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Bahraini Memories
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currawonger



Joined: 03 Dec 2009
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:57 pm    Post subject: Bahraini Memories Reply with quote

A treasure-house of memories

Posted on » Monday, January 11, 2010


A new book brings back to life the Bahrain of nearly 40 years ago. SARA HORTON reviews The Inshallah Paper, by Andrew Trimbee.

British journalist Andrew Trimbee arrived in Bahrain in the 1970s charged with accomplishing the seemingly impossible - launching an English language paper.

The Gulf Weekly Mirror, launched in 1971, was expected to cover local and international news on a shoestring budget, with limited staff and a less than reliable press.

Trimbee came with little idea of what to expect and soon realised that never in his wildest dreams could he have come up with anywhere as chaotic, maddening or intrinsically charming as Bahrain.

As a pioneer in his field, Trimbee had to overcome the many obstacles largely on his own and this is the story of the now defunct paper's traumatic beginnings and the cast of characters which made Bahrain in the 1970s such a memorable place.

In it he details the professional culture shock he experienced, having left the efficient, modern and bustling environment of a British national newspaper to find his new premises featured only a table, a chair and a telephone.

His one member of staff had been randomly employed in advance and the printing press was in dire need of updating.

Ironically enough, there was brand new machinery up to the job - but that lay outside the premises unopened for three years, while the staff did everything by hand with razor blades, ballpoint pens and sticky tape.

The home he had been promised failed to materialise and his wife and children arrived shortly afterwards to find themselves indefinite guests in a friend's house.

Rather than turning around and giving up, Trimbee took up the challenge with gusto, making friends and contacts out of everyone from the highest, in the form of the late Amir HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, to the lowliest and building up a slightly eccentric but productive writing and reporting team out of nothing.

He left the newspaper two years later to take up a post in public relations for Alba, before returning to England to resume a successful career in journalism.

However, the Gulf Weekly Mirror fared less well. Publication was suspended in June 1987, following a dramatic fall in circulation and it was formally liquidated in January 1988.

In the 70s Bahrain was still a hardship posting for expatriates, one which attracted only the adventurous, the quirky and the downright eccentric.

Among the most interesting was the veteran British foreign correspondent Ralph Izzard, who became a close personal friend of Trimbee's.

He lived in an old Bahraini courtyard house, complete with windtower, and his talking African grey parrot.

Izzard was famous for knocking out a world champion boxer, failing to notice that the Nazis had set fire to the Reichstag outside his window and being on the spot, then breaking the news when Edmund Hillary had conquered Everest.

Jean Thuillier, catering manager for the then Gulf Aviation (now Gulf Air), was another entertaining friend and colleague, whose bizarre approach to life could be summed up in one of his legendary parties.

This featured a British regimental band, a Welsh male voice choir, a group of traditional Bahraini musicians - and the host dressed as the Pope.

The Bahrainis themselves still had their own strong national identity, welcoming of, but still largely unchanged by outside influence and curious to make friends and learn more about the strangers in their midst.

The late Amir, who Trimbee describes with fondness and admiration, plays a prominent part in his recollections, as do a host of other Bahrainis, many of whom are still well-known today.

His anecdotes will no doubt thrill some who have come out well and have others reaching for their phones to call their lawyers. For those who were here at the time, this book will bring back pleasant memories of a Bahrain which was still unique, where it was impossible to imagine you were anywhere else in the world.

Some will recognise the names of former residents, others will see current ones, both expatriate and Bahraini, with new eyes.

Many will end up playing a guessing game to try and figure out who the anonymous stars of the most risquŽ stories are, while others may wish they themselves had been left out of these memoirs!

It should appeal to newcomers as well, as it reveals another era of Bahrain's history, before Western-style shopping malls, entertainment and business were de rigueur.

Although the Kingdom has made much progress and most of that progress has been beneficial and essential, there is something to be said for the small close-knit community it left behind and this book has captured a little of its old essence. Trimbee himself now lives in a fisherman's cottage in North Yorkshire, England, spending part of the year in Grenada.

He officially launched the book in Bahrain last month, at a lunch hosted at the Intercontinental Regency Bahrain by leading publisher Anwar Abdulrahman and businessman Abdul Nabi Al Sho'ala.

The Inshallah Paper, published by Quartet, is available in hardback at Jashanmal book shops, at BD10.700.
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svatopluk



Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 81

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read that and found it ran out of steam by about page 120 and the rest padded it out.

Great story about the Bahraini judge though. He told the prosecutor not to bother submitting evidence as he could tell from the accused's face that he was guilty and summarily gave him 6 months.
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Arabian Hawk



Joined: 12 Jul 2009
Posts: 79
Location: Mystical Kingdom

PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes indeed Bahrain is a "treasure house of memories".....from the sight of Arabian princesses displaying their exotic scents at the malls to the Asian business ladies in business at the Manama hotels! Laughing Laughing
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No mention of the grotesque racism that British journalists showed in Bahrain and elsewhere during this period.

One Bahraini newspaper hired the great Sri Lankan writer, Carl Muller, without realizing he wasn't a pukka european. They then tried paying him less than they'd promised.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12085
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Bahrain in colonial times was probably even viler than it is today. At least we now have the civilising influence of the visitors who come over the Causeway.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15853
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah... so that is why you go there. You're so thoughtful and generous with your time. Cool

VS
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12085
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking more of the gentlemen wearing thobes and ghutras.
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Arabian Hawk



Joined: 12 Jul 2009
Posts: 79
Location: Mystical Kingdom

PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A treasure house of memories indeed awaits all in Bahrain Hotels this week! Check into the "Tiger Suites" in Manama hotels as Manama Business ladies welcome you into "The Year Of The Tiger"!! Laughing Laughing
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7atetan



Joined: 01 Jan 2010
Posts: 93
Location: Not in the Mediterranean Sea

PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arabian Hawk wrote:
A treasure house of memories indeed awaits all in Bahrain Hotels this week! Check into the "Tiger Suites" in Manama hotels as Manama Business ladies welcome you into "The Year Of The Tiger"!! Laughing Laughing


Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12085
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watch out for the Man-eaters in their midst.
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Arabian Hawk



Joined: 12 Jul 2009
Posts: 79
Location: Mystical Kingdom

PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OR the Manama business lady Tigress who will literally eat all your money up! Laughing Laughing
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kazazt



Joined: 15 Feb 2010
Posts: 164

PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No such person Embarassed
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svatopluk



Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 81

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arabian Hawk wrote:
OR the Manama business lady Tigress who will literally eat all your money up! Laughing Laughing


Shouldn't that read 'Manama *beep*' - well worn?
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meburrows



Joined: 12 Feb 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smile The book "The Inshallah Paper" by Andrew Trimbee is now available in paperback having sold out of all hardback copies. it will be available in the shops from August, so order you copy now!!!
Also check out his website: www.theinshallahpaper.com
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15853
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So... post one to flog a book? Are you the author?

VS
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