Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Beginnings

The first edition of The Entertainer - a free weekly newspaper for Almería, came out on 4th April back in 1985. It was one of the first English-language newspapers around, preceded by Guidepost (started in the fifties), Lookout, The Iberian Daily Sun, The Costa Blanca News, Sur in English and, closer to home, The Talisman. The first edition was produced by Mike Connolly, Sue, Pauline and Alan. None of them had any experience in making newspapers (the adverts were at the top of the page) and the printers, La Voz de Almería, had to make up each page in their antiquated printing press, by re-typing each and every piece (two Spanish girls with zero English), laying it out (sometimes in dis-order) and making up the photoliths.
The Chief of Police in those days, whose main job was to make sure that foreigners didn't get work-permits, caused the whole project to be a year late and finally relented only when Mike found another foreigner with a work-permit (for a donkey taxi, but let's not split hairs) to act as editor. This was Barbara, my wife. A director was provided - the only rule was that he had to be a Spaniard - and paid to do nothing. In fact, no one ever met him at all.
I was approached to 'put some money in' round about the fourth edition of the paper, when it became clear that something needed to be done (to me, that is, rather than to the paper).
Mike and his two friends, Keith and David, had a local band called The Flying Vultures. There would be pictures of them in old back numbers, but between the fire of 2010, plus some willful vandalism in 1999, there aren't many copies left, although the Diputación de Almería has a complete set, and used one as a full-page illustration in its exhibition and subsequent book on Almería's press.
The Entertainer eventually went to three weekly English editions, Costa de Almería, Costa Blanca (1986) and Costa del Sol (1987), plus, as 'Entertainer En Español', two irregular editions for Mojácar and Altea.
In 1999, it passed from my control - but that's another story.

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