Old-school technology like vinyl records are appealing to a young audience who never experienced them first time around. Photo: Francois Monier / AFP
Old-school technology like vinyl records are appealing to a young audience who never experienced them first time around. Photo: Francois Monier / AFP

Hominis ex machina

In a world run by numbers, some, it seems, still hanker to inject a tiny bit of uncertainty; a bit of dust on the lens, a bit of sand beneath the feet, a bit of grit in the ointment. That could explain why, despite all the evidence that projecting motion pictures digitally is far easier, cheaper and less prone to malfunctions, a group of Hollywood studios has announced a deal with Kodak to continue making celluloid for cinema projection.

It explains why car manufacturers continue to produce manual transmission options – even on high-end models, and why vinyl records are still available in the era of MP3s. And it explains why every cameraphone, as well as apps like Instagram, includes filters that can give crisp, clear digital photos the sheen and tint of pictures taken on old-time film.

What is it about this love of analogue in a digital age? What is it that makes people – particularly, it appears, the young – see imprecision as authentic, when they are surrounded by digital precision. It cannot be mere nostalgia, because most of those filtering their photos to look like the 1970s were not even born then. Instead, it must be a feeling that imperfection is human, that while there is beauty in perfect function, there is also humanity in imperfect form. When machines control everything, it is nice, once in a while, to feel the humanity in the machine.

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Director: Peyton Reed

Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors

Rating: 2/5


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Fight Night


Four title fights:

Amir Khan v Billy Dib - WBC International title
Hughie Fury v Samuel Peter - Heavyweight co-main event  
Dave Penalosa v Lerato Dlamini - WBC Silver title
Prince Patel v Michell Banquiz - IBO World title

Six undercard bouts:

Michael Hennessy Jr v Abdul Julaidan Fatah
Amandeep Singh v Shakhobidin Zoirov
Zuhayr Al Qahtani v Farhad Hazratzada
Lolito Sonsona v Isack Junior
Rodrigo Caraballo v Sajid Abid
Ali Kiydin v Hemi Ahio

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

Company profile

Company: Wafeq
Started: January 2019
Founder: Nadim Alameddine
Based: Dubai, UAE
software as a service
Funds raised: $3 million
Investors: Raed Ventures and Wamda, among others

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September