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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Fool's Gold

We're in the middle of another heat wave in New York. I can't wait to get back to the cool North Yorkshire climate. Then again I realize that I still live in New York as much as I live in Scarborough. My life in New York is far from over, and my life in Scarborough is incomplete as long as I have a life in New York. So much for a simple diasporic life!

I mention this today not because I plan to post a personal entry, as much as for three specific reasons. The first is that one of the things I'm doing right now is working on an autobiography project, which I've already mentioned in my blog. The work is moving slowly but steadily. The second is that this time last year I thought I was leaving New York, but as it turns out I still live in New York, because there's so much more to life than work. The third reason is that my beloved brother Immanuel is about to become a member of a club I've been in for quite a number of years. May he experience as much happiness as I've had in the most recent years of my membership.

To mark this significant rite of passage, I want to share a brief excerpt from the first rough draft of thoughts going into my autobiography project, which he also took the liberty of mentioning in his most recent blog entry. The text presented here is in English but the project is in Maltese; the eventual text will be more than a linguistic translation of what you're about to read.

About fifteen years ago, as the 1980s started to turn into the 1990s, my brother and I stood on the roof of the Savoy Hotel in Sliema with two women. I don't recall how and why we came to be there that Sunday morning. All I know is that we were there thanks to Robert Micallef, whose grandfather Krispin owned the hotel at that time. Krispin was one of the most interesting Maltese eccentrics I've ever met. During this visit to the Savoy Hotel he showed us his plan for an enormous religious monument he wanted to erect above the city of Valletta. An impossible project from the mind of an extraordinary visionary man. Krispin's monument could certainly have made the shortlist for the McMartha Award, Franklin Furnace's answer to the "genius grants" given out by the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation.

As we stood perched on the edge of the hotel roof looking at the fabulous view of Marsamxett Harbour, Manuel and I struck up a conversation about the women who were with us that morning. They were having their own conversation on another part of the spacious roof. On that day Manuel and I came to see that this was the first time in our lives that our girlfriends were not girls but women. As it turned out, within a few years we both got singed in our relationships with these women. Thankfully, we both recovered from the heartache, and I want to believe that all four of us have become better people now.

I hope it's not the heat wave talking, but I think my brother will appreciate this non-nostalgic glimpse at a moment in time when we saw ourselves turning from boys to men.

There's more on my mind than this right now, of course. How can I not wish I could attend the protest at Ta' Cenc today? Or how can I not have anything to say about the farcical situation with the buses in Malta as the number of private cars on the islands continues to rise? No, this lovely Santa Maria weekend I want to give in to the cat's suggestion and take some time to smell the watermelon...or any other cliché you can think of.

Blogger Immanuel Mifsud said...

In-Nannu Krispin! 

10:52 PM, August 13, 2005
Blogger Robert Micallef said...

Moving stuff, Ton! When do you expect to complete this project? I will certainly stay on the alert for more of this.

As you say, my grandfather Krispin Mangion was quite a character. I remember vividly that monumental project you refer to. In-nannu Krispin attributed his visions, dreams and grand projects to his many years as a close personal associate of Dun Gorg Preca.

The Savoy Hotel was refurbished some years ago and is now run as a guesthouse by his two daughters. One of them is my mother Josephine who is a regular reader of your blog!

Lill-Manwel...awguri mill-qalb! 

3:16 PM, August 14, 2005
Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent stuff! 

7:05 PM, August 14, 2005

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