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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Favorite waste of time

(I'm sticking to the American spelling here, so it's favorite rather than favourite.)

I love Sunday mornings. When I lived in the USA, watching Sunday Morning on CBS had become a weekly ritual, not too unlike going to mass. Now that I'm in the UK, I no longer have live access to CBS-TV so I have to make do with the next best thing on Sunday mornings: Breakfast with Frost. If we keep the mass analogy, Breakfast with Frost is a service at your local church, while CBS's Sunday Morning is mass at the Vatican.

This morning I woke up wanting to catch-up on my most recent post in this blog, where I said I'd write about my favorite waste of time. I don't mean a pass-time or a hobby, I really mean a waste of time. I refer here to my interest in Malta's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Malta Song for Europe 2005With less than a month to go until the final night of Malta Song for Europe 2005, I have been keeping abreast of the latest development as Malta chooses its representative/s at the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest. My colleagues at the MaltaMedia Online Network have always been very supportive with my little project at This year the website has the best coverage pre-Song for Europe that we've ever had. Although I should thank Roseanne, Ruth and Martin from our news team for this, perhaps I should really thank the Maltasong committee, the organizers of this and all other taxpayer-funded song festivals in Malta.

Nothing beats controversy when it comes to making a splash as a newsmaker. Sure, there's natural catastrophes like the tsunami, but those are mostly inevitable. This year's controversy started with a lingering debate on the role of foreign songwriters, which came to a boil when the Union of Maltese Composers and Authors (UKAM) called a boycott on the contest in November. To Maltasong's credit (and with the direct intervention of the Culture Minister) an agreement was reached so as from next year the participation of foreign composers and authors in the Malta Song for Europe contest held in Malta shall be restricted to composers and authors of those countries where Maltese composers and authors have equal opportunities to participate. Fair enough, no?

Still, I'm not sure all this makes sense. I always thought the Eurovision Song Contest was the equivalent of football's European Cup and that the whole purpose was to play up the strength of national strength in the field. It would be indeed ironic if Ralph Siegel and his buddy John O'Flynn won the Malta Song for Europe and then moved on to acquire the grand prize for Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest final in Kiev. That would undoubtedly be postmodern bliss for all.

Can you see why I call all this my favorite waste of time? If you don't understand what I'm on about just yet, stick around...there's still lots more to come before the end of May, and possibly even beyond.

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