Clive, mysterious editor of The Dubai Enquirer, shares his outlook on the city with Piers Grimley Evans
Already on its fifth edition, www.dubaienquirer.com has won a loyal following by covering the stories other UAE papers miss ? such as Love Parade coming to Sharjah or the creation of Dubai 2, an exact replica of Dubai north of Jebel Ali.
The team behind the ground-breaking site wisely refuse to give Tabloid their full names. However, editor Clive was willing to share some insights into why a group of young British expats is opening a new perspective on Dubai.
How did the idea come about?
The main ingredients for the launch were Christmas + Excessive non-alcoholic beverages + Mild Boredom. It really began as a joke, but within weeks had turned into a giant satirical behemoth spiraling out of control. The idea has been done before, but it seems Dubai had previously been left off the satirical map.
How does the team prepare an edition of the Enquirer?
We meet about once a week, to chillax over a frappuccino as we brainstorm for the next issue. It's high fives all round once a good idea emerges, and when they're all in we divide the tasks up and it's straight back to Enquirer HQ.
Actually, the most difficult and painstaking task is sending the newsletter out. We've got 1000 people who have signed up to receive it (and are getting more by the day) and ensuring that the Enquirer lands in their inbox with all the satire intact is no easy task.
As you are keeping your anonymity, do you get people telling you about it?
We've all had it forwarded to us several times by unsuspecting parties, which is appreciation enough. We simply tell them that we're above such juvenile nonsense and reopen our copies of Tolstoy.
Some vague idea of nationalities, age, profession would be nice - and how you know each other.
We all met in the summer of '92 at a scout jamboree in Devon, bonding over a mutual love of Chris De Burgh and satire. As you might be able to tell from the humour, we're all Brits, aged between 15 and 40.
What reactions does the Enquirer get?
Eczema. Some people genuinely believe it is real, emailing us with badly spelled and poorly written rants. One person claimed that we were being culturally insensitive, saying that he had 'major western views', whatever that might mean.
Another seemed to believe the story about Dubai teens complaining that the noise of the films in cinemas was interrupting their conversations.
Naming no names (a Ms Cheryl Bigus) e-mailed us a rather lengthy and appallingly written piece, obviously having failed to grasp the fact it was a joke. She even complained about the fact we had said the teenagers were aged between 12 and 29.
Lots of people send in suggestions, or sometimes completely written stories for us. To be honest, the fact that it started out as a complete joke, and now we have hundreds visiting the site each day and plenty of e-mails either praising or complaining, is just ridiculous.
Any special source of inspiration?
We get inspiration from passing comments we hear, adverts, excessive non-alcoholic beverages, and of course Mrs Penny Francis, of the Dubai Women's Circle, Dubai's only real voice of reason.
By the way, we have brought on Mrs Francis as a full time columnist for The Dubai Enquirer.
How do you see the site developing?
At the moment, the website is like a pre-pubescent boy. We see ourselves entering the rocky period of adolescence within the year, with hair growing in strange places, and a voice swinging wildly between bass and treble. We'd like to have online polls, weekend supplements, more stuff basically.
Sadly we have hardly any web knowledge, and even less time. Anyone out there?