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Pumped up with glitz and bling then soothed by man in black

Ahmed bin Sulayem has a taxing job, as was demonstrated this week by the need to oversee the emergency reaction to the fire at Tamweel Tower in Dubai. But Mr bin Sulayem, a member of one of the emirate's most illustrious business families, also knows how to relax.

As the executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Ahmed bin Sulayem has a taxing job, as was demonstrated this week by the need to oversee the emergency reaction to the fire at Tamweel Tower within the DMCC free zone Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

Thankfully, the operation, in the early hours of the morning in reaction to the serious conflagration, was a success, with no fatalities or serious injuries.

But Mr bin Sulayem, a member of one of the emirate's most illustrious business families, also knows how to relax.

I bumped into him recently at a social function, and was at first taken aback by an accusation. "You never came to my club. Why not? You must come," he said.

I remembered that a few months before he had indeed invited me to his club, a place called Diablo in the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel on the south side of Dubai. The invitation had slipped my mind, I admit, and I muttered apologies.

"Never mind, you must come now, it's new and completely different, I've changed everything," he said enthusiastically.

So it was my wife and I found ourselves at the Club Cash, Diablo as was, at midnight a few days later. Now I'm not really a dedicated clubber, but as a shrine to Dubai glitz and bling, I doubt there would be an equal to Club Cash in the emirate.

Black decor with gold fittings gave it a retro look, and the strobe lighting and pumped-up music fair took your breath away.

As a guest at Mr bin Sulayem's table, we were treated to top hospitality by a dedicated team of what he called "butlers" who made sure the guests were well attended to, much needed as the hectic party night wore on and the atmosphere wound itself up to rave levels.

I joked with Mr bin Sulayem that I had thought it was a tribute club to the late and great American country and western singer Johnny Cash, and he confessed to an admiration for the "man in black" that rivalled my own. He showed a long Cash collection on his iPhone.

The crowd, as you might expect, was cosmopolitan, but I thought I detected a majority of young Arab men. "Yes, guys come here from all over the GCC. We have a great following in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia. People drive hundreds of miles to be here," he explained.

They sure knew how to party. The night wore on, the crowd got bigger and wilder, and the music reached a rib-jarring crescendo.

It was just possible to have a conversation. I exchanged views with Mr bin Sulayem on subjects as diverse as American politics, football (he's a Manchester United fan) and the world diamond industry. He was off to a gathering of movers and shakers in the gem industry in Africa the following day.

Round about 3am the years began to catch up on me, and I had to begin thinking about making an exit. Mr bin Sulayem kindly led us through the throng and the tough-looking security, we had a few words of farewell, and I promised to come again (I sure will).

Driving back through the Dubai night, though, I put on an old, quiet Cash number just to make sure my hearing was still unimpaired.

fkane@thenational.ae

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