Time Out Dubai's first ever editor looks back on the history of Dubai's best magazine
Our first-ever editor, Brian Scudder, reflects on 500 issues of Time Out Dubai.
Say the words ‘five hundred’ out loud. Roll the vowels and consonants around your mouth in chunky bits. It’s quite satisfying. A big word, with big implications.
Five hundred issues of Time Out Dubai is a lot of paper and ink squeezed together; a lot of eating out with a highly critical eye; a huge amount of bouncing around dance floors and headphone nodding; an even larger amount of art appreciation, sport, shopping, and taking the kids to the beach/cinema/waterpark/school play. It has been a companion to millions of people living in and visiting the emirate. It is part of the fabric of the UAE.
When we launched Time Out Dubai in 2001, it was completely new territory for our writers and creatives. Dubai was not used to the scything comment, the obliterating opinion. We got into all sorts of hot water.
But as time progressed and our readers enjoyed our work, advertisers grew fonder and the threat of censorship receded. In some ways it is a growing up story. The magazine has been integral to the development of a country that over the years has built an increasingly assertive population of young people – entrepreneurs, business men and women, artists, film-makers, fashion designers, restaurateurs. Emiratis and every other nationality they have welcomed to their home; all producing locally relevant objects and experiences that are now being exported around the world. Dubai is a melting pot. And turning the pages of this magazine just goes to prove, issue after issue, that this melting pot is becoming truly international in its breadth, scope and ambition. The Dubai-based brands you see in these pages are popping up in London’s Oxford Street and Knightsbridge, in New York and Delhi, as we speak. In a region with so much misery around it, this is a real achievement. It proves that cultures can fuse together to brilliant effect.
So the next time you go out to eat on a Time Out recommendation, or join a community of enthusiasts, look at the people around you, and marvel at just how we all got here. That is what Dubai is all about.
Brian Scudder was launch editor of Time Out Dubai. He now runs Dubai-based agency Switch Media. Say hello at email@example.com.