and the Press pack compete with one another to ask questions, and take the best photographs. The trick is not to ask any important questions unless you really must, because the journalist sitting next to you will pinch the reply, and it'll be in their newspaper the following day. It's essential to bide ones time in the hope of getting a one-to-one with the person everyone's questioning.
There was no chance of this happening at the Black Eyed Peas Press conference I attended last week. It was held at Virgin Megastore in Deira City Centre, and it was complete bedlam. Due to start at 12:00p.m, I showed up on time. Unfortunately, the BEP's decided to show up at 1:30p.m, by which time the entire Press pack gathered were growling. As the gentlemen and ladies of the Press stewed, refreshments were distributed in an attempt to quell a full scale revolt. Drinks were welcome, but a message to the young guy serving: don't throw bottles of water at people. Thankfully the photographer you knocked out with that misplaced throw of yours wasn't with City Times.
Unlike the Press, the couple of hundred youngsters who had also turned up were in no mood to be angry. They seemed quite happy to be kept hanging. Anticipation is a powerful sensation, I guess.
Throughout the tedious hour and a half wait, there were a number of false alarms. As soon as one kid shouted: "There they are," screams would resonate around the store. It's remarkable how such tiny children can have such powerfully developed lungs.
There were five false alarms. I'm not sure, but I think it could have been attributed to the young, good looking, well groomed, trendy chap who came in and out of the store. Every time the screams sounded, he was there.
With five false alarms, I thought that perhaps the kids in attendance wouldn't have the energy — let alone the lung capacity — to keep it up. All the time the little blighters had been holding back. When the band did finally show up the kids almost brought the mall down. Children were screaming and crying, waving posters and trying to get autographs. One small girl stood out from the crowd, because she was the only one not doing the above. However, it was only when she sat down at the head table that I realised she was Fergie from the band. She's tiny, but I can confirm extremely pretty.
Now, I would like to point something out to the organisers of the event at this stage. Children and journalists don't get on at the best of times. At a Press conference this increases ten fold. It was impossible for anyone to ask questions of the group. And another thing, why did the group only stay for five minutes. Waiting an hour and a half for five minutes, only to come away with nothing is pushing it a bit, don't you think?
Staying with the Peas, I went to the concert (you can read the full review in today's City Times). However, in short I think I must be getting a little old. It is obvious to me that at twenty-five (stop kidding yourself — Ed.) hip hop has passed me by. As the warm up band sang and danced about on stage I hoped that the Peas would be a whole lot better. That was until I realised they were the Peas.
Anyway, enough of the BEP's. The other Press conference was great. Held in the Movenpick Hotel to open the Thai food and cultural festival, the hotel management decided to hold the conference in the hotel's kitchen. A little risky I thought, but they carried it off with aplomb. Part of the kitchen was cordoned off, and was decorated with Thai bits and bobs. The conference came complete with that country's food and beverages including, Thai fish cakes, chicken satay with peanut sauce and lemon grass juice. This reporter was stuffed. I also managed to cover my entire shirt in sweet chilli sauce. It isn't really the done thing to attempt to interview Thai dignitaries with a mouthful of food and bright red patches on a white shirt, but at least I tried.
Country's PMI reaches 57 in November
The project also features, at a height of 263 metres, the highest solar energy tower on the planet
The official reception ceremonies include a 21-gun artillery salute in honour of the visit and a flypast by the UAE Air Force aerobatics team Al Fursan