Saturday, December 27, 2008

Out with the old and in with the new

Instead of blabbing on how great 2008 was I'd rather look ahead at 2009 and the greater things yet to come!

But first...rewind to 4 years ago...2004...a year of politically and emotionally fired award-winning music albums. The year when Saint Bono and Good Ol' Billy sang about atomic bombs and American idiots. Where are these guys and their bands now? Well, 2009 seems to be heralding some new material in the form of new U2 and Green Day albums.




'No Line on the Horizon' is set to be released by March 2009 as opposed to later this year since Bono claims the band wanted to wait a little longer so that they can make 2009 their year.

Regarding the Green Day album no official details have been released as of yet. However, if the two albums are released around the same time then it will be a repeat head-to-head battle like the one we saw 4 years ago. Not that the albums spoke of the same topics but when you've got two heavyweights like Green Day and U2 involved, you've got to stand up and take note.

We just have to wait and see if the new stuff is worth all the hubbabaloo.

And as for concerts...this is the part where my toes wiggle with glee and my cheeks turn scarlet red. Do you remember last October when I randomly suggested a Blur reunion would be a great piece of news to hear?? Well, ladies and gentlemen, it has finally happened!! Official news came out late November, early December and the band are going to perform in Hyde Park, London next year. Concert dates are set for July 2nd and 3rd. Tickets are on sale and it seems the July 3rd gig is already sold out. I am obviously trying to see how I can afford tickets to the show as I've already spent like 300 euro on travel expenses for 2009!! I'll just wait for more info as it seems they might be headlining next year's Glastonbury festival too. Tickets to that would be more prize-worthy especially seeing as another rockin' British Indie band which I love to bits will be there...FRANZ FERDINAND. The band are set to release a new album as well next year and have a UK and European Tour all lined up. Score!


Also, you thought the Norwegian duo 'Kings of Convenience' were never gonna clear the dust from their shelves, did you? Well, you're wrong. Despite the guys being in different projects and vocalist Erlend Øye working on the second 'The Whitest Boy Alive' album it seems their latest album since 2004 is coming out next year. The name is still a work in progress but the new material is bound to be great. It also seems the guys feel they need to get back to some live gigs under the KoC name. Good for them! Fans will much appreciate.



As for the highly anticipated events in Malta, next year...

No doubt that the return of Luuk Cox from Shameboy will be the crowning event of January 2009. Previously this year I wrote about Shameboy due to their growing popularity in Malta and my encounter with Luuk. The guy himself informed me that he will be back on January 23rd at Axis, Paceville. The event is already being advertised and is in various DJ gig diaries including Mathematikal, Junior B, Kenji and Squeak who will all be performing on the night. The event is organised by DONDISKO who are really giving a breath of fresh air to the dance scene with their fidget, electro and nu-disco themed events. Tickets are 10 euro and you can call on 79091884 for more info. Looking forward to that one...


Another cool, non-music related event is Swan Lake on Ice on the 10th-11th January. Yes, I do find ballet to be entertaining. The cool thing though is that it's gonna be more like figure skating but with a classic ballet theme. Last time I checked tickets were selling at about 25 euro for standard balcony seats. The event is the first of its kind in Malta and will take place at The Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta.

That's it for me and my visionary blog of the day.

I'll leave you with Resident's Advisor's Top 2008 music lists:-


And remember we have a Leap Second this year at the midnight of New Year's Eve, to correct a time lapse on Earth. So that means you get to kiss that stranger at midnight a little bit longer. ;-) Also, if you're aiming for your last binge drinking session for 2008 at least make sure you don't drive afterwards. Don't get a lift with anyone who's drunk either. Have a fun merry-making evening! This is probably my last blog for 2008 unless I feel the urge to write some more album reviews. If not...well...see you all next year!!

TaMMy xxx

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Comin atcha like a beam, like a ray, like a rooster, like a goose trapped in the rafters of a barn in Shropshire"


The above title is a quote from the hilarious TV show, THE MIGHTY BOOSH, which I ashamedly had been missing out on (since 2004) until a few weeks ago. Most probably many of you have been missing out too. So do yourselves a favour and check out The Mighty Boosh. Here's a taster...The Mighty Boosh PARTY episode!


Now that I got that off my chest, here's what's really comin atcha...




And my personal favourite is:-



Look at those stockings!! Carefully detailed complete with Maltese Luzzus and cute little fishies. ^_^ I LOVE THEM and these photos!!



The model is Steph and the stylists are RED BUTTON.



I've been seeing Red Button's work in various Maltese magazines including Insite and Manic as well as in the photo shoots of one of my favourite photographers and a friend of mine, Kris Micallef a.k.a. Krino.



This style team seem to keep their identity on the low and I don't think they have a website as of yet. However, I can tell you that they are made up of two friends whom I happen to know too, who have a taste for vivid colours, red buttons and a strong sense of Maltese heritage cleverly incorporated with some foreign influences too. Just imagine, for the ladies, a bright scarlet puffed shoulder jacket with thin black stripes and a Maltese Cross brooch to boot along with a black vintage cotton lace dress underneath finished off by a pair of grass green stockings with black pin-stripes and shiny red Wizard of Oz style shoes. In the hair, a scrunchy band screaming from ear to ear in wacky shades of green and hints of red and orange. As for the guys, you'll have to wait. I haven't seen enough shoots to fire up my imagination. However, I assume a white vest with a 3D pop-out homemade design created using bits of cloth, yarn and buttons, a pair of baggy brown sack/linen like pants with thin dark brown stripes (which gather mid-calf and have a gold button on each leg), grey ribbed socks and dark brown short leather military style boots. Then a long loose light grey buttoned cardigan (open) and on top one of those Maltese farmer hats (beritta) in a matching shade of brown with the trousers (preferably tartan or stripey print)!! Hope I got that right and hope you got an idea of the grandeur and creativity these two stylists are creating. What I appreciate the most is their ability to add Maltese identity to their works. You can see their interview in the last issue of Manic Magazine. I have yet to read it but if I find it I'll try and scan+upload it here.



