Boris is tottering as I leave home. Clownfall has finally commenced.
He has been been lured in front of the Liaison Committee by being told that he would get shafted. While he is there, I assume, a van has driven into Downing Street to start to remove his furniture. Boris, of course, is a man who gets other people to buy his own expensive furniture.
Meanwhile a gaggle of his colleagues await to tell him it’s over- including his day old chancellor. The “sinking ships leaving the rat” as Starmer put it in PMQs.
I’m off to Dubai for four days and one gig. Dubai- like a shopping mall in a microwave, Vegas in a hijab. It’s 52c out there and anybody sane has fled to colder climes, like Rees-Mogg’s empathy.
I get to Heathrow. I’m on a British Airways flight and they have just announced the cancellation of 10.300 flights over the summer but mine, unlike Boris appears to have survived the cull.
I check in and head to the lounge where I hear that there are two opposing factions in Downing Street fighting over Boris.
It’s all going to end weirdly…
We are in the Downing Street bunker. There are 3 left- Johnson, Rees-Mogg and Dorries. On the table sits a glass of whisky and a pearl-handled revolver.
“There are two bullets” says Johnson.
Rees-Mogg unsheathes a sword from his cane and collapses, Hara-Kiri style on the point.
Dorries looks at Johnson. Her big crazy eyes fixed on his third chin.
“Let’s do this together…one last time.” She simpers…
“Wizard wheeze” says Johnson picking up the revolver and firing two bullets into her before downing the whisky.
He picks up his phone and dials..
“Pinchy, Bozza here…listen, I need a new Chancellor of the Exchequer…”
I assumed that I would be able to celebrate the political death of Boris by the time my plane took off at 21.15 and that I would throw an all-nighter but it appears that I might be kept in limbo in the air.
A news flash- Priti Patel, a woman almost literally created by Johnson announces that she wants Johnson to go.
If Johnson hangs on until tomorrow he beats Neville Chamberlain’s tenure which is snatching small victories from the jaws of defeat…
I get onto the plane..Brandon Lewis has resigned…this is Shakespearean…
As we have to turn electronics off, the BBC row back on Brandon Lewis resigning- they might as well roll the Eastenders drum roll. I’m flying on a cliffhanger. Then…a delay…ear buds back in. Bunter has sacked Gove!!! This shit is lit – where will Number Ten get their cocaine from when they’re pulling an all-nighter?
We eventually take off an hour late.
I sleep fitfully on the plane wondering what news awaits me when we land?
As we approach Dubai I spot the sorry looking remains of “The World.” This was an attempt to build a series of artificial islands shaped like the map of the world. When the project was originally announced there were reports that Rod Stewart had bought Scotland and that the Beckhams had grabbed England. But the project faltered due to the 2008 recession and there were rumours that the islands were sinking. Curiously, In 2012, the only inhabited island was Lebanon. Work has now, apparently restarted but the whole thing was very Dubai…
It’s 7.15 am when I land and the temperature is already 37c.
We are supposed to wear masks on the plane but not many do. Masks are mandatory however, in public spaces in Dubai and so everybody dons them as we de-plane.
I see a sign promoting Dubai- Land, Live, Take Off says the slogan. This is up there with Melbourne’s A Nice Place To Live for anodyne slogans. Neither, of course, are as good as the one I once offered the Belgian Tourist Board- Belgium, not as shit as you think. They never got back to me.
I join the passport queue along with my overly tattooed, fake-Louis-Vuitton-sporting fellow passengers.
I pass through a station scanning our luggage- I notice a special plastic tray, lined with loose white plastic with the words “For Holy Qu’ran only” I walk through and straight into a massive duty free area selling fine wines and spirits galore.
I exit the airport – a wall of clammy, intense heat hits me. It’s now 46c and I’m almost immediately soaking wet with sweat. It’s like a physical assault and I have very little way of fighting back.
I’m staying at Movenpick which, as far as I know is one of those weird fake international food village buffet places. I hope that they do bedrooms as well.
On the drive in I marvel at the sheer chutzpah of Dubai. The growth here is obviously remarkable and some of the buildings are borderline insane. It seems to be a place where architects go to work after taking a shitload of hallucinogenics.
“I bet you couldn’t build a fake Big Ben made of glass that bends left halfway up and has a massive hole in the middle of it?”
“Hold my beer.”
I get to my hotel, my luggage comes out of the taxi boot but my computer doesn’t. It was on the luggage trolley in the little basket. In true Mid-East tradition my driver had grabbed the trolley off me and refused to let me push it but had then left the computer on the trolley when he put my luggage in the boot.
I’m in a blind panic – the whole show is on there- the doorman at my hotel tells me not to worry.
“This is Dubai, go back to airport now. Everything will still be there.”
He seems 100% convinced by this. Me? Less so…
My driver refuses to take me back as he has another job. I briefly consider throttling him but realise that, if I get flung in jail here, my government will not help me.
Firstly, because there is no government.
Secondly, because I’ve spent the last three years slagging them off.
If Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe thought she’d had it bad from Johnson then what the hell would he not do for me?
I get a cab and the driver, a lovely Pakistani guy floors it. I get back to airport in 22 minutes but I have a sinking feeling. My show is on the computer and if I can’t find it then I’m taking song requests from the audience tomorrow night.
