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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Punky Reggae Party

It's been quite a while since I gave up on mainstream Maltese media. The only downside to this is that some news doesn't always reach me in a timely way. Today I discovered that Manwel Tabone's Reggae Club will not return to the Radio Malta airwaves this weekend. This brings to an end 16 years of almost non-stop broadcasting for a show that started back when I practically lived at the Radio Malta studios in Gwardamangia.

Whenever I hear of things such as the demise of Reggae Club I am reminded of an important part of what drives me from returning to Malta as a full-time resident. While the Internet has made space on the local air waves close to irrelevant for die-hards like Manwel Tabone, it pains me to see what could potentially be an enviable broadcasting scene eat itself alive because of bad management and an anemic environment for creativity.

Don't think that I'm being hard on Malta or that I'm not aware that mediocrity rules in many places beyond the Maltese shores. I'm simply lamenting lost opportunities our country has had and given away to the dogs. Perhaps I'm part of the problem because I left all those years ago. However, I don't know that I could have really fixed anything. The forces working against a vision of a tiny nation blessed by its limited resources are too much for anyone to waste their life on.

The news that Reggae Club has come to an end saddens me not because I'm going to miss listening to Manwel Tabone on Radio Malta but because his creative energy has been squandered by two-bit charlatans who think they know what's what. I don't know who or what drove Manwel's radio show off the air. I admire his stamina and I am in awe that he stayed on as long as he did. Lasting as long as he did with something as off-beat as his Reggae Club is something we should cherish anyway.

In honour of Manwel and others who have fallen before him, I end today's post with a quote from the holy book of Jah, which many know as the Bible: "Better is a dinner of herb where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." (Proverbs 15:17).

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