Friday, January 29, 2010

Blaze Bayley - Promise And Terror

This album is on its way to be delivered in my home post box. The reason I am looking forward to this album is because it has been recorded by the same band who did "The Man Who Would Not Die", my favorite album for 2008.

I mentioned that before, didn't I?

I listened to three songs from Promise and Terror, and believe me, this album is exactly the same as it predecessor, and maybe better. In addition, all the articles I read about the album gave positive review as describing it as being tight, powerful, dark and really heavy.

Will this album be on top of my 2010 albums? that remain to be seen.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Arabic Books in Amsterdam

Some refer to it as not a good commercial idea, but my visit to a district in Paris where a number of Arabic bookshops located there – they were closed by the time I arrived, I was a bit early, so I waited in a cafe and decided to visit the Arab Institute in Paris. I have never been there.

This institute, as I heard is the effort, financially mainly, of all Arab countries in the 1990’s. The exception was Iraq because it was under the economic and political sanctions after invading Kuwait. The building is astonishing and so huge. The library does not only have Arabic books, but also English and French, maybe more, but the number of the books and the variety was something I would spend hours in it, not to mention spending a lot of money at the end.

I bought six books from there, if someone like to know

After leaving that place and on the way to the airport I kept on wondering why there is no such a bookshop in Amsterdam? Never mind the cultural awareness thing that an Arabic Institute have in a European city, so I skip that for now, but what about a bookshop and why there is none in Amsterdam equivalent to Ibn Sina bookshop in Paris, for example?

I asked this question before and there were many answers, but all of them pour into the same pot: Arabs don’t buy books, so a bookshop will loose money. I had my suspicions then, but when I went two years ago to a Dutch bookshop to buy Saidety magazine for my mother, I asked the buyer about such a thing. By the way, Saidety is a Gulf-published magazine focusing on women’s life of all ages, in addition to celebrities and entertainment news.

The buyer was originally Turkish, he told me with frustration that only that magazine is available in Arabic, and even this magazine is hard to sell in Amsterdam, because people think that it is too expensive!

Does this means that Arabs in Amsterdam are less educated, and that their counterparts in Paris or London are more literate and more eager to spend a cent on knowledge and information?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

10 Things I Hate About Airports and Flights

airport051 .The stomach burn and the feeling of acids tearing up your stomach before or during the trip.

2. Buying a sandwich or something at an airport and the seller wears an ugly and bored face.

3. Seeing travelers at the airport or in the airport who think of themselves as God with the way they look down at other passengers.

4. I don’t mind seeing a stewardess that looks stressed with tired eyes or difficult to smile, but I hate most when a stewardess plays the strict teacher role and passengers as her naughty and lazy students.

5. I hate young boys who pick on girls during flight as if they are going to have some extraordinary romantic experience in such environment.

6. Travelling with no book or something to read is disastrous to me. I can’t get into an airplane, take my seat with no book or magazine in my hand.

7. Child crying before departure! What a dramatic situation. I know there are some parents who feel helpless, families don’t travel that often so mostly they are not prepared for such a situation, but most travelers believe that a crying child is annoying.

8. Traveling in summer and have air-conditioning switched off before departure just make blood boils inside me, especially if it has been announced that there is a delay. It didn’t happen on this flight, but I remember it happened to me a couple of times.

9. Speaking of announcements, I don’t think it is a good idea to have an airplane captain or a stewardess talking in another language unclearly. Passengers will depend on their instinct to understand what has been said through these little speakers.

10. I hate male passengers who take their shoes before and during the trip, or those who stretch forward to reach the end of the chair in front.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I kept on wondering about the reasons, why I objected my wife when she asked me if I would like to accompany her to Michael Buble’s concert? More to that, why I don’t have the mood to get a Jazz CD and play it, not in the car, but at least at home? I used to love this music genre, what went wrong? I know that mood is the main driving force that makes a person listen to a certain music style at a certain time in the day.

Why am I saying this?

