The Straits will play a free show on Friday night at Destination Village on the Corniche Breakwater from 9pm.
The Straits will play a free show on Friday night at Destination Village on the Corniche Breakwater from 9pm.

Cruise by for a free concert by The Straits on Friday

Original Dire Straits keyboardist Alan Clark and saxophonist Chris White have joined a growing list of musicians performing as part of the Abu Dhabi leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. The duo are coming with The Straits, a tribute act dedicated to the former best-selling group and will play a free concert at Destination Village on the Corniche Breakwater on Friday night. However Clark states The Straits are not merely a cover band. Speaking en route to Abu Dhabi, he says the seven-member group attempts to recreate the same eclectic live atmosphere that made Dire Straits one of the most revered rock bands on stage.

How does it feel to be back on stage playing all those classic hits again?

It felt rather good actually. After all the time of not being involved in Dire Straits we are all really enjoying it. This band is so damn good and we enjoy playing together and there is such a great body of music to play that it is all going terribly well.

How do The Straits perform the tracks? Are they straight covers?

I am treating this way we treated every incarnation of Dire Straits in the past. In other words when Dire Straits got back together every year to record a new record or tour the music will be refreshed with new arrangements and ideas on how to play the track. So I made The Straits and extension of that. We are not standing still, we are taking the music and letting it mature and progress and take its natural course.

How did The Straits begin?

Chris White and I and John Isley from Dire Straits ended up playing with some friends in Italy a couple of years ago and we had such a good fun that it planted the idea in my head. Then I was asked to put a show together for charity event at the Royal Albert Hall in May last year, so I started thinking about putting this band together for that show and that is exactly what happened. The show went down extremely well so we just kept going.

You found your singer Terence Reis online?

I found Terence on the internet, which is wear I find most things these days! When I first heard Terence - well, it was his voice - he was singing a Dire Straits song and whoever was playing the guitar was doing a damn fine job of it and I was hoping it was him and it turned out it was.

Was he recommended to you or did you stumble upon him online?

It was kind of a random search because I realised in order to make this band happen, we had to have someone that will directly replace (Dire Straits singer and guitarist) Mark Knopfler. Some guys in the band thought we shouldn't attempt to do that but I thought the only way it was ever going to work was to find someone who can stand there and do what Mark Knopfler does. So I started looking and it didn’t take that long to find Terrence surprisingly enough.

I can imagine the venues The Straits are playing are smaller than the arenas Dire Straits regularly packed out.

We are playing the same gigs that we were playing as Dire Straits when I joined the band in 1981. We are doing big theaters as opposed to large arenas. When you play in a theatre you have more of an intimate contact with every one. I remember the complete opposite of that when walking out to Wembley Arena when there is a hundred thousand people and you wonder how on earth you are going to project to the people in the back because they are 150 yards away. So it is actually better to play to a smaller crowd.

In that case do you support Mark Knopfler's decision to quit Dire Straits? He said the band became too big.

Well it might have got too big for him but not to me. It was big but that was the natural course of things and it could have got bigger maybe, I don’t know.

Has Knopfler been to any of The Strait’s shows?

No he hasn’t been to any of the gigs.

What do you think his reaction would be to seeing The Straits live?

I am sure if he did come to the gigs he would be extremely happy at the way we are dealing with the heritage of Dire Straits and the way we are playing the songs. He hasn’t come and I haven't spoken to him about it but I am sure he would have researched what we are doing and I’m sure he’s happy.

The Straits will play a free show on Friday night at the Destination Village on Corniche Breakwater from 9pm. For details go to


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Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

School counsellors on mental well-being

Schools counsellors in Abu Dhabi have put a number of provisions in place to help support pupils returning to the classroom next week.

Many children will resume in-person lessons for the first time in 10 months and parents previously raised concerns about the long-term effects of distance learning.

Schools leaders and counsellors said extra support will be offered to anyone that needs it. Additionally, heads of years will be on hand to offer advice or coping mechanisms to ease any concerns.

“Anxiety this time round has really spiralled, more so than from the first lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Priya Mitchell, counsellor at The British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi.

“Some have got used to being at home don’t want to go back, while others are desperate to get back.

“We have seen an increase in depressive symptoms, especially with older pupils, and self-harm is starting younger.

“It is worrying and has taught us how important it is that we prioritise mental well-being.”

Ms Mitchell said she was liaising more with heads of year so they can support and offer advice to pupils if the demand is there.

The school will also carry out mental well-being checks so they can pick up on any behavioural patterns and put interventions in place to help pupils.

At Raha International School, the well-being team has provided parents with assessment surveys to see how they can support students at home to transition back to school.

“They have created a Well-being Resource Bank that parents have access to on information on various domains of mental health for students and families,” a team member said.

“Our pastoral team have been working with students to help ease the transition and reduce anxiety that [pupils] may experience after some have been nearly a year off campus.

"Special secondary tutorial classes have also focused on preparing students for their return; going over new guidelines, expectations and daily schedules.”

How to help

Donate towards food and a flight by transferring money to this registered charity's account.

Account name: Dar Al Ber Society

Account Number: 11 530 734

IBAN: AE 9805 000 000 000 11 530 734

Bank Name: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

To ensure that your contribution reaches these people, please send the copy of deposit/transfer receipt to:


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Sept 16: Pakistan v Qualifier (Dubai)

Sept 17: Sri Lanka v Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi)

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  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

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Little notes: My girls often find a letter from me, with a joke, task or some instructions for the afternoon, and saying what I’m excited for when I get home.
Phone call check-in: My kids know that at 3.30pm I’ll be free for a quick chat.
Highs and lows: Instead of a “how was your day?”, at dinner or at bathtime we share three highlights; one thing that didn’t go so well; and something we’re looking forward to.
I start, you next: In the morning, I often start a little Lego project or drawing, and ask them to work on it while I’m gone, then we’ll finish it together.
Bedtime connection: Wake up and sleep time are important moments. A snuggle, some proud words, listening, a story. I can’t be there every night, but I can start the day with them.
Undivided attention: Putting the phone away when I get home often means sitting in the car to send a last email, but leaving it out of sight between home time and bedtime means you can connect properly.
Demystify, don’t demonise your job: Help them understand what you do, where and why. Show them your workplace if you can, then it’s not so abstract when you’re away - they’ll picture you there. Invite them into your “other” world so they know more about the different roles you have.


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