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Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Sun Always Shines On TV

My visits to Malta are almost always flavoured with a main theme, which dominates most of my activities in the days I spend visiting my country of birth. Often it's music. Sometimes it's family. This time it's TV. To be quite honest it feels a little odd, particularly because I thought I had shaken off the ghost of TV before the end of the 20th century.

This round of TV-dominated activities started with performing my civic duty as a member of the expert jury panel at the 2010 Malta EuroSong, selecting Malta's 2010 Eurovision Song Contest entry. This exercise took up almost an entire weekend of my life, but I don't regret a second, even though enduring subpar songs and singers overshadowing some excellent singers and a couple of decent songs is not an easy job. Fortunately, reason prevailed at this year's local selection for Eurovision and the act with the best chance of not doing too badly at the contest in May was selected with a clear vote by both the judging panel and the televiewers. In spite of this, my ideas about what Malta really needs to do vis a vis its annual Eurovision efforts remain unchanged.

It was delightful to get away from it all with Charles Xuereb (one of my former broadcasting career mentors) on Wednesday at Malta's National Museum of Fine Art. Our evening in the Art & Wine @ South Street series seemed to generate quite a bit of debate around the theme of contemporary art. The museum staff's vision for the future of art in Malta is simply fantastic. They're already doing miricles with the resources at hand and I wholeheartedly believe that great new things may come to pass at Malta's foremost art musuem in the coming years.
Art and Wine @ South Street

I'm always amused by the different audiences and broad-ranging cultural dynamics in Malta whenever I visit. Back to TV on Friday, I spent the better part of the evening in the green room for Malta's most popular chat show: Xarabank. On one level it's a showcase for populist Maltese ideas to florish, on another it's a contemporary cultural anthropologist's playing field. I enjoyed it all, even though I only got to speak for no more than a couple of minutes on the show.

To bring it all to a close, earlier this evening I attended the 2010 Malta Television Awards at the same Ta' Qali venue where I spent most of last weekend. I was one of the judges for the Best Documentary category. It was a fabulous networking occassion as a huge number of the multiude of people who work in Malta's television industry where all gathered under one roof. As award shows go, this is one that's still in its infancy in terms of impact and format. Considering how television has developed in Malta over the past 20 years, I am quite keen to see what shape things will take on 20 years from now; especially as TV faces an ever growing challenge from the Internet.

Although I was mostly in Malta to give lectures on contemporary performance at the University of Malta through the Erasmus programme, overall I come away from this TV-themed week with a clear sense that the quantity and quality of television shows in this country has advanced greatly since I officially abandoned my career as a professional broadcast in the 1990s. However, I'm saddened by the fact that there's no more creativity now than was evident in the time when resources were restricted and limited in every way, shape and form.

Incidentally, if you've come to the blog looking for this week's Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast I urge you to listen to one of the 200 episodes I've produced since 2005, while I prepare for the 202nd edition.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Long Hard Road

Looks like we've made it! The weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor series has reached the 200th podcast. Starting way back in November 2005, it has taken just over four years to get here. When the 100th podcast was released it was clearly time to celebrate but now I feel that every new podcast is a celebration in itself. The 200th MMI podcast is a special edition but last week's podcast was just as special, and I hope that next week's edition will be special too.

Three things have encouraged me above everything else to continue producing this series. The first is the incredible feedback I get from podcast listeners every week. This is coupled with waves of appreciation from many of the singers and musicians I feature from week to week. From these comments I can see that the MMI podcast is a significant element in the promotion of Maltese music around the world. I am also very grateful to Vodafone for sponsoring the podcast since last autumn. While I obviously don't produce the MMI podcast for financial gain, there are some associated expenses that must be covered and so the sponsorship is most welcome.

