wkd’s May wishlist


For the longest while I’ve been dreading the end of April. Back in the day (as in 11 years ago when I first moved out to the Middle East), April ending meant a whole lot of hot nothing was going to happen in town until about October.I’d usually be grateful to fly out for as long as possible, finances willing.

I know it’s not anywhere near ‘summer hot’ yet, but Island Girl or not, I’ve never been good with heat/humidity and I’m already feeling kind of icky.

Anyway, what’s different this year is that I’m so distracted by a packed calendar to really notice said ickiness – May is pretty busy still! Indoor and outdoor fun is still going strong, from free open-air cinema and alternative kinds of sea, sand and terrace brunching to outdoor boot camps, and there are more gigs, fairs, markets, foodie, art and culture events on than I have enough energy (or money) for.

With summer a month away too, I can’t believe I’ve just been to the launch of two new rooftop bars in the capital! Doesn’t look like the UAE much cares what the weather brings anymore. And I like that.

Here are the Top 10 things I want to have done, outdoors and indoors, this month. And you’re certainly encouraged to join in.

wkd’s May wishlist (starting with the most boring one first, promise)

*Have a little nerd time at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Not just books and books, but also workshops, author talks and even film screenings, and entry is free. On until May 3rd.


*Wander through the new exhibit at Warehouse421. ‘Departure’ (which appears to be merging incredible iron craftsmanship with poetry) is the work of Spaniard Xavier Mascaró, and will be unveiled this week at the massive Mina gallery, running until September 4th. On May 4th, however, you can even pick the artist’s brain during the weekly ‘Wednesdays at the Warehouse’ series. Sign up for the talk ASAP via the website.

*Cash in on Dh10 drinks one last time. Grab your tenners and get in on the last wave of cheap-as-chips drinks offered during Jazz @ Pizza Express’ daily 5-7pm Happy Hour. It includes beer and bubbly too! At Dh10 a pop! This will certainly be missed when it disappears on May 5. Best kept secret ever, that was.

*Finish those two books you feel like you’ve been reading forever. Sorry, more books (I’m a writer, and therefore a reader). The two titles I’m currently juggling are Caitlin Moran’s Moranthology, and Martin Amis’ Money. I swear the M theme wasn’t intentional for, um, May. What are you reading? Hustle it up and finish with me!

*Eat for free courtesy Taqado. In celebration of the launch of their 11th branch in the UAE – and Cinco de Mayo – Taqado is giving away 1,000 free burritos a day at a select outlet each day until May 11. In Abu Dhabi, that’s only at The Galleria, Reem Island on May 3rd, whereas Dubaians are a little more spoilt for choice. Check it.


*See Brighton band Black Honey live at Bad House Party. Dynamic shoegaze-y surf rock, featuring the amazing Lana Del Rey-esque vocals of frontwoman Izzy Phillips? Um, yes, I think so. Bad House Party (or BHP), a monthly fixture at Dubai dive bar Casa Latina, is a must if you’ve been pining for a night out that caters to your weirder musical tastes. Let’s get weird!

*Blag my way into a book-themed dinner at The Ritz. Oh, look, more books! This is good though. The Forge steakhouse at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal is impressing me mightily by attempting to pair literature and dining on May 13 in a menu inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books. I guess you could call it a culinary journey inside a story. Each guest will receive a copy of The Great Gatsby and will be invited to join a literary discussion moderated by the guest speakers from New York University Abu Dhabi. The menu looks ridiculous: go.


*Dabble in Dudeism once more at another Abu Dhabi Lebowskifest. Barosa/Vertical Bar at the Ramada Downtown Abu Dhabi are back with another Big Lebowski-themed bash on May 20th complete with 70s classics via a live band and house DJs, bowling and a slice of ‘that’ severed toe cake. Come in your dressing gown and prepare to drink way more White Russians than your stomach might be happy with.

*Try to finish paying my respects to the late legend, Prince. There have already been a couple tribute nights across Abu Dhabi and Dubai that I’ve missed, but it’s no surprise to me that other bars are giving me a second chance. Check out The Music Room in Dubai this Wednesday May 4th, or if you’re in Abu Dhabi, try to hold out until May 25th for another Prince shoutout and sendoff during Abu Dhabi Soul Edition 20 at Saadiyat Beach Club.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Say a slow goodbye to the good weather with a rooftop bar toast. In fact, I’d particularly recommend you do it at swish new Latin American restaurant and rooftop bar BU! at The Hub, World Trade Center Mall. I can tick this one off, just did, quite fab, but I’ll be back again to properly dig into the menu too. How pretty is this place? And where can I order myself a light fixture that spells ‘Flesh’ please?


Excerpt from For Women Who Are ‘Difficult’ to Love by Warsan Shire

you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name

Somali-British poet Warsan Shire (love her name, by the way!) is apparently the poetic muse behind some spoken word interludes embedded in Beyonce’s much-talked-about new album Lemonade, so everyone is talking about her now too!

If I’m honest, I wasn’t at all bothered by the hype surrounding the album release until now, having just scrolled through some of the poet’s more popular works. I mean, Beyonce is major in her own right – and awesomely provocative lately – I’m just personally more affected by other musicians/genres (that said, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on what you’ve heard of Lemonade so far/ where we can watch the short film in this region? I am officially now curious about its audiovisual elements).

Back to Shire though, I really identify with being called ‘difficult’ by men (by everyone!) and she really fully coloured that picture for me in the above excerpt from For Women Who Are ‘Difficult’ to Love (does so with the whole poem, really – read it here).

I’d also like to point out her wild and poignant piece Grief Has Its Blue Hands in Her Hair. Is it morbid that I really, really get it, feel it? Oh well…

Learn more about Shire, and her hold on Beyonce, here.