I've been getting very irritated by emails recently, especially from some of the leading PR firms in the region. They really seem to have hit new lows in incomprehensibility, or irrelevance, or both.
One local PR agency just cannot help itself from sending out the same email multiple times. I won't name it because I think there are actually quite nice people who work there and they have been helpful to me in the past.
I had 10 invitations the other day from this agency to attend the launch of a new hotel "concept" in Sharjah. Sadly, I had to decline each one. Then there is the unfortunate but increasing tendency of PR folk to use meaningless acronyms in the subject field, which is guaranteed to make me hit the "delete" button without opening the email, and not even considering it for inclusion in my "esteemed publication".
For example, a recent communication invited me to read "PGME/WWME press release" below.
You often think: why did they bother? Really, is email, probably the greatest boon to the cause of better communication ever invented, the appropriate place to inform me that the Middle East Investor Relations Society (a body I have a lot of time for normally) had a breakfast meeting last week?
There was no information on what the investor relations executives discussed at their breakfast, but at least I learnt that it was held in Dubai's Emirates Towers (good breakfast there, as I remember) and that it was the first in a series of such breakfasts that will take place "across the Middle East".
There was even a picture of the participants, all looking suitably well-breakfasted. But I don't think it was quite a strong enough image to carry the front page.
Still on the press release theme, this one is a classic of the genre:
"Dyson chooses Dubai for world's first sports stadium installation of new Dyson Airblade." Now that you just have to open and read.
It appears those clever people at Dyson, having revolutionised the way we think about vacuuming the living room, are now also doing it for the bathroom. And doing it in Dubai, and in a sports stadium.
It may be a first for Dubai, and for sports stadiums, but it's not the first time I've come across the Dyson Airblade. They have been installed at London's Heathrow Airport, Terminal 3, for some time now.
Drying your hands with one of these is a terrifying experience. As soon as you place them between the blades, a noise like a jet fighter taking off shocks you into thinking there has been some kind of terrorist incident at the airport.
You're only shaken out of this trauma when you realise you're at serious risk of having both hands amputated at the wrists by the tornado-strength air stream coming from the machine. "Hands are dry in 10 seconds," says the PR. Yes, but are they still at the end of your arms?
Anyway, soon we'll be able to experience it here in the UAE, at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, where they will presumably replace obsolete methods of hand drying, such as paper or towels. Faced with these primitive techniques for hand-drying, says the PR, "most people simply give up".
It's deeply reassuring to know there will be no wet-handed people at this year's tennis.