The 200th MMI podcast opens with the song I Can't Take It written by Elton Zarb and Ira Losco for Amy Agius. Amy is a new arrival on the local music scene and it's understandable to think that this sort of song and singer would be an automatic fit for the upcoming EuroSong festival. However, to my knowledge, it's gone a different root and that probably helps some listeners appreciate it better. This is a good pop rock song and Amy's voice is pleasant enough to carry it. If this is her debut I'm sure that her next offering may make even more of a splash.

Winter Moods have returned with new material ahead of the release of another album. The new song that's making the round on most local radio stations in Malta right now is called Last to Know. This is the band's first release as a quintet following the departure of founding guitarist Steve Caruana Smith (fondly known as Is-Serp) on amicable terms. Smith contributed greatly to the band's sound so it's understandable that they now sound slightly different. Their fans will undoubtedly appreciate the new sound particularly because it helps give them a way to reinvent themselves as one of the longest standing rock band on the Maltese music scene.

I believe that much more needs to be done to preserve and disseminate recording by Maltese musicians not only when they are released but also, and especially, years after they're originally released. On the 7th of July 2007 (07/07/07) Jewls Verse released his debut album Taking It Easy, lifting two singles from the album to help promote it at the time. He continues to gig around the islands regularly and he maintains an online presence too, of course, but I don't how many radio stations (including ones that originally played tracks from the album when it first appeared) continue to include tracks from it on their playlists, which are otherwise filled with songs from non-Maltese acts from the same period. It's a complex issue and I am attempting to address it systematically even beyond the weekly MMI podcast. Meanwhile, I will also continue to play tracks released in bygone years on my podcast too; not for the sake of nostalgia but rather to ensure that we keep a sense of continuity going in the ever-growing output coming from the local music scene. Jewls Verse's Help Me appears on this week's podcast precisely in this spirit.

New releases from acts I've already featured on the MMI podcast series delight me on a regular basis. Heartbeat fall squarely into this category right now as they've released some new songs through MySpace. I really like Dorienne Cachia's voice and feel that she's a perfect fit for the type of music produced by this band. Forever By Your Side is one of the new tracks that clearly demonstrate this. I'm sure I'll be including another one of these new songs they've just released in a future edition of the MMI podcast.

To close the 200th show in the series, I've picked something that's very special and dear to me. The 1989 TVM series Mill-Garaxx, which I created with my late friend Mario Ellul, will forever remain one of the most significant things I've ever done as a broadcaster. Bringing Maltese musicians to play live in the TVM studio was received well at the time mostly because there was a great lack of such space being given to live music (particularly rock music) on what was then the only Maltese television channel. Winter Moods were among the bands who appeared on that series. The opening music was written by Charlie Dalli and performed by his band X-Tend. It is the earliest specimen of rap in the Maltese language. That in itself makes it remarkable. Personally, I believe it provides the words I'd like on my grave:

"Kemm hi sabiħa dik il-ħolma li xi darba mmiss l-istilel,
imma kull valur jgħeb jekk kull ma mmiss isir deheb."

This roughly translates to "What a beautiful dream to one day touch the stars, but a value melt away if everything you touch turns to gold."

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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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Petits Machins

A few days ago I discovered an old VHS tape from 1989. I was pleasantly surprised to see myself present a special edition of the weekly popular TVM current affairs programme Malta u Lil Hinn Minnha with Paul Azzopardi. I had forgotten all about this. For many years before Malta's liberalization of the broadcasting airwaves, this news show was the main (if not only) current affairs appointment for Maltese televiewers. This edition was the last one broadcast in 1989 and featured Giogio Moroder's The World We Live In, a half hour documentary with original music and images of events that have shaped our world. Moroder's work was originally created for German Television Channel 2 and for copyright reasons I only included a brief excerpt from it in the clip I uploaded on YouTube.

The same old video tape included almost an entire programme from the first series of Mill-Garaxx. I digitized a couple of clips from that too and immediately uploaded a live Black Train medley by Freeway, with Jesmond Tedesco Triccas on guitar and Toni Vella on bass. I also managed to capture a couple of other things from this same video cassette, including something for this week's Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast.