As for Kris Micallef...he is one of the finer talents in photography on this island and you should really check out his work on http://www.krismicallef.com/ . The above photos are all his doing.



In the coming weeks I will be the subject of one of his photoshoots so keep your eyes peeled for that one!

PS: Check this month's issue of Platinum Love to see another up-and-coming designer...CHURPINA (Charlene Joan Sant).





Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For all it's worth, it was worth all the while



DAY 9

I don't know how to start this last blog entry but I just did.

Simply...
Put...

...We made it to LIVERPOOL!!!




November 6th, 2008. We all dressed our full-on Fanwalk gear, had a quick breakfast and headed off to catch a ferry to Albert Dock, Liverpool. The ferry ride wasn't the most pleasing or glamorous experience what with all the misty outlines and murky British waters.

When we actually landed in Liverpool we were quite taken by our surroundings. This was the European Capital of Culture 2008 for a reason and the locals made sure we knew it at every corner.

We walked our way to the Echo Arena and when we arrived we were greeted by Dirk and the international press. Soon enough, internet-celeb Perez Hilton (cyber-host of this year's awards) came to welcome us. We all got a chance to take pictures with him and talk to him. He is such a flirt with the guys. HAHA.





Then we wore the Echo Arena pass so that we could enter the place for the first time. My first reaction was: It's not THAT big? My second reaction was: I wonder where WE will be seated/standing? While my third reaction was: What the heck is that cannon doing on stage? The 1st and 2nd questions remained unanswered but the third was promptly replied to by the appearance of scantily dressed dancers with pom-poms, just like cheerleaders, on stage. It was quite obvious that they were rehearsing for one of Katy Perry's performances.

We didn't really get the time to check out the place since we were rushed back out due to a strict schedule. Before leaving to our hostel we gathered for our last photoshoot with Dirk holding a wobbly, springy MTV EMA award, in front of the specially erected EMA monument.

As soon as we got to the hostel all hell broke loose. We had to be ready by 4pm so that we could have dinner together and get to the arena by around 6pm because people wouldn't be allowed in after that time. I think I ironed 4 different outfits including my own and gave away 2 pairs of tights too! In the end I had no time to treat my blister properly so I slipped into my heels and rushed out. This was the end result:-




Now, a girl wearing heels on sore feet is a dangerous thing if not unhealthy! But I did not anticipate the extent of damage on the sole of my foot. The pavements in Liverpool are mostly cobble-stone which proved deadly to me. As I was slowly making my way to the arena, a sharp pain shot up my leg and my ankle gave way on the cobble-stone. As I clutched onto Chloe to stand straight, I couldn't believe this was happening. We had almost arrived to the restaurant so I ripped off my heels and walked barefoot through Liverpool till we got there (How dramatic! HAHA. You must be roaring with laughter right about now). We got into the restaurant and joined the seating queue and on closer inspection it was revealed the sole of my foot was covered in blood and the sore on my foot had opened. The blood got through my plaster and stained the inside of my shoe. Everyone looked like stars and I was barefoot and bewildered. But I wasn't going to be let down. I just needed a way to get back to the hostel. Luckily, one of the organisers saw me and was kind enough to contact Troy. She was a life-saver! Too bad I don't know her name but I would like to thank her from the bottom of my heart. Anyway, back to the action! So, Troy got me some first-aid materials and I cleaned and bandaged my left foot in the Ladies' Room. Then he joined me for dinner on the table while we waited for the taxi he had called. I was so grateful that he got a taxi in no time and made sure I got there safely. I managed to get to my room, adjust my bandage and change my shoes to flat pumps in no time! Hallelujah.

Soon enough I found myself with Sarah making our way to the Echo Arena. Sure I had a bandage on my foot and no heels (boo-hoo) but nothing could stop me. This was the day I had been waiting for and we were finally going on with ticket in our hand and tag on our wrist. As we were rushing past the fans, two security guards called me. They thought I was Beyonce. I guess they were just pulling my leg, but it really was a confidence boost to me at that moment.

I quickly forgot about my foot and got down to finding my seat. As soon as that was established we raided the bars to get our free drinks. It was free cocktails all night and we were loving it! Obviously, the standard girls-night-out-restroom-shots ensued.

I don't think I need to comment about the WHOLE show because most of you saw it on TV or in repeats or even on the internet. However, I will comment that our seats sucked! They were at nose-bleed level and terrible for taking photos and videos. It would have been better if we were standing in the pitch close to the stage and star-audience-interactivity. The show itself LIVE is far better when seen on TV. The lights were pretty top of the list in coolness though. Katy Perry made a fairly good host but 30 Seconds to Mars just ruined her efforts. Puh-leaaaaseee, gimme the Foo Fighters any day of the week over those guys! Best performance? I would have to say a cross between THE KILLERS and KANYE WEST feat. ESTELLE, even though Kanye and Estelle were crap vocally. P!nk's performance obviously kicked ass, as always, but I was a bit dissapointed with Beyonce's performance. I mean I love Beyonce and I'm glad she chose to focus her performance on her actual profession: SINGING. Still, I always wanted to see a Beyonce SHOW...you know...the sexy raw dance number and bursting-at-the-seams energy! I was happy with her act though. She is a strong, talented woman. And finally, The Ting Tings just blew my socks off. Heard and seen live they are perfect. Katie's voice sounds exactly like on the record and I love the way she delivers her lines with her sharp quirky movements and style. Together with Jules, they're going places. Duffy and Kid Rock were really cool too.