For the past 30 minutes, and maybe be more I am just sitting in the parking car next to one of the most crowded and commercial shopping centers in Paris, watching people walking by or crossing the street, staring at the magnificent architecture that shaped these yellowish curves of historical Parisian buildings in front of me, and jazz music playing in the background from a French radio station called Jazz TSF JAZZ.

Guess what, they are playing Michael Buble on this radio station among many Jazz pioneers, such as Louis Armstrong.

I asked myself if I would ask my wife to go to a jazz concert, or to Bubles’ when I get back home. Yet, I still doubt it.

Maybe this is the Paris Effect!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fady Andraws

c5c33355 I was listening to the radio when I heard `Hayda Mish Ana`, a song by a singer called Fady Andraos, or Fadi Andrawos.

I never heard of this singer before, maybe because I don´t follow Star Academy, the Lebanese show where his talent became known to millions in the Arab World. 

The song is solid, an arrangement that is mainly heavy metal with Lebanese accent lyrics. There are some little gothic element in the middle of the song, I consider a little weak, but did not ruin the song. I like the chorus of the song, very catchy, not to mention the excellent guitar section of the song.

I googled Fadi, I thought he was Lebanese, no, he is Palestinian but living in Lebanon, and found a short interview of him on YouTube talking about different things… Some information on this young talented singer are

His influences are James Hatefield of Metallica, David Coverdale of Whitesnake, and Axel Rose of Guns N´Roses, among others he did not metnion

He has an album and three singles/ video clips.

He loves Lebanese legendary singer, Milhem Barakat, and would love and will be honored if he worked together with him in the future.

There are plans to do a duet with a RAP or hip hop singer.


On the last piece of info, why??

I don't know what the end result of such cooperation would be, I mean what the song would be like, but do we need a rapper here to achieve fame?

Fady, if you happen to read this, dive in more into heavy metal and hard rock, your song (and heard part of the Lebanon/Palestine song) are excellent. From what I heard, you can be a pioneer in bringing the genre to the middle east, with such talent and determination, Fadi can do that.

The voice that Fadi Andraws has is without any doubt unique. When I say unique, it means different, it means that when someone hear the voice it is easily recognized.

While listining to this song, more than once I had the feeling in certain parts of the song, especially in the lower tone singing parts that I am listening to Geoff Tate of Queensryche. It is not the same voice, of course, besides, Tate pitching high notes cannot be compared to, but in lower notes, the clarity and rawness of Fadi’s voice is extraordinary. Hey, no one knows, maybe Fadi can have a try that in the future and show people how pitching high notes as Tate does.

Keep on rocking, Fadi

Below is the video clip of the song Hayda Mish Ana

Time to go for a walk in Paris before the time of my appointment, maybe I will find Fadi’s CD in a record store!

Arriving in Paris

france-eiffel-tower last time I came here it was one year ago, it was late 2008, by car, but this time I decided to take a flight to this beautiful city. While waiting in the airport to get picked up I thought of writing this post. Paris is one of the cities I like to visit on regular basis. I never thought of moving in and live in it, but I just like to visit it at least once a year. Such trips intrigues me to check out what changes took place, on its people, the way everyone lives…etc

After I took my bag and went through customs the first thing I decided to do was to go outside and have a smoke before I came back in this huge waiting hall to start writing this post.

First observation is seeing English language adverts on different places hanging around the airport- it seems that Sarkozy’s love and affection with the US and its language has made its effect on the way French who are known for their pride of their language change the way they advertise for commercial products.

I remember seeing English language banners and adverts in my last visit and I discussed this with my people here, but it was way less to see compare it to this time and what I have seen in the past hour or so.

The trip to Paris from Amsterdam was smooth, it is only 1 hour and a half so no one would notice anything, especially people like me who like to read while going on trips. By the way, this is the first time ever that I resist what I call a personal ritual that I used to follow every time I travel: to buy a book or a magazine, maybe because in the back of my mind I thought of the length of the trip, as I said, it is just a matter of an hour and a half, or less maybe, The Guardian newspaper was sufficient as a substitute on this trip.