The 176th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast features a sexist perspective of Maltese women from 1989 in Freeway's Viva n-Nisa. I don't think you could get away with that on Maltese TV now. I find it quite problematic from a feminist perspective but it's a delicious historical glimpse at the way most Maltese people (not just men) thought about women in their society at that point in time.

The podcast opens with a song called Tomorrow by Relikc. This band has been around for a couple of years but it was only last June that they managed to produce their first recordings for public consumption. They're not the sort of band that can get lots of airplay on radio in Malta, but I'm sure they go down well in their live gigs.

NV has just released a new single, following her debut album Envy, which appeared last February. Reason for Denying is not from the album and presents the singer in a somewhat lighter sound than what we heard on all her previous singles, which made it into that album. It's good to see some variation in NV's style and I'm sure the next thing we hear from her will also be exploring other territories since this singer is still to endear herself as a household name in Malta.

Speaking of household names, you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who has never heard Paul Giordimaina in Malta. He's been a professional musician for over thirty years and his career has seen him reach the highest peaks in the local scene in both pop and jazz. It's therefore a great joy to see that he has now released a jazz double CD. This is a side of him that only jazz aficionados or regular patrons at B.J.'s night club (where he's been the resident artist for close to three decades) really know. A Letter to Bernie is an outstanding album for several reasons. Foremost among these is the fact that it is a tribute to the late bass player Bernard Scerri, who died on 3 October 2002. The album features various guest jazz musicians who knew and played with Bernard, as well as Giordimaina originals inspired by Scerri's spirit, along with a handful of live recordings featuring the bass player live at B.J.'s in 2000.

To close up this week's podcast, from A Letter to Bernie I've selected Marcus Miller's Tutu, made famous by Miles Davis in 1986, as performed by Paul Giordimaina (piano), Mark Attard (synth), Walter Vella (flute), Edward Ellul (bass), Tony 'Giegu' Bartolo (percussion), and Reuben Navarro (drums). It's fitting that so many of the musician who knew Bernard so well, and played with him over the years, should pick this cool bass driven tune to remember their friend by. I'll certainly play one or two more tracks from this double CD on my podcast in the coming weeks.

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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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Love Shine a Light

Malta's name is once again to be heard as a contender in the Eurovision Song Contest finals. Many believe that if Chiara couldn't do this for Malta no one else could. This has put immense pressure on the singer, even though she has participated in this pan-European contest twice before. I can understand what she meant last night after the semifinal when she said that she was more concerned about making it through to the final than she is about her performance at the final.

This is not hubris. Chiara is the first to admit that she is stubborn and hard-headed when it comes to reaching for the number 1 spot at the Eurovision Song Contest. Since she is not a singer by profession this is understandable. Over the years Chiara has fashioned as a Eurovision performer and this suits her very well. She seems quite happy to think that this contest is the pinnacle of her carrier in the music industry. There's nothing wrong with that, especially for a singer who comes from a country that has produced fewer international stars that most people have fingers on one hand.

By all counts, winning the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest is no easy feat for the Maltese singer and her Belgian-made song. Chiara has a beautiful singing voice but she will need to beat at least 4 others singers with beautiful voices and/or songs: Jade Ewen (UK), Yohanna (Iceland), Malena Ernman (Sweden), and of course Patricia Kaas (France). Flor-de-lis (Portugal) is not to be discredited at this point of the game either.

Any assessment of Chiara's chances for bringing the Eurovision Song Contest to Malta in 2010 should also take into consideration that Regina (Bosnia & Herzegovina) is clearly the Eastern favourite this year, while Alexander Rybak (Norway) remains the bookies pick to win. Today the bookies have Malta in 10th position on average at the final, and many are including Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Ukraine within the final top 10.