The most anticipated moment of the night was surely when Dirk presented 30 Seconds to Mars with the award of Video Star along with Kerry Katona. Dirk got the VIP treatment that night and he actually looked pretty high on stage. LOL. But he did a great job and we were all so proud of him. The best moment was when the Fanwalk advert came up on screen and we stood up singing 'Pull it Together' like lunatics in front of a whole arena of onlookers. Ahh, good times, good times.

Et puis...

Le After Party!!

This is where we mingled with the A-listers baby! I met the likes of Kanye West, The Little Terrors, Solange Knowles and my idol Lauri Ylönen from THE RASMUS. I even got a pic with him:-




The crowd was so cool and happy. I found myself talking and dancing with random people. The place itself was huge. Like a whole corner block HUGE. There were different floors and rooms everywhere. I got lost countless times. There was also free-flowing alcohol and delicious party food like giant prawns, sheperd's pie and pasta-cups. It was a really fun night and worth it in the end even though we didn't really get to meet all the celebs we thought we would. Also, security was really tight even to take pictures with some celebs. Ultimately, we just wanted to enjoy our last night together because the next day some of us had to leave early to catch their flights.

The Maltese were the last group to leave Liverpool the next day. In fact, we even had time for shopping in the morning. I don't really want to write about this last bit because it was both a sad and satisfying day. However, I am sure that this experience will never leave me and that I will visit Liverpool again soon enough. At least, even to get a closer look at the Beatles musuem which we didn't have time to really visit.

And so ends my first trip to the UK.

I miss it so much but know I will meet my new-found family soon enough. We will be meeting all again in Amsterdam in February 2009 for a reunion. I' m really hoping I can get enough money to go because it's going to be a big gathering with the Dutch fanwalkers recruiting a film crew to follow the event. We might also do some fundraising through music. I can't wait!

Thanks everyone for helping me achieve this dream and for following my experience with the same enthusiasm I had throughout the trip. This final blog is dedicated to all those that appreciate music and its influence in the world. Music is the most abundant and influential resource of every era. And now as 2009 has been declared the European Year of Creativity and Innovation, I invite you to explore this medium and make a change in the world through it. Hopefully, as Fanwalkers we can carry on this music pilgrimage and pass on the message of music throughout all of Europe and maybe one day...the WORLD. In the great words of Lenny Kravitz: "Let's start a LOVE REVOLUTION!"

Peace out,

TaM x

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The final days...



DAY 7

On Day 7, I woke up with my first blister after one week of walking. Due to the commotion of getting ready for each event and consuming vast amounts of alcohol (JOSE!!!!), I left it untreated. Somehow, I managed a full day's walking from Whitchurch to Chester.

On the way, we visited a Dairy Farm and had ourselves some British ice-cream. Everyone was so tired but we all had one thing on our minds...who was going to win tonight?! Some common names were whispered on our lips and people ushered their favourites but it was all down to that evening's judging.

The judging ceremony took place at Peckforton Castle...a titan structure of historic times. It is the only intact medieval castle in the UK and feels like a scene out of a Harry Potter film. Check it out: http://www.peckfortoncastle.co.uk/. It felt all very regal and we were served quaill meat for dinner amongst other strangely named foods.


After dinner, the Judges (Kate Edmonson: our MTV host for Fanwalk, Sara Kelly-Husain and Julian Hewitt: Clubfeet) commented on the presentations by each finalist. All of them were really good but you could tell some were more nervous than others. We actually got to see the presentations since they were done in the banquet hall where we had dinner.

The moment Dirk (Germany) was announced winner that night you could feel everyone's shoulders dropping and their hands coming together in one huge applause. Shoulders dropped because that tense feeling of anticipation was destroyed and hands clapped in approval. Of course, some people felt dissapointed but after that defining moment our friendship was sealed forever.




DAY 8

The next day was Guy Fawkes Day in the UK. We walked it from Chester to Wirral (Heswall). Despite the aches and pains we experienced from all the walking and exhaustion this may have been one of the very best walks. That element of competition was totally eroded and now that we knew each other so well it all boiled down to that feeling on our first day except better cause we had a history of good times to share along the way. Everyone was just mixing with different groups since there were no challenges so we were free to hang out with who we wanted to. I took this as an opportunity to talk to other people I didn't really have the chance to speak to properly. By this time most people (mostly girls) had caught on the trend me and Sarah started. A sort of high-school school-leaving book for jotting down memories, messages and contact details. It all felt a bit strange. Now that we knew the winner and could finally relax and be together as one big family, it was all over! Tomorrow, would be the day we land in Liverpool...the day we had all been waiting for. But, we were just not feeling it. We wanted to be fanwalkers forever. Liverpool never felt so close as that day. And after 8 days complaining: "Are we there yet??" , it all seemed to have ended too quickly!


That evening, we got to our hotel (at this point I don't remember any more names), and then drove to this location for our Guy Fawkes-style bonfire night complete with crappy amateur fireworks. Despite the petty attractions we conjured up our own form of entertainment in the form of campfire songs. We sang all the fanwalk classics. Wonderwall by Oasis, Good Riddance by Greenday and all our other special songs. Inside the dinner hall, people were signing their farewell books and some were crying and hugging each other. I felt a bit gloomy that night. Not only because of the general mood but I was in pain. My blister was 3 times too large and I had burst it open and tried to burn it before stepping out. Blonde moment, right there. Not that I haven't done it before. It's a pretty effective yet gross technique. However, this was the grand-daddy of all blisters and I went tampering with it.

Sheloian (the gorgeous one) presented some awards for the best bloggers too. They all got a new phone and bag by Sony Ericsson. I know that Sheloian reads this blog so I'd like to wish him all the best for the festive season. He really helped us Maltese a lot and he's an awesome guy.


