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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Don't Know Much

This summer is building up into an interesting one. It has its fair share of ups and downs, but the ups seem to be really good. Even some downs have an up side. Now that our dear friend Dennis Vella has passed away, his professional aspiration to create a National Museum of Modern Art for Malta is on practically everyone's lips within the Maltese art scene, or at least on their minds.

On a more personal note, even if still in the general category of modern (or rather contemporary) art, I've been advised to "gloat" (by an American friend/colleague) about the fact that I've been awarded an AHRC research grant to enable me to take a proper sabbatical during the next academic year to work on my book. Only one in five applications to the AHRC research leave fund are successful, but now that I've lived in the UK for the past five year, I can safely say that gloating is frowned upon big time, especially in academia. So I won't gloat. I'll just say that the book is about Franklin Furnace and the spirit of the avant-garde and it's entitled A History of the Future; due to be published by Intellect Books in 2010.

Cultural differences are fascinating. At their most extreme they lead to culture wars and things like the so-called war on terror. Without any extreme elements, I live with cultural differences every day of my life. Once a week I celebrate the differences through my Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast. You could say all roads (I take) lead to my weekly podcast, in one way or another. I'm convinced about that, even though I haven't managed to find a way to articulate it properly, just yet.

The 173rd edition of the MMI podcast opens with the new single from the band Explicit. Shame gives us another blast of Stephanie Chetcuti's voice. Listening to this song I thought it would be a good idea to have more female voices on this week's podcast.

The only male voice I've picked belongs to Richard Edward. His songs have appeared at least twice on previous editions of the MMI podcast. He has a very tuneful voice, as you're able to hear in his new song called Busking in Baghdad. If you live in Malta you can also catch him performing live at The Shelter in Rabat ever Wednesday evening.

Bletchley Park have appeared out of nowhere on the local rock scene. They've even managed to win the 2009 Battle of the Bands held at Rookies just a few weeks ago. They seem to have great plans and if the fans that got to where they are now continue to support them I'm sure we'll be hearing from them after the ecstatic energy of these initial months subsides. To my ears, Fake Smiles is the best of the half dozen songs they've released on their MySpace page. If all goes well, it can only get better.

Hadrian Mansueto contacted me a few days ago to tell me about a new video for his tune Catch You, shot by Richard Humphreys. The video is directed and edited by Shahir Daud and features all the guys from Physical Graffiti: Le Parkour Aotearoa.

The musical Porn is currently enjoying a second run in Malta before it heads off for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival up in Scotland. Porn will be at the George 4 from the 7th August until the 31st August (no shows on the 11th, 18th, and 24th). I have a feeling it's going to attract a substantial amount of press attention, particularly if people with loud and far-reaching voices within the UK alternative culture go see it and like it. Suzanne Wadge plays the part of the young porn star Sanddy in the musical. She sings a lovely little song called The Kind of Girl I Am. It's Porn's My Favorite Things, I Don't Know How to Love Him or Under the Sea.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here or listen to the podcast on the player right below this text.

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