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01 September, 2004

Mag slag

There are only four decent English-language publications in the Gulf. The observant will spot a possible pattern. So will the blind and brain-dead.

1. Arabies Trends - published in Paris
2. Time Out Dubai - published under UK editorial guidelines
3. Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) - published in the UK
4. Gulf Marketing Review (GMR) - originated by UK publishers MEED

A NBTTC expat ("...when I was first here there was Nothing But The Trade Centre/all of Jumeirah was sand/we had to drive to Sharjah for a good night out") recalls a three month period in the 1980s when Gulf News sales went through the roof. Although the letters on the letters page were as yawnsome as they are today, the contributors were far more interesting. Every day, characters such as "Mr Shirt Al-ifter" or "Mrs Bhagi Vaggyna" appeared: unnoticed by dishdash and subcons, but a source of huge delight to paleface expats rushing to the newstand each day to spot the latest howlers.

In other media news: the regional head of a major PR firm reveals the real reason dishdash are so keen to have their photos appear in the newspaper.

"It's the only way women can get to see them," he explains. "As soon as Sheikh bin Dishdash's photo is published in the Khaleej Times, he gets hundreds of phone calls from local abayas, who culturally he could never make contact with otherwise."



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