yes/As long as I can” answer.

Tom’s favourite lyrics are: Live in Uptown Mirdiff once, but leave before it makes you hard / Live in Dubai Marina once, but leave before it makes you soft.

The boys think this is one of the strongest links to the original song — yet also the most defining in contrast to the US setting of Baz Luhrmann’s version.

The DJs stated it would be interesting to know if the lyrics could apply five years from now.

While giving advice, the song also ridicules certain aspects of Dubai such as the myriad of Emirates Airline Volvo cars on Garhoud bridge, the fast driving, how frustrating it is to make calls during Eid.

Strong messages are given including appre ciating the present, respecting everyone, learning to serve yourself, enjoying getting lost between Dubai’s ever growing infrastructure, considering the concept of being green and for those of you having a hard time socially–hiding those inevitable sweat patches.

Tom says that he can particularly relate to this line, “I’ve had to de-tag a number of Facebook photos due to that little problem, but have now learnt to always stick to light t-shirts!” In Dan’s own words, the song “captures the attention of listeners, is fun and positive.” Tom found it amazing to note that many listeners said the song had “literally described” their last however many years in Dubai. The good and the bad. If you’re having the time of your life, or if you’re questioning how you’re still alive, remember one line that should increase your appreciation: Not everyone gets to live in Dubai, respect it, enjoy it and understand that we are the lucky ones!

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