Dubai brings out the worst aspects of both the Anglian Puritan and the man of taste in me. Vulgar, vulgar, vulgar. Kitsch. A shameless whore. A female colleague who holidayed there earlier this year plummeted in my estimation; megawatt air conditioning in interiors designed by Saddam Hussein's decorator, waste and conspicuous consumption, Filipino slaves, tacky Jimmy Choos and footballers' wives; I don't think there's a single book in the entire Sheikdom - Dubai is not the sort of place for people who can read without moving their lips. My personal Hell would be an eternity spent in an air-conditioned Dubai hotel with nothing to read. You can tell I don't think much of the place, can't you?
So it's with a certain pleasure that I read of Dubai's current financial problems. Even though Dubai owns a fifth of the Stock Exchange, P&O and Travelodge. And even though its unlikely to become a ghost town, with the waters of the gulf and the sands of the desert reclaiming, covering and purifying all that ghastly vulgarity, it doesn't stop me imagining the fate of these American towns that grew overnight on the back of the silver rush, with opera house but no sewers.