Back at the hotel we had our last party together (besides the awards after party). I don't remember much of that night. Did I go to bed early? :O Everything's a blur to me now. All I knew is that the next morning we would have to wear our full fanwalk gear for the international press and Dirk would be attending soundcheck early in the morning...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

These boots were made for walking...


DAY 5

It was Sunday and it was our day off. From walking, that is!!

All we were told the night before is that the next day we would have to dress up in our own personal style for a photoshoot and then perform a little challenge. NO WALKING. That sounded cool especially since we were going to Oxford and could do some shopping...

It was a bit of a struggle getting ready in the morning but we made our way out and packed the Fanwalk party bus for a new adventure.



When we got to Radcliffe Square in Oxford and finished our shoot we were briefed about our challenge for the day and for the next day. We had to split up in teams and create bands by collecting musical items from the streets of Oxford in any non-criminal manner. We couldn't buy the stuff either.


Three persons from each team followed by their own camera crew scoured the streets in search of "instruments". The result was amusing and quite creative. My team even managed to get an actual item from a band's tour bus...the "Cage the Elephant" tour cow-bell!! (www.myspace.com/cagetheelephant)


In the evening we were split up in four different hotels which SUCKED. Particularly scary was our choice of hotel...the Formule 1. We were just a group of about 10 separated from the rest of the team. However, we quickly made up for that at our night party location...the Barton's Arms. This pub was so majestic and breathtaking with its swooping staircase and chandeliers, that I couldn't help stop and stare. In addition, I felt some sort of connection with its musical roots especially when I found out icons like Ozzy Osbourne and UB40 used to be regulars there.

The night was pretty relaxed and Clubfeet got a little more intimate with an up-close-and-personal gig followed by some fanwalker performances. The Italian fanwalkers entertained us with their dance rendition of Mamma Mia!, Caroline from Germany sang a little Cranberries and the Free Booze Band played the unofficial fanwalk song - "Wonderwall".



DAY 6


And then we busked.

The sixth day saw us in Birmingham starting off with some time with the Birmingham press and some more photoshoots. By this time we had all gotten sick of getting our pictures taken.

Our mission was to use the instruments we had collected the day before to BUSK for charity. We all had our hats, tins and jars ready for collecting coins in aid of Sound Futures: an organisation in Birmingham providing underprivileged kids the chance to play an instrument. Unfortunately, we were stopped by the fuzz, but still managed to collect a lot of money in a short time.

On the bus ride to our walking spot of the day, Sarah (my fellow Maltese sister) suggested we do a mini-challenge to get a wristband. Seeing that we were only going to walk 8 kms that morning we thought we'd tie our shoelaces together for the whole distance. This day was to be known as Muddy Monday...

Never in my 19 years of life did I see such quantity, depth and density of mud before!! It was the worst day to pick a challenge but we endured. Two kilometres of tripping, falling on our arses and getting mud in our pants we were finally made to stop, much to our dismay. The terrain was too dense and we were slowing the team down. It was the funniest and most difficult walking experience of my life but totally worth it because later that night we were awarded a special Sony Ericsson gadget for it (http://www.engadget.com/2006/02/14/sony-ericssons-hbh-ds970-stereo-bluetooth-headset-with-remote/). Also, we travelled through dark woodland with steep climbs and our torches to guide us. It was a new experience for me.

The good news was that we got to spend the evening in a Spa Resort with comfortable beds, spa facilities and a mini-fridge in each room. *grin* The rooms were so large and opened up to the lawn. Basically, we kept the residents up all night. ;)

The biggest announcement that night was when Troy revealed the final list of eligible fanwalkers to present the award at the MTV EMAs. The pressure was certainly on for these guys as they had 24 hours to prepare a 1 minute speech explaining why they were the ones to present the award. However, for that one night, nerves were pushed aside.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Let the good times roll...



DAY 2

There's one thing I hate about British fields...the gates! We climbed over many a gate, I assure you. However, they're easier to tackle than the Maltese rubble wall. Therefore, I'll stop complaining. And anyway we learned to make gate-crossing fun by kissing the person who passed after us on the cheek after each gate. Awwww...

The most significant part of the day was undoubtedly the first challenge. Troy (see picture above) made us walk the final stretch to our location with our arms in the air and finally also standing on one foot in a line (still with our arms in the air). It was tough because it was bitter cold and I had no gloves on. When we got to put our arms down in the end I couldn't feel them!!

That evening we got to Watford (Geri Halliwell's hometown) and had to get ourselves ready in an hour to go out again. Something which became routine to us. We made our way to WALKABOUT (http://www.walkabout.eu.com/home/venues/london/watford) for our next challenge...KARAOKE. I won't reveal much but I can say it was an interesting night. However, in memory of good times I can say it was the honorary night when the FREE BOOZE BAND was born (named after all the free drinks they gave us each night) and the night I visited my first British club, OCEANA (http://www.oceanaclubs.com/watford/). This club is so cool and has got different bars and one main arena. Thanks to our UK fanwalker friends, John and Sinead, who showed us round their usual clubbing spots.


DAY 3

This was the day I realised that wearing heels after walking 15kms is not the brightest of all choices. Nevertheless, I did wear heels on various nights leading to a sprained ankle incident on the night of the Europe Music Awards, but I'll tell you all about that in later blogs...

The third day was actually sunny and bright and we walked along the Glade River (canals) to Hemel Hempstead. We also had a hilarious piggyback challenge. The fact it was so funny was because the person being carried and the carrier's body ratios varied in size. You had some people with tiny body frames carrying much bigger fanwalkers on their backs. The falls and laughs were countless.




Day Three was also October 31st, aka HALLOWEEN. Our evening challenge was the hair challenge. Lots of clever hair designs were created and everyone put on their best Halloween outfits. The party was held at this house by the side of the canal known as THE BOAT (very original name, I know). I was a little homesick that night for some reason but after I heard Michael Jackson's THRILLER (which I had been waiting for all night) then I got into full party swing!! Celebrations continued till the early morning back at the hotel.


