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Pitcairn Pending: An Island Colonial Comedy
     

Pitcairn Pending: An Island Colonial Comedy

by Kenneth Bain
 
Reviews:

"A most entertaining divertissement."
C.P. Snow (Lord Snow), novelist

"We Gibraltarians have been jousting with the Committee of 24 for years; and have so far found nothing funny about it. Now Kenneth Bain and tiny Pitcairn have. A diverting colonial comedy,yes; but realism too."
Sir Joshua Hassan, Q.C.
Chief Minister, Gibraltar,

Overview

Reviews:

"A most entertaining divertissement."
C.P. Snow (Lord Snow), novelist

"We Gibraltarians have been jousting with the Committee of 24 for years; and have so far found nothing funny about it. Now Kenneth Bain and tiny Pitcairn have. A diverting colonial comedy,yes; but realism too."
Sir Joshua Hassan, Q.C.
Chief Minister, Gibraltar, 1964-1969,1972-1987

"A factually based, richly humorous fantasy."
Robert Trumbull,
erstwhile Chief of The New York Times South Pacific Bureau

"Delightful … Keep it under wraps for the present."
Sir Derek Jakeway,
Governor, Fiji and Pitcairn, 1964-1968

"Pitcairn Pending is the most tremendous fun. I recognise a lot of features, from the UN
Committee onwards. I want to send a copy to each of my fellow governors of the other remaining British Dependant Territories."
Tom Macan,
Governor, British Virgin Islands, 2002-2006

A Sort of Prologue(1)

This piece of light opera comique nostalgia is a bit of my life, I suppose. And where it has led me from an antipodean island birthplace to post-World War II Palestine, thence to the oceanbound islands of the South Pacific, the North and South Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Now, with mobility curtailed and last roots planted in the British Virgin Islands, I reflect from time to time, as old men do, on the attempt to shape the formative past into a manageable future by those who come later. A first draft was put together in 1970 when the United Nations Special Committee on Colonialism was in full flight. With most of its goals achieved, it turned its attention to the remnants of Empire. I had been Commissioner for Pitcairn for five years; and was attempting here to turn the Committee’s extravagances into what Robert Trumbull, chief of the New York Times South Pacific Bureau at the time, described as ‘a richly humorous fantasy.' In November 1971, the novelist C P Snow (Lord Snow) wrote to me: ‘I found your Pitcairn novella most entertaining and well worth publishing. It has some diversions, but they add more than they take away.' Thirty-three years later, the old wine bottle has been uncorked. Its contents have hopefully matured in the interim. The process was crucially assisted by Harvard lawyer and former New York publishing editor Sanford K Smith. His clinical eye, attention to detail and first-hand knowledge of Pitcairn rescued me from some initial drafting peccadilloes. His overall appraisal was this: The text contains much interesting and accurate information. Without doubt, the Pitcairners will be offended because I have never heard of an instance where they were not. I think, however, that you are honest and fair. I was worried at first as there is a subtlety in the subject matter and its treatment, the full recognition of which might depend on one’s familiarity with Pitcairn. On second thoughts, not so I think. For me this is a delightful manuscript. I found myself laughing out loud on occasion. Yes, you are a success as a comedy writer. Let’s hope so. You will know what you conclude as you read the fruits of this prolonged literary gestation. A sense of pragmatic realism is what Pitcairn and its near-terminally dwindled current population of 42 need and deserve today. For no South Pacific islanders – least of all the Pitcairners – can rest on their oars of the past and expect to be equipped and numerous enough to face the turbulent seas and rising waters of the future. Tough, when you are where you are in South Pacific oceanic isolation.

A Sort of Prologue (2)
All the characters are imaginary. Except for the Pitcairners, who have been given their real names. This is not to say that part of what has been attributed to them, for purposes of the narrative, is other than fantasy. There will be those who think that the story is complete fiction. And that it could never have happened. They would be wrong. Some of it did. On Pitcairn. In Fiji. In London. And at the United Nations. The question is what did and what did not, in the tale which now unfolds. I suppose I am guilty of the first fiction: that all the characters, other than the Pitcairners, are imaginary. Not quite all, actually. Occasional resemblance to any person, living or dead, may not therefore be purely coincidental: in the mind, that is, of anyone who perceives it thus. As my mother was fond of saying when I was a child: ‘If the cap fits, put it on.’You thus have indulgence to do this, should you so wish.

Editorial Reviews

CP (Lord) Snow
“A most entertaining divertissement”
Robert Trumbull
“A factually based, richly humorous fantasy.”
Sir Derek Jakeway
“Delightful..keep it under wraps for the present.”
Sir Joshua Hassan QC
“We Gibraltarians have been jousting with the Committee of 24 for years; and have so far found nothing funny about it. Now, Kenneth Bain and tiny Pitcairn have. A diverting colonial comedy, yes; but realism too.”
Tom Macan
“Pitcairn Pending is the most tremendous fun. I recognise a lot of features, from the UN Committee onwards. I am going to send a copy to each of my fellow Governors of the other remaining British Dependent Territories.”

Product Details

BN ID:
2940012856722
Publisher:
Panorama Partners
Publication date:
06/04/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
186
File size:
831 KB

Meet the Author

KENNETH BAIN was born in New Zealand in 1923, and educated at Auckland Grammar School, Auckland University College and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was appointed to the Colonial Administrative Service in 1946 and assigned to Palestine as an Assistant District Commissioner in Gaza. After transfer to Fiji in 1949, he began his long association with the island peoples of the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and South Atlantic; and has travelled widely throughout all three regions.
He was Secretary to the Government of Tonga 1953-56; Commissioner, British South Pacific Office in Fiji, including responsibility for Pitcairn, 1965-70; Deputy High Commissioner for Fiji in London 1970-75; a Director at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London 1975-80; then for five years, Financial Secretary and, for a period, Deputy Governor in the British Virgin Islands. He has also been Director of Studies in Financial Management at the Royal Institute of Public Administration in London.
In close to 60 years, Kenneth Bain has written eleven well-received books. They include seven with worldwide island themes, including three on the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga and its people. There is one each on Fiji, St Helena, British Virgin Islands, and Pitcairn, together with books on schizophrenia, Doggerel Ditties in the style of Ogden Nash, Obituaries he wrote for the London newspaper The Independent, and Gaza, his Palestine mandate diary 1946-48.
He now lives on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, where he and his wife were made Honorary Belongers in 1985. His wife Margaret Anga‘aefonu is part-Tongan; their three children were born in Tonga and Fiji.
He was awarded the OBE in 1976, and appointed by King George Tupou V of Tonga to be Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Queen Salote Tupou III in 2010.

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