There's no business like show business - except politics



A friend of mine, the scion of a legendary entertainment industry family, once used a great piece of old-timey show business jargon to describe a recent Broadway production.

"It was too 'centre door fancy' for me," he said with a shrug.

Centre door fancy? I'd never heard that expression before, and I pride myself on collecting - and using - odd and anachronistic show business slang. I drop it into conversations to appear worldly and experienced. That's the trick of getting old gracefully - you can't really fight it, so you have to do it in a cool way.

It's an affectation, I know, but when I talk to young people just starting out in the entertainment business, I salt my conversation with hard-bitten, Rat-Pack-tinged jargon. Phrases like "hang a lantern on it" - which means, essentially, calling obvious attention to an unbelievable plot coincidence in an effort to make it seem less cheap and flawed. Then there's "too much sunny Spain", which means too much exposition, as in a Shakespeare play when two characters walk onstage and announce, "Here we are in sunny Spain!" to let the audience know where they are. And I'm partial to the phrase "too Mousetrap" to describe anything overly complicated and hard to explain in a story.

All of these make me sound like a wily, seen-it-all old-timer. Which I almost am. I even refer to movies as "pictures", like one of those old-timey movie moguls.

When my Hollywood-born friend used "centre door fancy," it was new to me, though it wasn't hard to figure out what he meant: the show was a little overdone, a little overproduced, a little too perfect. Nice looking, but too nice looking.

The solution to being too "centre door fancy" is to "throw it away", a phrase I heard a lot from an older, hugely successful television director I worked with. He'd approach an actor after a take, think for a moment, and then say, "You know what? Try this. Just … throw it away."

He meant: don't work so hard. Don't push it so much. Just throw the line away and it'll work better.

It's almost impossible to imagine this kind of jargon working in any other business.

It's just not imaginable, for instance, for a lawyer to write in a United States Supreme Court brief that the lower court reasoning seems a little too "centre door fancy". It's hard to wrap my head around the possibility that right before he makes his first incision into a patient's brain, the nurse will remind the neurosurgeon that he really should just "throw it away". And I have yet to meet the CFO who looks at the miserable quarterly performance of his company and decides to "hang a lantern" on it.

Every other business just seems too consequential and concrete, too sturdy and fact-based, to need a silly language of its own. Investment banking has its "workouts" and its "short squeezes". The energy business has "fracking" and "wildcatting". Dentistry has its "canals" and its "temporary crowns". All of these seem more purposeful and adult than "centre door fancy". They all seem more, well, businesslike.

Every business, that is, except for the only business more frivolous and spendthrift than the entertainment industry - the capricious mess called "American politics."

What can you say about the Obama presidential campaign, with every press release touting the unemployment rate and every joyful announcement that his approval rating is now around 48 per cent, but that he and his team are doing a very good job "hanging a lantern" on some otherwise grim milestones?

And how else could you describe the chaos now unfolding in the frigid states of Iowa and New Hampshire - the sites of the first two primary elections among Republicans selecting a candidate to face Barack Obama in the fall - except that the front-runner, Mitt Romney, seems a little too "centre door fancy" for a lot of voters.

On second thought, why single out US politicians? They are not uniquely suited for entertainment industry slang. For instance, try as she might, it's hard to think of hapless, desperate German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her frantic attempts to shore up the euro without thinking, "I don't know. Seems a bit 'too Mousetrap' to me".

Show business may be a frivolous enterprise filled with inconsequential people, but at least we've got a colourful vocabulary. Not every business can say the same thing.

Rob Long is a writer and producer based in Hollywood.

2017 RESULTS: FRENCH VOTERS IN UK

First round
Emmanuel Macron: 51.1%
Francois Fillon: 24.2%
Jean-Luc Melenchon: 11.8%
Benoit Hamon: 7.0%
Marine Le Pen: 2.9%

Second round
Emmanuel Macron: 95.1%
Marine Le Pen: 4.9%

Neymar's bio

Total club appearances 411

Total goals scored 241

Appearances for Barca 186

Goals scored for Barca 105

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Mozn

Started: 2017

Founders: Mohammed Alhussein, Khaled Al Ghoneim, Abdullah Alsaeed and Malik Alyousef

Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Industry: FinTech

Funding: $10 million

Investors: Raed Ventures, Shorooq Partners, VentureSouq, Sukna Ventures and others

Essentials
The flights

Return flights from Dubai to Windhoek, with a combination of Emirates and Air Namibia, cost from US$790 (Dh2,902) via Johannesburg.
The trip
A 10-day self-drive in Namibia staying at a combination of the safari camps mentioned – Okonjima AfriCat, Little Kulala, Desert Rhino/Damaraland, Ongava – costs from $7,000 (Dh25,711) per person, including car hire (Toyota 4x4 or similar), but excluding international flights, with The Luxury Safari Company.
When to go
The cooler winter months, from June to September, are best, especially for game viewing. 

Kamindu Mendis bio

Full name: Pasqual Handi Kamindu Dilanka Mendis

Born: September 30, 1998

Age: 20 years and 26 days

Nationality: Sri Lankan

Major teams Sri Lanka's Under 19 team

Batting style: Left-hander

Bowling style: Right-arm off-spin and slow left-arm orthodox (that's right!)

Where to submit a sample

Volunteers of all ages can submit DNA samples at centres across Abu Dhabi, including: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre+(Adnec), Biogenix Labs in Masdar City, NMC Royal Hospital in Khalifa City, NMC Royal Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi, NMC Royal Women's Hospital, Bareen International Hospital, Al Towayya in Al Ain, NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain

WHAT MACRO FACTORS ARE IMPACTING META TECH MARKETS?

• Looming global slowdown and recession in key economies

• Russia-Ukraine war

• Interest rate hikes and the rising cost of debt servicing

• Oil price volatility

• Persisting inflationary pressures

• Exchange rate fluctuations

• Shortage of labour/skills

• A resurgence of Covid?

The specs

Price, base: Dh228,000 / Dh232,000 (est)
Engine: 5.7-litre Hemi V8
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 395hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque: 552Nm
Fuel economy, combined: 12.5L / 100km

The specs: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA

Price, base / as tested Dh150,900 / Dh173,600

Engine 2.0L inline four-cylinder

Transmission Seven-speed automatic

Power 211hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque 350Nm @ 1,200rpm

Fuel economy, combined 6.4L / 100km

Match info

Uefa Champions League Group F

Manchester City v Hoffenheim, midnight (Wednesday, UAE)

Bahrain GP

Friday qualifying: 7pm (8pm UAE)

Saturday race: 7pm (UAE)

TV: BeIN Sports

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

How it works

1) The liquid nanoclay is a mixture of water and clay that aims to convert desert land to fertile ground

2) Instead of water draining straight through the sand, it apparently helps the soil retain water

3) One application is said to last five years

4) The cost of treatment per hectare (2.4 acres) of desert varies from $7,000 to $10,000 per hectare 

Quick pearls of wisdom

Focus on gratitude: And do so deeply, he says. “Think of one to three things a day that you’re grateful for. It needs to be specific, too, don’t just say ‘air.’ Really think about it. If you’re grateful for, say, what your parents have done for you, that will motivate you to do more for the world.”

Know how to fight: Shetty married his wife, Radhi, three years ago (he met her in a meditation class before he went off and became a monk). He says they’ve had to learn to respect each other’s “fighting styles” – he’s a talk it-out-immediately person, while she needs space to think. “When you’re having an argument, remember, it’s not you against each other. It’s both of you against the problem. When you win, they lose. If you’re on a team you have to win together.” 

Itcan profile

Founders: Mansour Althani and Abdullah Althani

Based: Business Bay, with offices in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and India

Sector: Technology, digital marketing and e-commerce

Size: 70 employees 

Revenue: On track to make Dh100 million in revenue this year since its 2015 launch

Funding: Self-funded to date

 

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

'The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting up a Generation for Failure' ​​​​
Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, Penguin Randomhouse

Name: Peter Dicce

Title: Assistant dean of students and director of athletics

Favourite sport: soccer

Favourite team: Bayern Munich

Favourite player: Franz Beckenbauer

Favourite activity in Abu Dhabi: scuba diving in the Northern Emirates 

 

if you go

The flights
Fly direct to Kutaisi with Flydubai from Dh925 return, including taxes. The flight takes 3.5 hours. From there, Svaneti is a four-hour drive. The driving time from Tbilisi is eight hours.
The trip
The cost of the Svaneti trip is US$2,000 (Dh7,345) for 10 days, including food, guiding, accommodation and transfers from and to ­Tbilisi or Kutaisi. This summer the TCT is also offering a 5-day hike in Armenia for $1,200 (Dh4,407) per person. For further information, visit www.transcaucasiantrail.org/en/hike/