As I write this I'm watching the dress rehearsal for the 2nd semifinal. If this year is a year for ballads and/or great voices I don't think the 2009 ESC winner is among this batch. Most of the songs could have been last year's runners-up in their respective countries but the Ukrainians really know how to stage a spectacular extravaganza. Anyway, I'll reassess this situation, if absolutely necessary, on Friday. If I'm lucky I'll manage to take in the town and its glorious culture a little bit more than I've had time for till now.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

No More Heroes

The expression "jumped the shark" means absolutely nothing to most people who are not American and even less to anyone who is not a Happy Days fan. In our household we have one of each, so "jumped the shark" features in conversations from time to time. It popped up this week as a definite reaction to the hitherto brilliant TV series Heroes.

It certainly feels like MySpace may have jumped the shark, but I'm not too sure about that: thanks to all you sent me their views on this following my request for comments over the last couple of weeks.

Sharks and jumping are things I hope my weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor is very far away from being associated with simultaneously. I have a trick up my sleeve to ensure this. More about that next week. Until then, I'm pretty confident that the contents of this week's MMI podcast will please most of my regular listeners.

Carrie Haber has just released her debut EP, It's Complex. From it I picked Those 3 Words to open this week's podcast. It's followed by a track from another new release. Violinist Simon Vella - who has appeared on previous editions of the MMI podcast with Sixth Simphoni - will be launching a CD album called Unspoken: Sounds from Within with two gigs at St James Cavalier on 4 and 5 April. The name of the tune I've chosen to include in this week's podcast is called Whatever. As I'll be in Malta during the first week of April, I'm looking forward to attending one of these two gigs in Valletta. It's always good to see a classically trained musician dare to be different.

Following up from last week's inclusion of music by Mario Sammut, where I lamented of his disappearance from MySpace, I'm happy to report that this young Maltese musician is still as prolific as ever under a new stage name: Cygna. I've liked Mario's music from the first day I heard it, so I'll take any excuse to play something else from him on my podcast. This week you can hear one of Cygna's exotically named tracks called Kuintaar. I still haven't met anyone who doesn't like this type of music.

To prove that MySpace is possibly still as alive and kicking as ever, Kurt Chircop contacted me via my page on that network to tell me about his new recordings. He is better known as l urk and the track I've chosen from him to close this week's podcast is called didj.

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. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Come Inside

From time to time popular culture icons die, as you'd expect in the circle of life, and in doing so bring up memories of things that were once significant in some way or other. Wendy Richard died a couple of days ago. She loved Malta. So much so that she picked to have her honeymoon there just a few months ago, after getting married for the fourth time. My fond memories of her come from years of watching Are You Being Served? in the 1970s but also from a very brief personal encounter at the Paris Theatre in London just after the recording of an episode of the popular BBC radio game show Just A Minute in 1988. With her sad passing I couldn't help but think how ironic it was that she picked Malta for her last proper holiday...particularly as this was a divorcee's honeymoon. And there she was in the only EU country where there's no divorce legislation. How quaintly exotic!

I see from my Facebook newsfeed that people in Malta are now experiencing one of the first round of utility bills under the new tariff system. Apparently this is just as controversial as the topic in the previous paragraph, if not more so. How soothing it is to think that I can loose myself in my podcast every weekend, just to get away from it all for a little while.

The 153rd edition of Mużika Mod Ieħor sees the return of two acts whose music was featured in my selections last year. The first of these is Richard Micallef, who has taken a leaf out of his dad's book and is now recording under his first name and his middle name, as Richard Edward. This is understandable when you have to put up with butchered pronunciations of your family name over and over. Hopefully people will focus more on his music and beautiful singing voice, as can be heard in his new single entitled Allowed to Cry.

Chris Enriquez is someone whose voice and music are completely new to the MMI podcast. It's always refreshing to feature material by performers who have never appeared on the series before. An Angel in the Making is one of two songs I found on his MySpace page. It's quite good and this quality of work makes me firmly believe that this is not the last we've heard from Chris Enriquez.