DAY 4

The morning after the night before. Scary. Somehow, we managed to roll out of bed, grab a bite to eat and start our walk to Aylesbury. A few canal side scenes and a trust challenge later, we got to our destination all pooped out only to find a horrible dormitory/sports centre. The hall I slept in actually had 14 beds for guys and girls. You could see that the toll of walking and hard nights partying was taking its effect on us. Some people were getting cranky and didn't want to go out for the evening's challenge. However, it turned out to be one of the funnest challenges...DISCO BOWLING!! I was in the Sex Pistols team so we had to dress up like the group. Other teams included the KISS team, ELVIS team, P!NK team, MICHAEL JACKSON team, THE BEATLES team, PUSSYCAT DOLLS team (or Amy Winehouse, I'm not so sure) amongst others. We really had some team spirit going like never before. We were becoming more than just friends...we were becoming a family...the FANWALK FAMILY.


(to be continued)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back to reality...

...because FANWALK was just a dream!

I cannot even begin to explain my gratitude and disbelief towards SONY ERICSSON for organising such a perfectly unique event. And now I sit here on my bed trying to garner the energy to put it all down in words without shedding a tear.

Our journey started early on the morning of Tuesday, 28th October 2009. As usual, I was late...as in 30 minutes-check-in-before-flight late! I met the others and I could tell everyone was nervous. As soon as we entered the aeroplane I dropped my passport with excitement.

We were all tired but couldn't sleep on the plane (except for Sarah...she could sleep through a hurricane). As soon as we arrived at Gatwick airport we were greeted by a petite old lady with the Sony Ericsson Fanwalk sign and that's when we knew we were in the right place!

The first friends we made on the drive to our first hostel in London (The Holland Park Hostel http://www.yha.org.uk/find-accommodation/london/hostels/london-holland-park/index.aspx) were two of the Ukrainian fanwalkers - Liliia and Aleks. As soon as we got to the hostel and started meeting other fanwalkers we knew this was going ot be a special adventure. That first day was so long with so many things happening. Fanwalkers kept arriving till the evening and we must have gone shopping on the Kensington High Street about three times! That same night we were given our Sony Ericsson W-series mobile phones and some instructions on the Fanwalk. The Maltese crew got this model:-



Pretty schnazzy, right? ;) The person who blogged most with their phone even stood the chance of winning another mobile phone!

We also got lots of goodies like walking gear (sponsored by Reebok and EDC by Esprit) as well as Sony Ericsson candy, pens and badges. I also got to meet my cousin for the first time because he works in one of the local post-offices. That was pretty cool and meaningful to me.

Then, later that evening, we had our first taste of the night life. Nothing special really. We all crashed at this neat pub called Kensington Arms and made friends with so many people. It was cool because we had music as a topic to get things going and so many different tastes and lifestyles were revealed. We talked about our countries too and how we all got into this competition. It was pretty cool. The walk back was crazy though since it was snowing! However, as soon as we got to the hostel we hung out in one of the bigger dorms and got to know some other people. It was so relaxed and soothing...Andi (from Germany) playing tunes on his guitar and everyone on the floor singing and chatting. Another taster of nights to come...

DAY 1
The next day saw us all together as a group and marked the beginning of some very serious friendships and lessons in packing and unpacking. We had to check out really early and dress up in our star outfit, i.e. , dress up as our favourite artist. Some people went all out and it was cool. The most over-copied star was Justin Timberlake. I tried my best at being Alicia Keys...not bad, don't you think?

We got to see some cool sites like the Big Ben, the London Eye and Westminster Abbey. We also had a photoshoot with various members of the press and some of us got interviewed. This was our first real reminder that it was going to take much more to get Malta noticed.
After the shoot, we went to this cool club in Camden, London, known as Jazz Cafe (http://www.jazzcafelive.com/). This is where we changed into our walking gear and met for the first time the band that would be travelling, partying and living with us for the next 9 days. They came by the name of CLUBFEET (www.myspace.com/clubfeetband) and boy were they good!! They performed some of their songs for us that day including the Official Fanwalk song 'KEEP IT TOGETHER', which was to be drilled into our brains in the following days. I also bought my first wellies from the Camden market. Aren't they fab? ^^

And then, we WALKED. Our first walk. 15km. I shall never forget it. Everyone was mingling with each other and it was the only day we were at maximum energy levels. HAHA. We were divided into groups of about 20 each so as not to startle the locals. My first group leader was the almighty JEN from the Outward Bound Non-Profit Making Organisation (http://www.outwardbound.org/). She was so awesome and I regret not having my picture taken with her or any of the group leaders actually. They really helped us get along the British wilderness except for Mr. Brown (he was a little misguided but a nice chap really! hehe). We first walked up to Mill Hill and through Hampstead Heath and paused a hundred times for interviews and photoshoots, but it was fun. By the time we got to the tourbus, we all looked at each other and thought that wasn't so bad. Never a more fallous statement there was.

The tour bus took us to the Days Inn Hotel...a welcome sight! This is where we learned how to get washed and changed in 30 minutes in time for our first briefing. Troy the motivator introduced us to the wristband challenges which basically meant that in order to be in the running to present an award at the EMAs we had to partake in different challenges along the way, earning us wristbands. The top 15 people with wristbands would then pass through to the finals. All we could say was...BRING IT ON!!
(to be continued)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Last Weekend

Sounds like the title to some crap teen-horror flick featuring Paris Hilton, but in fact it's only just the name of this particular blog. Last weekend? Precisely. This is my last weekend in Malta before jetting off to London for the Sony Ericsson Fanwalk for the MTV EMAs 2008 (read blog below).

