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Monday, February 13, 2006

Blue Monday

When I woke up this morning I knew I was in for a rough week, but I was not aware how tough it was really going to be. An email from my MaltaMedia colleagues at lunchtime informed me that my former boss at Xandir Malta had just had a fatal heart attack while at Broadcasting House in Gwardamangia where he had spent most of his life.

Charles Arrigo is one name everybody in Malta knew before I was born and has known since. I'm sure that people will be saying that his passing marks the end of an era. The man deserves every eulogy he gets. Broadcasting and culture in Malta would have been very very different without Charles Arrigo in the last 60 years.

You should not be too surprised to learn that I knew a very different Charles than the one the public knew for so many years. A casual Charles Arrigo, a candid Charles who started out as my supervisor when I worked for the state-run radio and television company and ended up being a friend with whom I shared my youthful vision of the way broadcasting should run in Malta, in those hazy lazy days before deregulation. Few people knew about our private friendship, which manifested itself over long dinners filled with passionate conversations about our craft and nights out to the theatre cracking jokes over fellow thespians.

I trusted him not only because he was someone I looked up to at the beginning of my career but also because he gave me my first real radio break some 20 years ago. I spent as much time with him as I could in my early years as a professional broadcaster; learning all the unofficial tricks of the trade. From him I also learned how to avoid making waves while sticking to your guns. We didn't always see eye to eye, but he still gave me more than enough rope to hang myself with. When I quit my job with Xandir Malta in 1991 I bit off that cord, but I never felt bad about it because I knew it was time for me to move on. We could never achieve what we really wanted together. I was too young and he was too old.

Our last conversation was in 1994 before I left Malta for good. We didn't talk about that. Our mutual respect remained but I have a feeling we were both slightly disappointed in each other. That's a story for another day and time. It's not appropriate now.

Rest in peace old friend. You will be missed but never forgotten.

Blogger vlad said...

I interviewed him for a school project about the history of Maltese media when I was in form three. Interestingly, he told me that he was the first person ever to appear on Maltese television. I met him many times since and he was always unfailingly cordial and fascinating to talk to. He was one of the first and definitely the most consummate professional ever to work in local radio. What sad news. 

12:28 AM, February 14, 2006
Blogger Athena said...

Oh no:( The world of media has lost another gem. RIP Sur Arrigo, you are sorely missed. 

1:24 AM, February 14, 2006
Blogger Guze' Stagno said...

Vincent Scerri tkellem fit-tul dwaru dalghodu waqt il-'breakfast show' tieghu. Qal erba' kelmiet sbieh, bis-serjeta'.

Non li fanno piu come una volta... 

9:06 PM, February 14, 2006
Blogger Guze' Stagno said...

Nice Frank Zappa mugshot by the way...

... and any chance of hearing a track from The I Skandal in a future podcast, Dott? 

8:24 PM, February 16, 2006
Blogger david said...

I really liked this post Toni. I tried to explain why but failed. It just struck a chord I guess. 

2:41 PM, February 17, 2006
Blogger Antoine Cassar said...

Toni, għadni kemm smajt l-aħħar poddata ta' MaltaMedia, u xtaqt nirringrazzjak talli inkludejt is-silta ta' l-Acoustika Trio. Ma kontx naf bihom, dik is-silta saħħritni mill-ewwel... u issa qed nisma' poddata li ħarġu ftit jiem ilu. Għal min ma jafx, l-Acoustika Trio għandhom blogg hawnhekk, u l-ewwel poddata tista' titniżżel minn hawn.

Ħajr ukoll talli daqqejt is-silta tar-Riffs! 

6:16 PM, February 17, 2006
Blogger Kenneth said...

Grazzi talli għidtilna b'dak il-podcast il-ġdid, Antoine. 

6:56 PM, February 20, 2006

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