Not hitting the right notes takes a lot of work, too



The wide-eyed boy slowly takes off his hat, wringing it tragically between his hands: "At last, one morning, I became - another's lovesick boy!" The audience, composed mainly of proud parents, smile fondly and go wild at the innocent-looking Casanova's rendition of When First My Old, Old Love I Knew, written by Gilbert and Sullivan. Our school held a concert called Rule Britannia a few days ago, celebrating the best of British music from pre-baroque to contemporary. It's delightful to see what wonderful performances teenagers can deliver if they take up music, keeping every listener spellbound and managing to make them forget their worries for an evening.

Music is certainly a large part of most teenagers' lives. We waste hours on Spotify on the pretence of doing some homework on the computer. Any parent will have sniffed about how the juddering drum beats emanating from their teenager's music system are going to make them deaf one day. Other parents would have wistfully replied that for all intents and purposes, their teenager might already be deaf; they yell themselves hoarse asking their youthful charges to come down for dinner before marching up to yank off headphones.

Given their love for anything that makes a noise or annoys everyone in the vicinity, it's a wonder more teenagers don't take up an instrument or singing. Being the source of your own cacophony is far more satisfying than simply switching on your speakers. Now you're learning time-management, doing a creative extracurricular and, at least in your mother's opinion, are no doubt going to become the next Joshua Bell.

If you have mean neighbours - mine are lovely people, by the way - the most efficient way to drive them crazy is to become a beginner violinist or French horn player. If they've been especially grumpy, practise the opening phrase of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony repeatedly, fortissimo, at midnight. If they've sent over a batch of freshly baked biscuits, lay down the bow for a break. It's Pavlovian conditioning - they'll learn to switch on the oven the moment the first crotchet crashes out.

I started playing the classical guitar years ago and would thoroughly recommend the learning curve. Through plenty of hard work, I gradually developed into a virtuoso in the art of inventing believable tales as to why I had forgotten to practise. These included medical appointments, the dog ate my music score, I thought I was too lowly a creature to even attempt such a great, divine masterpiece - Mauro Giuliani wouldn't have wanted me to lower his composition's standard. At least I taxed my brain to think of lots of different excuses to escape the hard work and callus-inducing technical exercises. See, music fosters the imagination even when you are being lazy.

Besides, there is nothing more exhilarating than a piece that draws you, in a whirlwind of richness and rippling strings, into the colourful world of Mozart, Bach or Chopin and after hours of slogging, transforms from pedantic to splendidly awe-inspiring.

The writer is a 17-year-old student in Dubai

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Prop idols

Girls full-contact rugby may be in its infancy in the Middle East, but there are already a number of role models for players to look up to.

Sophie Shams (Dubai Exiles mini, England sevens international)

An Emirati student who is blazing a trail in rugby. She first learnt the game at Dubai Exiles and captained her JESS Primary school team. After going to study geophysics at university in the UK, she scored a sensational try in a cup final at Twickenham. She has played for England sevens, and is now contracted to top Premiership club Saracens.

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Seren Gough-Walters (Sharjah Wanderers mini, Wales rugby league international)

Few players anywhere will have taken a more circuitous route to playing rugby on Sky Sports. Gough-Walters was born in Al Wasl Hospital in Dubai, raised in Sharjah, did not take up rugby seriously till she was 15, has a master’s in global governance and ethics, and once worked as an immigration officer at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi. In the summer of 2021 she played for Wales against England in rugby league, in a match that was broadcast live on TV.

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Erin King (Dubai Hurricanes mini, Ireland sevens international)

Aged five, Australia-born King went to Dubai Hurricanes training at The Sevens with her brothers. She immediately struck up a deep affection for rugby. She returned to the city at the end of last year to play at the Dubai Rugby Sevens in the colours of Ireland in the Women’s World Series tournament on Pitch 1.

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3pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,000m, Winner: AF Thobor, Szczepan Mazur, Ernst Oertel.

3.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 2,000m, Winner: AF Mezmar, Szczepan Mazur, Ernst Oertel.

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4.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,700m, Winner: Ajaj, Bernardo Pinheiro, Mohamed Daggash.

What is Diwali?

The Hindu festival is at once a celebration of the autumn harvest and the triumph of good over evil, as outlined in the Ramayana.

According to the Sanskrit epic, penned by the sage Valmiki, Diwali marks the time that the exiled king Rama – a mortal with superhuman powers – returned home to the city of Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, after vanquishing the 10-headed demon Ravana and conquering his kingdom of Lanka. The people of Ayodhya are believed to have lit thousands of earthen lamps to illuminate the city and to guide the royal family home.

In its current iteration, Diwali is celebrated with a puja to welcome the goodness of prosperity Lakshmi (an incarnation of Sita) into the home, which is decorated with diyas (oil lamps) or fairy lights and rangoli designs with coloured powder. Fireworks light up the sky in some parts of the word, and sweetmeats are made (or bought) by most households. It is customary to get new clothes stitched, and visit friends and family to exchange gifts and greetings.  

 

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Adele: The Stories Behind The Songs
Caroline Sullivan
Carlton Books

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Company name: OneOrder
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Producer: Maddock Films, Jio Movies
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Rating: 4/5

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The biog

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Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

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Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

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