Keeping it completely new to the podcast I next turn my attention to a band called Sepia. They haven't made any studio recording yet, but we can still hear them from a number rough garage demos they've uploaded to the MySpace page. White Scar is a good way to samples this bands grungy sound. To my ears they could do with a good singer but then again they're quite tight musically so perhaps you will not miss the vocal line as much as I did on a second listen. Once again, you can rest assured that if/when a studio recording from this band crosses my path I'll be including it on a future edition of the MMI podcast.

This is precisely what happened with London-based band Ethnamorte, which includes Malcolm Callus among its founding members. After featuring a rough(ish) recording from this band last year, they now return with a very nicely done studio recording of a song called Shades of Beauty and Madness. At 10 minutes and 14 seconds, that a little too long to include in its entirety on my (roughly) 20 minute weekly podcast. If you'd like to hear the whole thing you can just head on over to their MySpace page, where you can also find other recordings and dates for their upcoming London gigs.

A couple of months ago, Pamela's debut CD Whispers, consisting almost entirely of songs written by Paul Giordimaina and Fleur Balzan was released to great acclaim. It appeared few weeks to late to be featured in the 2008 MMI Listeners' Picks poll, but it's one which will be definitely nominated along with all the other 2009 releases in the album category. I've already had the opportunity to play a couple of my favourite songs from this album when they first appeared, particularly in the Malta Song for Europe festival. To mark the release of the album as well as Pamela's upcoming gigs in Canada I've selected the song Turn Another Page. It's a really appropriate way to bring this week's podcast to a close, until we meet again for next week's edition.

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. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Amid the Falling Snow

Having spent about 12 of the last 48 hours traveling on trains between Scarborough and Coventry I can't really say that my body has completely settled down by now. I still hadn't shaken the road off when I woke up this morning to see that a veritable winter wonderland awaited me outside. I expected this to happen because I watched the weather forecast on TV last night but it still made me change my plans for the day. The scene from my bedroom window was beautiful and most peaceful so I didn't want to bother with the real world, until I really can't stay away. On days like this I miss being snow bound. It never really snows that much in Scarborough.

Aside from all the traveling I probably feel this way too because I was invited to visit Malta this weekend as a judge for the Malta Television Awards. Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm not a big fan of award ceremonies. In spite of all this, I couldn't really accept the invitation to go to Malta because travel plans were left for the last minute and I'm not very good at doing things this way. Just to be a good sport, I accepted to vote on the award categories I was asked to anyway. So I'm partly responsible for whoever wins two of the Mermaids in this year's Malta Television Awards.

When it comes to my sense of personal accomplishment and self fulfillment, all this pales in comparison to the joy I derive from producing my weekly music podcast. This week's edition features two tracks from an album released just a few days ago called Jailhouse Voices. The musicians on this album are not Maltese, but the production is by Mop Krayz, who is Maltese...even though this is clearly not his or her real name. The track I selected to open my podcast with is called Gone with the Storm by Virgill & Cons. The other track closes the podcast and it's called Jade Tinted Sky by Keito.

I picked this latter track because I wanted to mark the memory of Jade Brincat, former keyboard player with Stillborn, Momento Nostri, and Archaic Descent. Jade died on Wednesday 12 November after suffering a cardiac arrest at Mater Dei hospital following severe side-effects to medication she was given to treat a chest infection. I was a little troubled to hear rumours and unfounded gossip that she had died from a drug overdose. I can't believe that people in Malta still jump to such conclusions just because she was a rocker. Her keyboard playing can be heard on a previous edition of the Mużika Mod Ieħor series, when I featured the song Angel by Stillborn. To remember Jade today I've picked a live recording she did with Stillborn at last years rock festival in Marsaxlokk. The song is is called Lost and features Jade keyboard playing quite prominently.

