Category: Uncategorized

On not having a clue what you’re writing about

I have spent a good two hours of my day trying to write my thoughts on a topic I thought I had a very clear opinion about. The more I thought about it, the less I managed to write, and the more I read what I wrote it became clearer I wasn’t really qualified to talk about what I wanted to talk about, mostly because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to say and who I wanted to say it to.

So I said nothing.

Put us out of our collective misery and let Malta win the Eurovision

Long before the Eurovision Song Contest overtook Scouting Jamborees as the campest worldwide events, the small island nation of Malta has been rabidly devoted to the contest, with the Virgin Mary being overtaken in the devotion stakes on final night.

And yet, despite the best efforts of Chiara and Ira Losco (2nd, 3rd, and 2nd), Malta has never won the dubious honour of hosting the contest, making it the musical equivalent of a lovelorn teenager (let’s call her Melita) being walked in on while about to lose her virginity to the the one that she loves. Three times.

In retrospect, these might have been blessings in disguise (much like the teenager, whose teenage relationships were all blighted by two-timing boyfriends and whose friends were all knocked up by the time they sat their A-levels), and with finances and space not being at a premium, one might be led to the conclusion that perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing, after all.

Bollocks to that, I say.

For one thing, the contest’s 120 million viewers will actually get to know what a beautiful country Malta is, unless all the “postcards” are produced by Where’s Everybody and feature “flash mobs” in Republic Street instead.

For another, the intensified media scrutiny on the island might highlight some of the issues the country faces – such as the plight of irregular migrants – and get the European community to do something about it.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to Malta hosting the contest is that it would be a real headache to find a venue to host it in. With a population of 410,000 people, Malta has no real use for a venue hosting up to 23,000 people, but the headache (and the finances) entailed to create a suitable venue for the contest might actually save the country millions.

How? The government is currently mulling the thought of building a tunnel between Malta and Gozo, a smaller island with 31,000 inhabitants, which may cost anything between €156 million and €1 billion. Given these kind of project’s tendency to go over-budget, we might be looking at a €1 billion bill. Which is an awful lot of money.

With the prospect of having to organise the contest looming close, the government would have another populist hobby horse to saunter around on – remember – the entire nation is Eurovision-obsessed, as opposed to the 31,000 souls (and goats) living on the sister island, and instead focus on making the Maltese Eurovision the best in living memory by spending less of the money it doesn’t have.

And much like our teenage girl, the country could be spared its misery and move on with its life.

In short, vote for Malta. Please?

UK residents can vote for the Maltese entry by calling 090 15 22 22 21. Calls cost 15p from a landline, considerably more from a mobile. (It’s 51p on Vodafone). 

How (Not) To Disappear Completely

Dear Reader,

Contrary to popular belief, I am still alive and trying to kick, and have finally started writing on a rag again, which happens to be Manic! magazine. For those of you who aren’t in possession of the papery type, click here and check out “Losing our Religion?”.

Re: the title of this post, it’s from a Radiohead song, which I happen to love. I actually bought the CD (Kid A) just for that song.

The Internet is Dead

Dear Readers,

After a long period of just thinking about doing it, I am currently trying to redesign the layout for the blog, after which I will resume posting. The thing is that I don’t have as much free time as I used to have last year when I started blogging, and the free time I have I’m using out in the non-virtual world (aka “The Real World”).

So, the issue is, what do the readers want?

Do they want a lot of pictures?

Some weird martian aardvark singing the Maltese national anthem in reverse?

Diagrams from an anatomy textbook?

etc..

Answers via comments please.

Re: The title- does “sex” work better as an attention grabber?

A Miniature Update

Dear Reader,

I’m in the middle of my exams. Should be reading Wuthering Heights, but I just spent the last 3 hours online. That would’ve been 5 posts at the very least.

A small update- I still am reading books, but I can’t be bothered to write about them, yet.

I really should be updating this thing more often.

But then again, the difference between “should” and “is” is why stuff is rarely done the way it should be, and most of the problems in the world.

Think about it, will you?

And post your replies here.

….

The 100 Book Mission™: Book 7


Clowning in Rome; Henri J.M. Nouwen; DLT


“Of the virtuosi we say, ‘How do they do it?’ Of the clowns we say, ‘They are like us.’ The clowns remind us . . . that we share the same human weaknesses.”

A book about the values of “solitude, celibacy, prayer and contemplation”- I must say that these 4 topics scare loads of people off, or at least put them off; myself included.
Mostly it’s because people are afraid of being alone with themselves, of seeing things as they are and of trusting a god they’ve known but never seen. Celibacy then, is another matter, mostly concerning people leading the religious life, to whom this book was addressed.

These activities in turn lead to a certain autonomy which makes Love genuine, coming not out of a need for affection or completion, but rather a generous outward act.

This gives seemingly insignificant activities (those to which Nouwen refers as “clowning”) a value which by far surpasses the actual act.

Not a book for everyone- it’s addressed at people in Christian ministry after all- but what’s inside still does count.

Tut tut tut…

Dear Reader,

My sincerest apologies go to you, faithful disciple of debris ™, who has been deprived of my semi-regular mental meanderings.

About the books.

I read a book called Clowning in Rome; it’s very good, I should’ve mentioned it long ago but haven’t. Work has been getting to me, so I couldn’t really take time off and read.

I also happen to have acquired a motor scooter, which is making reading on the bus a tad impossible.

So at the moment I’m reading nineteen eighty-four, which is sounding incredibly naive and optimistic, in hindsight.

I have also made the move back to a Windows Xp machine after 4 sad months on a 17″ iMac loaded with OS X 10.4. If you ask me, Apple should’ve stuck to fruit.

Happy 1st of April!

The 100 Book Mission™: Book 6

Queen of the Tambourine; Jane Gardam; Abacus 1991

Sorry for this one; I read it a while ago, and by consequence forgot most of the plot.

It’s about a certain Eliza Peabody, who starts writing letters to her imaginary neighbour about the latter’s imaginary family’s comings and goings; a very good illustration of manic delusions.

It ends nicely, much unlike this post.


The 100 Book Mission™: Book 5

The Kite Runner; Khaled Hosseini; Bloomsbury 2003

The Kite Runner- I bought it off Amazon because it came recommended along with A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian. As per the latter, both extremities of this book were covered in snippets of glowing reviews the book had received.

I must admit it, I’m often too lazy to check out new material for myself, rather, I let other people do it for me, and will keep on doing so until the day I run out of good, pre-reviewed, ideally multi-awarded books, films, albums and guitars. Then I’ll be rummaging around bookstores and actually reading bits of the text to see if I like them or not.

Or possibly I might try to pool in myself, if inspiration strikes.

Anyway, back to the Kite Runner. This is a bloody good book, and when I say bloody I mean it. It is a tale of friendship, honour, sacrifice, and ultimately, love – not the Valentine’s Day variety, sultry, sugary and sexy; rather it’s the kind of love that is so unnatural to our selfish nature, sacrificial and undemanding.

Excellently written, it is basically the journey of Amir, the narrator, in trying to make up for his betrayal of Hassan, his dear friend and servant who had loved him selflessly, trying to exorcise demons which had tormented him since he was 12 years old.

The result is a book which almost left me in tears (but didn’t, as usual), and which I made a point to finish within 2 days, rather like A Child Called It, by Dave Pelzer, which is similarly poignant. Indeed the emotions evoked are very similar, hearkening back to the strong bond children usually have with their parents and siblings. But I can’t stress enough how good this book is without boring myself to a premature death, so I’ll stop here.

Please do read it though.