Talking about travelers, it sometimes surprises me when hearing two people talking non stop while on a trip. It is just amazing the energy that some people have to just talk and talk and talk with no pause in between and no care for others who, for example want to sleep or want to have some quiet time reading something. It is normal to talk, to have a conversation with your travelling partner, but to have a continuous conversation with comments on that person and the other in low voice, and in Dutch, this is some kind of annoying. Besides, who said that Dutch language is a secret language, did they think that no one would understand them? I thought half of the airplane have Dutch passengers on it.

Back to the airport, not a lot of people like to visit Paris at this time of the year, I guess, and this might be the reason not seeing a lot of people around. I don’t know if this has something to do with the economic crisis, or whether the winter-crisis that hit northern Europe had its part here too.

Actually, where I sit it looks like a train station or a big bus terminal to me, more than an international airport.  The lighting, the shops, even the faces of people roaming around, it doesn’t look like an airport.

And for the last 5 minutes, I don’t know who is the hell is fiddling with the main microphones. On the main loud speakers everyone can hear the cracks of the microphone being moved, like a cleaner is wiping the table and moving the microphone around while doing his work.

OK, that’s it for now, going for a smoke.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Amsterdam, Most Romantic City???

The last thing I could think of is to consider Amsterdam as the most romantic city in the world!! I was surprised while watching an old episode of Smallville last weekend when Lex was asking his girlfriend if she likes to go to an exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

I lived long enough to identify this beautiful city as being something but romantic. Amsterdam is a very commercial city - in spite of the decline in the number of international companies opening offices in it due to a number of reason that I am not going to discuss here. Amsterdam is a city for fun of all sorts, mainly for young adults, actually it is the city where "sex, drugs, and rock n' roll" can be perfectly applied to.

Many agree and I heard it from many visitors as well as locals that Amsterdam is not a city for families, and many families realize that the time has come to move out to another city when their kids has reached certain age.

In addition, Amsterdam to me is a symbol of a spectacular architectural beauty with its unique houses built tightly next to each other and queued on each side of the dark-gray edge colored of its canals.

It has been once said that it is the only city in the world where all languages in the world is spoken, and I am talking about people who are living in the city and not tourists who come and go. If I am not exaggerating, 90% of Amsterdam inhabitants nowadays are originally from countries all around the world.

Speaking of languages, the dominant language any observer can hear most is Spanish - I think more than English itself. There are a lot of Spanish youth roaming the streets day and night. I would simply see there is harmony in the relationship between the two, because Dutch too love to go to Spain a lot - Even men and women who are retired from work, they go and buy a house in Spain because of the sun mainly.

There are a plenty of places in Amsterdam but my favorite one still to this day is Kalverstraat. I used to go for a walk on that very long street every Saturday. It is one of the most crowded street (if not the most) in all Amsterdam, pedestrians are only allowed to use that street - the police will stop you and maybe fine you if caught riding a bicycle on through that street.

Yet, on a second thought one can argue that all what mentioned above can in fact make Amsterdam a romantic city, depending on the definition of romance, but would such a definition can be equal when taking a city such as Paris as being a romantic city? or maybe Rome?

Image by liketobite

Monday, January 11, 2010

Not Fully Fit, But Doing OK

I am back! still alive after a week of trying to recover from the fall I had one day before the end of the year. On that day, very early I felt dizzy and everything around me started spinning before I lost consciousness.

Last week I spent the time trying to get a reason or an explanation for this dizziness with no success, and what made things worse is the unbearable pain started to feel in my neck and my left arm - with numb feeling of left fingers. I went to the hospital and took photos, and I am not going to talk about the procedure in hospitals and the lack of ability to diagnose sickness by specialists here in spite of the advanced technology available.

The only thing I managed to get were a number of appointments at the hospital for next month, yes, next month!! Until that time, my doctor said two things: Can't find a thing that caused me to faint, or what caused the pain in my neck. The doctor(S) also asked me to take things easy and this applies to work, driving, movement...etc

My apologies to all friends who sent me emails asking about me and I also wish everyone best wishes and that 2010 bring all wishes and dreams true.