I'm always thrilled to discover new music and young musicians from Malta. This week I discovered two such acts through MySpace. Gilmour Cauchi came to my attention through Nathan Inder's page. You can hear a track by each of them on this week's MMI podcast. Gilmour's tune is called Capri, while Nathan's track is called Herbert's Intro. These two young musicians are clear examples of what some Maltese teenages are up to with their computer driven home studios. It really is fascinating stuff.

In the coming days I'm hoping to launch the 2008 MMI Listeners' Picks poll via Facebook. I'll post a blog entry about that if we manage to get it going before next week's podcast. I'll probably have some more things to say about awards shows too. I'm just biting my tongue for now...but probably not for too long.

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. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008


Having finished the chapter on performance I was writing for a book on Learning and Teaching in Second Life (to be published early next year by a Norwegian academic press) I am now able to apply myself to other things. This may be as close as I'm getting to a break before the new academic year. I plan to make the best of it and stay away from the sort of things that have kept me extra busy this past summer.

One of the things I'm keen to see happening over the next few days is actual on-air use of a videoconferencing system I've been testing with David, Ruben and Lino from Where's Everybody? This is scheduled for an upcoming edition of Bondi+. I don't have full details about the show yet, but I can tell you that I should be appearing on air using Skype with iSight and the built-in mic on my MacBook Pro, which is being fed directly into the video mixer by the WE technical team via the S-Video output on a Windows-based laptop. I'm able to see and hear what's going on in the TV studio through a simple set-up that consists of a decent microphone and a Skype-friendly webcam aimed at a studio video monitor. Not a very sophisticated set-up by professional broadcasting standards, but it should do nicely as another pioneering moment in my media output in Malta. You'll be able to judge the output as soon as the thing goes on air (details to follow in another blog post) and/or on YouTube if/when I get clips from the transmission.

Since it's the weekend it's also time for another edition of my weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast. The 132nd offering in the series is quite the rock show, featuring all new tracks from four diverse bands that share a passion for distorted guitars. First up is the new single from Stillborn. Following up with the first release since their last year's album Thy Feeble Soul, Angel showcases singer Diane Castillo's excellent voice very well. I hope the band continues to take their stuff to a mainstream audience the way they did last year at Rockbaze. Check them out at Rookies next Saturday night and see what you think.

Subculture return with a new line-up and their fourth CD. Revolt is released tonight at the Remedy Rock Club in Paceville, with a gig that includes sets from two other Baħri+Ħamiemu bands: the indestructible Abstrass and the earthshaking RAS. Shattered Pride are also on the bill so it should prove to be quite a night. Subculture now includes teenage bassist Dani Dolt and singer Ramona (the Cat). Ramona is a welcome newcomer to the alternative scene. Listen closely to the track The Earth Dies Screaming and you'll hear much more than the type of voice you expect in any punk band. Although I haven't heard the new album yet, I have good reason to believe that there are other tracks on the CD where Ramona's voice can be appreciated to the full. I'm really looking forward to it. Ejja Ray!

To make sure that fans of Ray il-Baħri know what he's up to (you know he's too cool or just plain old busy to update the status line on his Facebook account regularly) I thought I'd play a track by another band that now has him in its line-up. Publik Waste has been around for a couple of years with members coming and going but now they've released a new recording with the current line-up. The song is called Nobody Listens and provides a great doze of classic punk complete with off-key singing.

Since this week's podcast has taken on a very rocky sound I thought it would be most fitting to close it with the black metal sound of Lustre. This is a new duo that has emerged from a collaboration between Martin Ciappara (know to MMI podcast listeners through his Prayer of the Dying project) and Sarrum from Turkey. Divine Fetish is as good a sample of their work as anything else you'll hear from Lustre...that's if extreme metal is your cup of tea.

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. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Doctorin' the Tardis

Just as most of us thought that Doctor Who was about to regenerate into a new actor, the current series came to a close, in what has arguably been the best season for the show ever, bar none. Yes, gentle readers, I am a Dr Who fan. I'm a little sad to see the Doctor go away (until next Christmas) but the knowledge of a Cybermen return gives me just one more reason to live.