I run inside but ironically can’t find lost and found. Eventually I ask one of the smart information people dotted around the vast airport. They tell me it’s downstairs and I rush down.
I get to the desk and start explaining what happened.
“What type of computer sir?” Asks the woman in a headscarf and Dame Edna glasses.
“A Mac Air- silver. With a sticker of my face on it…”
“This one?” She asks, holding up my computer.
Thank Allah for mildly autocratic societies with excessive punishments for crime…
My phone beeps. Brandon Lewis has now resigned. By the time I get back to the hotel, It’s announced that Boris Johnson is stepping down. What could have been a really bad day is really taking a turn for the better.
I check into my room and then head off to do a radio interview with Catboy, a man who is neither a cat nor a boy, but who is something of a local legend in Dubai radio circles.
The interview goes very well. Catboy is a pro and has done some proper research. We chat for an hour. The only problem is that it means I miss Boris Johnson’s podium moment, the final humiliating act for every British Prime Minister.
I watch it when I got back to the hotel. It is truly terrible and typical of the narcissistic mess that is Boris Johnson. It’s full of exaggerated claims about his successes while blaming all his problems on everybody else. To cap it all he announces that he will stay on as Prime Minister until the Tories elect his successor. People are quick to point out that this is probably so he can still throw his wedding bash at Chequers, his grace and favour home. No prizes for guessing who will pay for that…a shuckster and a shyster to the very end.
It’s so crazily hot I can’t be arsed to venture outside so I hit the buffet that is Movenpick’s signature dish. Buffets are not good things for humans. Essentially our primeval instincts kick in and we, like Labradors, have no off button. Unable to decide what I want, I end up with a nonsensical international mish-mash on one plate. Peking Duck rolls jostle for space with a lamb coconut curry, a dollop of babaganoush and some cheesecake. It’s a culinary horrorscape and I retire to my room in shame.
I wake up late and wander down to reception where I have a coffee while pretending to surveil a Russian family sitting two tables away. I film them surreptitiously and start taking notes. I really get into it and end up leaving when they leave and following them into the Marina Mall. The wife eventually spots me filming and they start taking classic counter-surveillance steps by going into Victoria’s Secrets and staring at me through the window.
Public display of saucy underwear in stores is a weird paradox in the Middle East. It’s the same in Dubai’s modern, shiny malls as in their predecessors, the great souks of every Arab city. Women, often fully veiled, save for what our appalling current/ex Prime Minister called their “letter boxes” browse through racks of very racy and revealing bras and knickers.
I give up my mission and head to a Lebanese Restaurant for lunch. As I sit down, I hear that Johnson and Carrie Antoinette have now cancelled their proposed wedding bash at Chequer’s. I give it a year before she leaves him.
I have a fabulous meal at Abd el Wahab in Pier 7, a curious building on the Marina containing seven floors of very good restaurants. While not quite providing the enjoyment found in Singapore’s “Four Floors of Whores” – it comes close.
A group of Lebanese thirty somethings on the next door table gossip away flitting from Arabic into French and then English, often in mid-sentence and without hesitation, seemingly oblivious as to what a weird national trait this is.
Outside, the clouds clear for a moment and Dubai looks a little more palatable. Motorboats cruise aimlessly around the marina and couples stroll from mall to mall in the searing Arabian heat.
I got hassle online when I announced that I was doing a gig in the UAE. The country is certainly very backwards in their views on gay rights and the use of almost slave labour in a lot of the construction companies that have turned this place from a village into an international city in thirty years is a disgrace
But, while I strongly disagree with a lot of the Emirates’ policies, I’m not sure that I should not do a gig there. If I took that stance then the USA, even the UK might not pass muster…
It’s a tricky subject however and a difficult one to know where to draw the line. I’m hardly Queen playing apartheid South Africa…or maybe I am?
Back at the hotel, I read a list of quite spectacular inadequates, like Peter Bone, being brought into Government by a Prime Minister who has resigned but is still in office. Surely, in the words of every Brexit moron-
“leave means leave?”
News comes in that Durham police will not be issuing penalty notices to Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner over the Daily Mail’s toxic false equivalence campaign regarding “Beergate.”
I’m pleased, not because I’m a massive fan of Keir Starmer, but more that the Mail suffered such a defeat. I loathed Corbyn and feel that someone like Wes Streeting would do a much better job leading Labour than Starmer. But I don’t think Labour necessarily have the answers to our problems. I just want people who are not cunts running our country. I want some modicum of decency, standards and ethics back in public life. Is that too much to ask?
I do the tech run through of my show and then get ready for the performance. It is supposed to kick off at 8pm but, at 8.20, the room is just starting to fill up. This is “Dubai time” – I eventually kick off at 8.30 to a packed room and, even though I might say so myself, it goes rather well and I retire to bed happy after being taken out to a fancy restaurant by a couple of friends of friends.
The following morning, I fly home to England. Laughably, there is what passes for a heatwave. People are being warned how to survive in temperatures above 30c, train companies are warning that they will be running late services because of the heat…in Dubai these temperatures would require the donning of a coat…
The overall feeling, upon return, is of a country in crisis. We are an international laughing stock. We have been run by crooks and confidence tricksters for too long. Maybe it’s time to launch the No Cunts Party?