THE SCORES

Ireland 125 all out

(20 overs; Stirling 72, Mustafa 4-18)

UAE 125 for 5

(17 overs, Mustafa 39, D’Silva 29, Usman 29)

UAE won by five wickets

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: PlanRadar
Started: 2013
Co-founders: Ibrahim Imam, Sander van de Rijdt, Constantin Köck, Clemens Hammerl, Domagoj Dolinsek
Based: Vienna, Austria
Sector: Construction and real estate
Current number of staff: 400+
Investment stage: Series B
Investors: Headline, Berliner Volksbank Ventures, aws Gründerfonds, Cavalry Ventures, Proptech1, Russmedia, GR Capital

Tank warfare

Lt Gen Erik Petersen, deputy chief of programs, US Army, has argued it took a+“three decade holiday” on modernising tanks. 

“There clearly remains a significant armoured heavy ground manoeuvre threat in this world and maintaining a world class armoured force is absolutely vital,” the general said in London last week.

“We are developing next generation capabilities to compete with and deter adversaries to prevent opportunism or miscalculation, and, if necessary, defeat any foe decisively.”

McLaren GT specs

Engine: 4-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: seven-speed

Power: 620bhp

Torque: 630Nm

Price: Dh875,000

On sale: now

STAR WARS JEDI: SURVIVOR

Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Consoles: PC, Playstation 5, Xbox Series X and S
Rating: 4/5

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Meatless Days
Sara Suleri, with an introduction by Kamila Shamsie
​​​​​​​Penguin 

Company profile

Name: Maly Tech
Started: 2023
Founder: Mo Ibrahim
Based: Dubai International Financial Centre
Sector: FinTech
Funds raised: $1.6 million
Current number of staff: 15
Investment stage: Pre-seed, planning first seed round
Investors: GCC-based angel investors

CABINET OF CURIOSITIES EPISODE 1: LOT 36

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Tim Blake Nelson, Sebastian Roche, Elpidia Carrillo
Rating: 4/5

UNSC Elections 2022-23

Seats open:

  • Two for Africa Group
  • One for Asia-Pacific Group (traditionally Arab state or Tunisia)
  • One for Latin America and Caribbean Group
  • One for Eastern Europe Group

Countries so far running: 

  • UAE
  • Albania 
  • Brazil 
What is 'Soft Power'?

Soft power was first mentioned in 1990 by former US Defence Secretary Joseph Nye. 
He believed that there were alternative ways of cultivating support from other countries, instead of achieving goals using military strength. 
Soft power is, at its root, the ability to convince other states to do what you want without force. 
This is traditionally achieved by proving that you share morals and values.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a form of distributed ledger technology, a digital system in which data is recorded across multiple places at the same time. Unlike traditional databases, DLTs have no central administrator or centralised data storage. They are transparent because the data is visible and, because they are automatically replicated and impossible to be tampered with, they are secure.

The main difference between blockchain and other forms of DLT is the way data is stored as ‘blocks’ – new transactions are added to the existing ‘chain’ of past transactions, hence the name ‘blockchain’. It is impossible to delete or modify information on the chain due to the replication of blocks across various locations.

Blockchain is mostly associated with cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Due to the inability to tamper with transactions, advocates say this makes the currency more secure and safer than traditional systems. It is maintained by a network of people referred to as ‘miners’, who receive rewards for solving complex mathematical equations that enable transactions to go through.

However, one of the major problems that has come to light has been the presence of illicit material buried in the Bitcoin blockchain, linking it to the dark web.

Other blockchain platforms can offer things like smart contracts, which are automatically implemented when specific conditions from all interested parties are reached, cutting the time involved and the risk of mistakes. Another use could be storing medical records, as patients can be confident their information cannot be changed. The technology can also be used in supply chains, voting and has the potential to used for storing property records.

RoboCop: Rogue City

Developer: Teyon
Publisher: Nacon
Console: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC
Rating: 3/5