Seeing as I'm going to be insanely busy until Monday, this might be my last blog in a long while. However, I promise to fit in my last rock album review on Sunday for the month of Rocktober.
First things first though. Whoever missed last weekend's Indie Pop night at Velo Lounge is a sorry loser! Ouch, that was harsh. No, what I meant to say is that whoever couldn't make it due to unforeseen circumstances must wait a whole bloody year to go again! I'm mean, aren't I? Muhahahahaha. But seriously, Spots and Stripes was a success especially for all Indie Pop enthusiasts and also newcomers to this kind of music. This was my first DJ Bob party, who along with Gustav played a repertoire of delicious indie tunes, french song and a mix of soul, soundtrack and vocal tracks, remixes and covers. The crowd was pop-pop-popping the night away. Score!

Now on to this weekend's events...

My Last Weekend is starting off FRIDAY 24th OCTOBER at 9pm sharp at MINK Bar and Lounge, Level 2, Baystreet. Mink is a new lounge bar specialising in live Jazz acts and DJs spinning deep/soul house, a varied selection of cocktails and platters, and a unique vibe away from the chaotic centre of Paceville. MINK is also trying to promote jackin house which is one of the less popular music genres in Malta with DJs like Dave Brown promoting the style. I've been obsessed with this type of music for a year now. In the UK, jackin and also fidget house are very much in demand. Some people confuse these two genres with the Chicago based funky house rhythms but a study of its origins suggests it may have originated from Dublin, thus explaining its popularity in the UK.

Jackin house is a sub-genre of deep house but can still be classified as a single genre. It carries with it a lot of funky house influences but also the downtempo/lounge sounds so popular with deep house. Jackin house is so called because of its common use of bouncy basslines and beats. These beats are referred to as jackin' beats (beats that make you jack your body...no not that kind of jackin' you filthy mind you!). It also includes a lot of smooth and sexy textures and vocals. A lot of Jackin house artists include vocals from Soul, Funk and Blues songs. Farley Jackmaster Jack is one such artist hailing from Chicago who produces this kind of house. When you think Jackin you think Farley Jackmaster Jack, Sinden, Funkagenda, Derrick L. Carter etc. Here's an example:-

video



Jackin house is overshadowed by an even greater love of mine...FIDGET HOUSE!!


Fidget House is huge!! I mean, it has definitely got a bigger fanbase than jackin' house. Again, the origins of this genre are unknown but are usually linked to the UK. In fact this music is heavily influenced by UK garage, rave and breakbeat. Fidget house gets its name from the direct, cut-up, glitchy sounds it has mixing various music styles in a dodgy pattern known as FIDGET. I believe both fidget and jackin house were named after general body movements witnessed on the dance-floor as well as the style of music themselves. The prominent basslines bending in pitch along with the crazy embedded sound snippets (from cow moos to sirens to a tv commercial) make fidget a very energetic type of music to dance to. I love this music because it's so eclectic bringing together other favourite genres of mine like progressive, tech-house and trance. When i think of Fidget house I immediately think of the Italian maestros, CROOKERS. Man, do they fidge-it! They call it ghetto-tech though. Actually, a fidget tune is sometimes referred to as glitchy-tech, glitchy electro, bump, switchy house or wonk-house. Fidget remains the proper term. I also love Boyz Noise, Sinden, Kelevra, Switch, Solid Groove, A-Trak, Hervé, Detboi and Micky Slim, all leaders of fidget. Of course, there are many others out there as well as particular labels putting out this music (Sick! Recordings, Crux Records, Pottymouth etc). Here's a little taster:-


video


Anyway, that's my little feature on fidget/jackin house and some MINK promo. I'm not so sure if fidget house will also be included at the lounge but I have no doubt I will be spending many a countless weekend at this new lounge and you should to!



Moving on...

My Friday continues at POXX BAR which is one of my absolute most favourite clubs in Malta. I never had a dull night there. This time I'll be attending my second installment of TDDR featuring Mathematikal, Kenji and Boy Kills Girl. Entrance is free. Event starts at 11pm. Don't miss that one fokes!
Part III of weekend from heaven skips to Saturday night where I will be attending my first ONE LOVE event...finally! A night of Reggae infused vibrations in the cool settings of Tigulio with special prices on Mojito and other drinks. Entrance is free until midnight. Massif! Can't wait for that one.


Last but not least, here are some other events happening this Saturday which you might be interested in:-

  1. ARMANI MANIA at Axis MegaClub

  2. Rugby World Cup 2011 Qualifier - MALTA vs CROATIA at Hibernians ground. Time: 1 to 5pm

That's pretty much it guys. I hope you enjoy your weekends and do stop me if you see me around. Also, wish me luck for next week!! I'll miss you all but will be back in no time.

Chill ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In case you hadn't noticed...

Just over a month ago, right on this very blog, I posted an item talking about a little something called Fanwalk. Several sleepless nights later shared with friends and family clicking away past midnight, I finally reached my target. I am now one of the first official MTV Fanwalkers in history! This is a big opportunity for me to represent music in general not only for Malta but worlwide. I cannot stop thanking people enough for their continuous support. Although I promised to mention all my supporters on my blog, I never knew that I would have over 174 supporters by the end of this! Without offending or leaving out anyone, I'll just send out a huge embrace to all who shared my excitement and determination.

Now some updates...

As you can imagine, preparations are underway. I got my flight information and event details in the last 5 days PLUS I'll be leaving Malta in 5 days time!! DEPARTURE DATE:- Tuesday, 28th October. It's too mind-boggling!! The actual awards night is on November 6th (8pm GMT) LIVE on MTV (just add an hour for Malta!). So, make sure you stay home and watch us 100 fanwalkers opening the awards and also cheering the crowd on in the first row. Also, it seems we will be walking the red carpet in the pre-awards MTV live footage. One of the winners will also get the chance to present an award on stage. I basically have 1 in a 100 chance of doing that. HAHA.

