Growing old graciously in Dubai

Our ed confesses he ain't hip no more

The Knowledge

Andy Sherwood has finally admitted he is getting on a bit – and he’s loving every minute of it.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was in my twenties. I went to club nights with cool names such as Strawberry Sundae. I liked DJs with trendy handles such as Kemistry & Storm. I visited the most obscure, fashionable, ‘in-the-know’ shops I could find to buy my clothes – and stuck religiously to designer labels.

A trip to the cinema often included the phrase ‘art house’. The fact I saw Quentin Tarantino’s classic movie Reservoir Dogs before its proper UK cinema release was a badge of honour. These things were very important.
Now, I’m 40 and I’ve realised I’m not cool. The only club I want to visit is my baby daughter’s activity gym. I roll my eyes at the obscure, cool names of Dubai DJs featured in Time Out. The designer labels have been replaced by a dash into H&M in Ibn Battuta Mall. And as for movies, the last two I watched were The Queen’s Speech and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. And I well and truly loved them both.

New Year’s Eve used to be meticulously planned weeks in advance and would normally involve searching out the biggest party in town. This year I stayed local so I could walk home (although that turned out to be a wise move considering all the traffic chaos that ensued on the Palm).

The thing is, I’ve decided I quite like getting old. I don’t have to try too hard anymore. Getting older means you can act like one of the talking heads from the TV series Grumpy Old Men and get away with it.

I fall asleep in front of the TV while watching late night sport. I tut at Miley Cyrus videos. I forget my wife’s friends’ names (sorry). I refer to professional footballers as ‘the young lad’ and I often say to the more youthful members of my team: ‘What do you mean you’ve never seen/heard of (insert name of film, band or book here).’

I now get satisfaction from arguing with Dubai restaurant reservations desk staff when they want to know my life story and do a background check (and demand my email address and telephone number) just because
I turned up at their establishment without a prior booking.

Where I used to love going out to a party, I now prefer a night in with a cup of tea. And when I do go to gigs in the UAE, I spend most of the night commenting on how much more civilised they are here as opposed to the ones I went to back home in the UK.

But there’s a big iceberg in the way of my quiet life. I live in Dubai, one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world. And to top it all off, I work for Time Out, one of the most exciting brands on the planet. So while I find myself tutting at DJ names, I can’t help but tap my feet at their sets when I go along to a club night. And for every Queen’s Speech, there’s a cool, local flick to enjoy at events like the Dubai International Film Festival.

So the great news is that despite my attempts at embracing getting older, Dubai is actually keeping me young. Just don’t take me to a bar where the music’s too loud, okay?

The beachside dining spot is celebrating international coffee day at its brand-new branch

Feeling the pinch? Fear not. We've got 16 weekend feasts for under Dhs300 for you

Black Coffee and Themba will hit the decks on Friday September 28

You’ll get a complimentary vegetarian dim sum basket on October 1

It's free to take part and no experience is needed

There will be fireworks at La Mer, plus discounts across the city

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