On a different note, former US Senator Jesse Helms died on the 4th of July. Helms is seen by many as one of the worse opponents to freedom of expression in art, particularly in performance art. I came to know his name well in my research on the culture wars, particularly in relation to Franklin Furnace. While I can never agree with his point of view on art and culture, I've oddly come to appreciate his oppositional rhetoric and actions. Reaction to his abhorrence of works by artists like Karen Finley, Tim Miller, John Fleck, and Karen Hughes, among others, made these artists produce interesting pieces of art in response. I believe this is not the way he is viewed in the art world, but I find it's better to relish the not-so-obvious positive that comes with the death of an oppressor.

As if all this wasn't enough to spice up my weekend as I sat down to produce this week's Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast, Xtruppaw announced their return on the Maltese music scene earlier this week. How can I ever resist an excuse to play some more Xtruppaw on my podcast? The 121st edition opens with Rajt Ma Rajtx from Is-Cd tal-iXtruppaw. The I-Skandal, how have been on a hiatus for the last two years, will be appearing ahead of Xtruppaw at the Poxx Bar in Paceville on Saturday 12 July. From their 2006 CD Skaccomatto I've selected Adjectives as the second track for this week's podcast. Now that il-Fre is back on the rock, I wonder if Dripht will reunite anytime soon. I, for one, sincerely hope so.

It's always a joy to discover new Maltese acts. Ezekiel Micallef appeared on my radar via MySpace a few days ago. Ezzy has released a number of varied tracks on his MySpace page and I've picked Puzzle People. I have feeling we'll be hearing a lot more from this newcomer in the future.

This week I've also made sure not to repeat a mistake I made last year with the musical activities of the ŻĦN. Antonio Olivari D'Emanuele has written and produced a new track for the Symphonik Choir, featuring Melanie Saliba on lead vocals. The Language of Music is one of two new recordings by the ŻĦN choir, written specifically for the upcoming Musequality concert at the University's Temi Zammit Hall on the 18th and 19th July.

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 add the latest episodes to your My Yahoo! page. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Friday, July 27, 2007


I've been playing about on the Simpsonize Me website. There's also a Simpsons avatar maker on the official Simpsons' movie website. Here's what I've come up with so far. Apparently, this is what I'd look like if I were to appear in The Simpsons.

I'm now also using a slightly modified close-up of my 2-D Simpsonized avatar on my Facebook and MySpace profiles.

In case you haven't noticed, summer's here...and so is The Simpsons Movie.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Still in confessional mode: I watch Big Brother on Channel 4 whenever it's on. I wouldn't really mind telling you that at all if this round was not as lame as it's turning out to be. What's with the producers? Have they really lost their sense of drama?

Why didn't we get an eviction on the day that Ziggy came into the house? The house was so ripe for that sort of thing. "You wanna bloke? Give up one of the females in the house!" Still, all is not lost, yet. They can still do this to bring in the next guy. That's unless they've really lost the plot and plan to leave Ziggy as the only Y chromosome presence in the house.

I'm not done yet. I have another bone to pick. Why did we only get two eviction nominations? "Pick two girls" is so timid and boring. How about, "pick the two you like most and the two you like least." That way we get some real drama...if we're lucky, even a major crisis.

So I end with a note to Endemol (on the off off chance they're reading this!): I'm available for consultation on how to make the show really interesting beyond the die-hard fans.

Well, actually, before I get off my soap box, here's a final shout out, for now: evict Shabnam, please!

From an official Channel 4 statement released today, after a true-to-form incident in the house:

"In the wake of Celebrity Big Brother we must consider the potential offence to viewers regardless of Emily's intentions and her housemates' response. The word nigger is clearly racially offensive and there was no justification for its use. We have removed Emily from the house to once again make it clear to all housemates and the viewers at home that such behaviour won't be tolerated."

Now that's reality TV!

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