For the first time in at least 6/7 years as an expat – my father has just visited me in Dubai, for the first time in his life, with his new chica Nikki.
After his legendary visit to see me at the helm – ahem – of the world’s only beachside Ministry of Sound, and the world’s only Hed Kandi Beach Bar (in Egypt’s Hurghada city); this was always going to be special trip. His last call to see me abroad was an extra-special, and emotional, visit to the Land of the Pharaohs. We had an incredible time together throughout his week; we visited a number of the city’s most amazing bars and restaurants (most of which we managed ourselves via the Solutions Red Sea company), and – at some point – I demanded he came to Ministry of Sound. Egypt’s former premier superclub was not a spot a man of his stature would usually frequent however: this was my baby.
I took him to the club on a night playing hip-hop / R&B and house – so it wasn’t just four to the floor all night long – and by, the time we left at, 2am ; he told me he could have stayed another hour! I’ve never before or since, drunk until that unearthly hour with my father.
On his next visit to Ministry of Sound, I insisted he come to meet these four wonderful (but slightly crazy) Russian chicas – all in hot-pants and 6-inch stilettos , you literally had to just add vodka to make an instant party. The girls came, eager to meet the big papa, and when they arrived – he started serenading them with Russian songs! A massive WTF moment, I was like “where the fudge did you learn to sing in Russian?” the girls were wowed (as was I in fairness) and from then on it got more messy. They tried to get him to down his glass of Shiraz , spilling the claret down his pristine (and crisply-ironed) shirt, me face-palming (before the term was vaguely popular) and the evening ended up with one of the girls lap-dancing him. He, perhaps unsurprisingly, seemed quite happy so I assumed it was all cool. But still, the whole evening was quite a surreal experience.
Usually, in the UK, he’s a huge – albeit cuddly – stress ball. A man whose time is never on his side. Nothing is clean enough, perfect enough, or as he wishes. Abroad, from what I’ve seen, he is a different beast. Removed from the stresses of home life and his semi-celeb lifestyle and workload (being a general all-round pillar of the community), outside of the UK he’s almost like a normal guy . Hugely loveable, friendly, relaxed and seemingly with little cares in the world.
During his 5-day trip to the Sandpit (as Dubai is affectionately known), we frequented the majority of our awesome and jaw-dropping venues (including Asia Asia, Karma Kafe, Lock Stock & Barrel , STK Downtown, and Q43) alongside a few special spots on the world famous Palm . We witnessed an incredible light and laser show beaming from the world’s tallest building, we saw the immense Dubai Fountain show (the world’s largest choreographed fountain system obviously) and generally chilled the fudge out. It was 100% quality time for sure, and it’s lovely to see him so happy and on form.
Towards the end of his trip, we were reminiscing and he was bragging to his new lady that I tend to blog ; the name of which however had escaped him. It’s OwenDaniel.com FFS ? How do you possibly forget that? Your firstborn’s name plus .com; not a tough one but dementia has some subtle, and not-so-subtle, traits and it appears it has already taken its grip on Big Papa Daniel.
For those as scatty as my father, you can even simply Google my name and you should find me one Page One (due to my deftness at SEO) - "seek, and ye shall find" said some bloke called Matt, in some old book, at some failry undefined point in time (allegedly). You get the point.