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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walking on the Moon

I'm in Cardiff this weekend for WordCamp UK. WordPress always struck me as excellent web content management software and I've been hovering around it for several months now. Yet this is the first time that I've had the opportunity to send a couple of days focused on it. It really is remarkable software.

To say that this blog will very soon be switched from Blogger to WordPress is only an initial reason for the excitement I feel about this software. was switched to WordPress last year, but that was more a move of technical necessity rather than something I advocated through preference. In any case, I am truly impressed by the power of WordPress. I think it's the best Internet thing I've turned my attention to full-on for quite some time.

Although I'm in Wales this weekend, I prepared another edition of the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast before I left Scarborough. The 171st MMI podcast is loosely themed around this year Malta Jazz Festival. It may therefore seem a little odd to open it with a track called A Quaint Affair from Not In A Million Lovers by the Beangrowers, but there's a simple explanation for this. Beanie singer Alison Galea has been collaborating with Oliver Degabriele's Trio to appear at this year's Malta Jazz Festival.

Unfortunately I don't have any recordings of Alison singing with Oliver Degabriele's Trio. Yet I'm happy to say that I have a recording from Oliver's Trio. Asteroid 612 is a very fitting selection, especially now that we're marking the 40th anniversary of the first moonwalk.

The Malta Jazz Festival is back to its original format after losing its way in an ill-advised private enterprise experiment over the last few years. Charles "City" Gatt has passed on the reins as artistic director to Sandro Zerafa, who seems to be doing an excellent job in restoring the event to its original spirit and venue in Valletta. Although he is not officially on the bill for the festival, it's also a good excuse for me to include another track from his White Russian 5et album, which was released last year. This time I'm playing Delightfully Disconnected.

For the final track on this week's MMI podcast, I'm moving away from the Malta Jazz Festival but staying with music that wouldn't be out of place on the playlist for a lite jazz radio station. Denny Falzon was born in Malta but moved to the USA with his parents when he was just a little boy. He was raised in Detroit but eventually settled in Florida, where he now performs regularly in Palm Beach. His main instruments are guitar and steel drum. Listen to the tune called This Dance is Forever and enjoy what someone of Maltese descent sounds like when they grow up in a culture that's very different to the one they left behind in their native country.

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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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stuck On You has been offline for the last couple of days because the hosting company forgot to move the files that make up this website during server migration. Other websites I own or manage where involved in this server migration but they seem to be working fine. Now that you're reading this, the situation has been restored.

I'm in the process of switching the whole site to WordPress. I had already started exploring this before the mess-up with the hosting company. I'm seriously tempted to switch hosting companies, but I've been with this one for more than a decade so I'm used to their ups and downs. Truth be told, I can't imagine any hosting company can offer a much better service than the one I have; even if some of the things that bug me get ironed out I have a feeling that I would have to deal with others. There's a second hosting company I've worked with the last couple of years, so what I'm saying here is based on long practical experience of these things.

Anyway, it seems that hosting services, WordPress, and website structures are going to dominate my summer. I'm about to attend WordCamp in Cardiff next weekend to immerse myself into the WordPress community, which is incredibly strong and empowering. I'm hoping that it's also very supportive of people like me. I'll let you know how it goes by this time next week, when I should be right in the middle of it all.

Next week's Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast will somehow related to this year's Malta Jazz Festival, taking place 16-18 July. This week's MMI podcast, which is the 170th in the series, should appeal greatly to rock fans. The Maltese metal scene has evolved interestingly in the last couple of decades and I'm very pleased to note that the genre has developed in such a way that it is no longer the default mode for guitar bands.

To warm up our ears to take in this week's selections, I've picked a track from an American CD called Vicious Country by Poppa Chubby and his wife Galea. I was very impressed to see huge posters for Poppa Chubby in Moscow on my recent visit to that city. Bad housewife Galea has been featured on the MMI series a couple of other times, highlighting her Maltese ancestry. Their version of Gene Vincent's Race With the Devil is an excellent updating of this rockabilly classic.

Facebook users may have seen a post of my wall by Cedric Debono a few days ago announcing a new recording by metal band Item. Give Up The Ghost has the trio performing in top form. If you'd like to see them live, you can catch them along with Knockturn Alley on Friday 17 July at the Liquid Club in Tal-Ballal. Item started recording material for a new album last month and I'm sure their fans in Malta and beyond will be looking forward to this release.

X-Vandals is yet another Maltese metal band that released an album about three or four weeks ago. I haven't heard the rest of the album (because I haven't managed to get my hands on a copy yet) but from the couple of tracks I've heard on their MySpace page, it's safe to say that Breach the Silence has these veteran rockers at the top of their game. Uprising plays up their activist side and it's an essential part of what endears them to their loyal fans. Thy Legion supported X-Vandals during their 13 June album launch, so I thought it would be most appropriate to close this week's podcast by playing their most recent recording, which is called Sadism Through Holy Intervention.

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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