MTV have announced that the awards host will be Katy Perry (I Kissed a Girl) and the awards digital host will be Perez Hilton. However, the best part is the official list of artists nominated and performing! I couldn't believe it when I found out I would be seeing my music idols Beyoncé and P!NK perform live as well as The Killers, Duffy and Kid Rock. Then my brain just went berzerk today when MTV announced that Take That will be performing live too!! We will be literally watching history here as the band come back to perform at the awards show in its 15th anniversary after performing in the very first EMA back in 1994! To add more spice to the recipe, they will be playing a single from their new album coming out December 1, 2008 in front of their first pan-European audience. Can it get any crazier than that?!

Here is the official list of nominees which you can vote for on
http://www.mtvema.com/:-

ROCK OUT
- 30 Seconds to Mars
- Linkin Park
- Metallica
- Paramore
- Slipknot

ULTIMATE URBAN
- Alicia Keys
- Beyonce
- Chris Brown
- Kanye West
- Lil Wayne

ACT OF 2008
- Amy Winehouse
- Britney Spears
- Coldplay
- Leona Lewis
- Rihanna

NEW ACT
- Duffy
- Jonas Brothers
- Katy Perry
- Miley Cyrus
- One Republic

BEST ACT EVER
- Britney Spears
- Chrisitna Aguilera
- Green Day
- Rick Astley
- Tokio Hotel
- U2

MOST ADDICTIVE TRACK (If only Sam Sparro's Black and Gold made it on the list...)
- Coldplay: VIVA LA VIDA
- Duffy: MERCY
- Katy Perry: I KISSED A GIRL
- Kid Rock: ALL SUMMER LONG
- P!nk: SO WHAT

HEADLINER
- Foo Fighters
- Linkin Park
- Metallica
- The Cure
- Tokio Hote;

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
- Alicia Keys: AS I AM
- Britney Spears: BLACKOUT
- Coldplay: VIVA LA VIDA OR DEATH AND ALL HIS FRIENDS
- Duffy: ROCKFERRY
- Leona Lewis: SPIRIT

...and there is also a long list of different artists for Europe's Favourite Act including Russia's winner for Eurovision 2008, DIMA BILAN amongst others.

Voting is open until November 6th and starting from October 29th you can see videos of our Fanwalk adventure on
http://www.fanwalk.tv/. We will also have a special blog given to us to update everyone on what's going on in the UK in preparation for the MTV EMA 2008. Good stuff!

Friday, October 17, 2008

T. G. I. F. baby!!!



Can you feel it? Don't you want to jump up in the air like you just don't care? This is a blessed day, indeed. So, all together now, exhale deeply almost like you want to suck all the air in the room and from everyone's lungs and shout: THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY!!!


There are lots of activities and parties tonight. But, due to the rain most of you might be snuggling up to a hot cup of cocoa and watching a DVD. That's cool. But, you better get your lazy asses up tomorrow because there are a lot of events taking place...

...Saturday, 18th October 2008.

The day starts off at 10am with RECLAIM THE WORLD held in our beloved capital city, Valletta, right in the middle of Freedom Square. According to the site:-


Reclaim the World is an activity which Moviment Graffitti annually organises to raise awareness on global issues such as poverty, exploitation and environmental destruction. Its aim is to show that because of the present political and economical world-system, few corporations and big interests are making huge profits at the expense of the majority of the persons in the world. However our main message is that another world is possible, only if we fight our battles for equality and social justice.


The event will feature various NGOs and debates or discussions on world issues all through the day, the main talks taking place at 10am and 11.30am. Finally, at 7pm a live concert will be held with the participation of local bands BNI, Organised Disorder, Subculture and Brazillian artist Edoardo.


After lending a hand in world issues you have two hours to scoot back home, shower, get dressed, eat a sandwich and head out to one of three places.



You can either:-

  1. Go back to the City and visit Velo Lounge at Lo Squero for SPOTS AND STRIPES - Indie Pop Night 4 extraodinaire, hosted by Dj Bob featuring G for Gustav. The dress code is Spotty or Stripey clothes (girls encouraged to bring lollipops and spotty hair clips too) and as Bob says 'I like to keep thing simple'. So just show up, pop €2 in a tin can and pop-pop-indie-pop the night away!


  2. Or head down to Sliema to attend ESPIONAGE 60's and deep house night at Escape Club (formerly Dukes). These nights are highly successful and are running nine years strong. This is an underground event with modern elements mixed with old-school soul and projectors. Tickets €6.



  3. Or go up to Molecule Club in Rabat for Soul-Furik 8 feat. Mahoney, Ziggy and Luc Adams.


After attempting to recover from your hangover on Sunday morning you can take a pic-nic basket and skip down to your favourite grass patch in the numerous valleys or fields around Malta. I reckon today's rain is going to make everything fresh and lively. If nature basking isn't your thing, however, you can continue the party at the newly opened Sidewalk in Sliema (ex-Chequers). I passed by today and it looks really inviting. Definitely, a brighter entrance than Chequers was. Music provided by Luc Adams and Ziggy.


So there you have it! TGIF and TGITW (Thank God It's The Weekend) in all it's glory.


Enjoy! xxx

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One thousand apologies...

...for not updating this blog in the past 11 days!

I've just had a very busy time since I started my second year as a university student and my lectures and commitments just got harder. I hope you've been having a great Rocktober but just in case I'm here to make things better. :)

6 days till the Kaiser Chief's new album 'Off With Their Heads' will be released in Europe on October 20th (October 28th for the USA). This is the band's third album after their first two commercial successes. Back in 2005 when I heard the band I was absolutely thrilled. When 'Yours Truly Angry Mob' came out last year I said "By gosh! They sound even better!!". Now, eager fans are wondering, can they do it again? The first single off the new album is already getting airplay and the ever-in-demand Mark Ronson has nothing but praise for the new stuff.

