Good riddance to Gordon Ramsay as Verre closes in Dubai
Gordon Ramsay? Good riddance, I say. The foul-mouthed food maestro is pulling out of his venture at Verre restaurant in the Hilton Dubai Creek hotel, part of a strategic withdrawal from most of his restaurants outside the UK, in the light of tough financial times.
If you have been to Verre recently, you will see why. I was in the hotel a couple of weeks ago, on a Thursday evening, and the mezzanine floor on which Verre is situated was like a graveyard.
I saw nobody go into the restaurant and nobody come out. A casual glance round the door showed precisely two tables occupied. It had all the atmosphere of a morgue.
No doubt it would have been different if Mr Ramsay himself had been there. That would have pulled in the sophisticated gourmands, for sure, all dying to see the master chef throw another tantrum with a hair-raising tirade of Anglo-Saxon. That is what his restaurants have become, celebrity freak shows, like the Big Brother house but with overpriced Euro cuisine.
I sincerely hope the new team makes a decent go of it after the departure of the Glasgow Rangers-supporting foul mouth. I've always liked the hotel, and that part of Dubai could do with a new attraction. But they're better off without GR.
I'm angry. The crimes of the international capitalist ruling classes have been allowed to go unpunished for too long. It is time for direct action.
The sheer inequality of it all makes my blood boil. Why should 1 per cent of the world's population control 99 per cent of its wealth, or something like that? Why should the criminal bankers and financiers who brought the world to the brink of collapse be rewarded with bonuses, country houses, jet-set lifestyles and, er … all that?
How can these bourgeois lackeys be allowed to misappropriate the wealth of the masses, with seeming impunity? While they feast on the flesh of the exploited, the wretched of the earth struggle for the bare essentials of survival. It cannot go on, and I am determined to do something about it.
Inspired by the events in New York, Rome, London and Auckland, where thousands of peaceful demonstrators have been mown down by machine-gun fire and crushed beneath the wheels of the ruling classes' tanks, I am resolved: I shall occupy the Dubai International Financial Centre.
Dubai's own symbol of capitalist exploitation has yet to feel the wrath of the masses, but that is about to change. I and thousands of peace-loving, like-minded activists will soon descend on the DIFC. OK, maybe there won't be thousands, but there will be a few of us, enough to make a difference, to show our contempt of the capitalist bosses.
No cloudy-headed idealists are we. We realise the DIFC is a big place, and it will not be possible to occupy all of it.
So here's the plan: I intend to occupy La Petite Maison, the decadent French restaurant and bar in the Gate Village.
My determination is stalwart. I will remain there from midday until 1am the following day, pausing only for a conference call and some emails in the afternoon. Oh, and my BlackBerry will be on the whole time.
Well, come on comrades. Are you with me, or against me?
From the panoramic view of my 44th-floor balcony in Dubai Marina, I get an instant take on a whole range of indicators of the emirate's economic recovery.
I can report that things are, mainly, looking up. There are more cars in the Emirates Golf Club car park than ever; at night-time, the number of lights in the canyons of Jumeirah Lakes Towers shows a gradual but significant increase in occupancy levels.
I can measure the health of the construction sector by progress on the Infinity Tower. The "twisty building," as it is known locally, is making stop-start progress, but has nearly reached the 90-degree turn that will signify completion.
In the past few days, another has appeared. Just off the tip of what was to be Nakheel's Dubai Promenade (canned in 2009) a platform has appeared in the Gulf. Whether it's an oil rig, or a dredger, I cannot tell.
Either way, it has got to be good news: a new oil find, or resumption of the Promenade project? I shall investigate and report.