The tracklist in the following order includes:-

1. Spanish Metal

2. Never Miss A Beat

3. Like It Too Much

4. You Want History

5. Can't Say What I Mean

6. Good Days Bad Days

7. Tomato In The Rain

8. Half The Truth

9. Always Happens Like That

10. Addicted To Drugs

11. Remember You're A Girl




And here's the vid to their first single 'Never Miss a Beat' including vocals by Lily Allen (wherever they are!!):-



video

You can scroll down to the bottom of the page and pause the music!

Enjoy ^^

Friday, October 3, 2008

ROCKTOBER

For some reason or other October is associated to ROCK with hundreds of radio stations, websites and big companies dedicating hours of rock updates, new song releases and trivia throughout the month. It could be because the lazy outdoor vibe of summer is over at this time of the year and people prefer to stay indoors. Thus, the closed surroundings and lack of sun induce people to mosh so as to simulate the hot sticky feeling of summer. Many people, including myself, adapt a punkier style of clothing too. I'm sure you've already spotted young people wearing warm checked scarfs and a pair of Vans or Converse shoes (Oh! How I love my Vans!!). Whatever the reason, you must admit it does sound better than Ruly! Scooby Snack anyone?



In tribute to this rock-worthy month I will set my music player to a rock style selection later on this weekend and also remind you all of another greatly anticipated album to be released on October 6th. I didn't mention it before because it's already got a lot of articles and band interviews about it on the world wide web. But, I can't not spare a word or two especially since the first single from the album was released only this week!



The Album: DIG OUT YOUR SOUL
The Artist: OASIS

The guys are back after two years and it seems are in "rocking form". Being one of Britian's legendary rock icons is no easy title to hold. The band members were always relaxed about their music with a lot of their songs verging on the acoustic edge and their lifestyle and attitude causing them to lose popularity especially in America. This is their first album with no acoustic songs and feels a bit more rock 'n' roll than their previous albums. It's not that the group had a particular focus in mind. According to them they just wanted to make "an absolutely fucking colossal album." And with the release of their first single 'The Shock of the Lightning' it seems that they may have done just that!



If only Blur would reunite though. That truly would be a Rocktober worth celebrating!



More event updates in October coming this weekend. Read the following awesome blog to understand the meaning of Rocktober. I really laughed when I read this----> http://www.rocktober.com/blogarchive/2008_09_28_blogarchive.html#6639149472345702837#6639149472345702837


Keep rockin'! ;)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wake me up when September ends...

"What I really want from music. That it be
cheerful and profound like an
afternoon in October. That it be individual,
frolicsome, tender, a sweet small
woman full of beastliness and
charm."

- Friedrich Nietzsche (German classical Scholar, Philosopher and Critic of culture)


October is among us.

A boring month in terms of music.

Most albums being released during this month are Greatest Hits compilations or pre-Christmas themed mixes. Perhaps, the most exciting days to look out for in October besides Oktoberfest, Thanksgiving and Halloween, are the release dates of AC/DC's new album as well as John Legend's latest work.

Work on AC/DC's 'Black Ice' has been going on since early 2006 and its release will be welcomed after a gap of eight years since their last album 'Stiff Upper Lip' in 2000. The album contains 15 tracks and two have been released to date. In 'Rock 'n' Roll Train', the lead singer seems to be talking about some high school escapade and the feel of the song is very blues rock as have been their songs in recent years. 'War Machine' is the kind of song real AC/DC fans would favour for its more hard core qualities and sharper lyrics. Personally, I am ecstatic to welcome the new material, being an AC/DC fan myself, but the new songs haven't quite hit it for me. We shall wait and see what the rest of the album sounds like. Regarding the album name, Wikipedia explains that black ice is a type of ice formed on highways and "is unusually slick compared to other forms of roadway ice." Hopefully, AC/DC will pull off some slick reviews as well. International album release date: October 20th.

But, let us not forget our man in America - John Legend. This man's rise to fame can be attributed to his introduction to hip-hop star Kanye West and his unerring combination of sultry soul singing and simple piano melodies. To the delight of women all over the world the new album 'Evolver' will consist of more songs related to the usual Legend themes of love and relationships. Don't be mistaken. Even men appreciate John Legend's songs with most tracks being voted the best wedding or make-up songs. So guys keep an open ear. Girls love The Legend. I'm assuming the album is given it's Evol-utionary title due to the new style of music Legend will be presenting. The songs seem to be more upbeat. Just take the released single 'Green Light' feat. Andre 3000 and you'll know what I mean. This song was one of my favourite summer 2008 tunes and can be appreciated by all music lovers. It's a cool R'n'B track with cheeky lyrics by the one-and-only Andre 3000 and is sure to get the dancefloor thumping. Several remixes have been released including the electropop remix by MSTRKRFT. See? I told you everyone loves it! His other released single from the album is 'If You're Out There' which Legend sang during one of Barack Obama's campaign speeches recently. The lyrics almost seem like they were written for Obama and I'm not sure if Legend is calling people to vote or just talking about peace and unity. Whatever his message, it is about change. A very beautiful ballad indeed. USA album release Date: October 28th.

Until you wait for the release of these albums, however, I will update you with the best events happening in Malta this October. And believe you me, you won't have a boring weekend this month!

Tonight marks the opening night of the VOICES concert at the MCC. This is a fundraising event and will run for 10 days between October 1 - 5 and 9 - 13. The choir consists of 200 members and this year's theme is 'Tell Me Why' - questions we ask ourselves about the plight of youth. In fact, half the proceeds will be going to an educational centre at San Blas, the drug rehabilitation centre run by Caritas. A reliable source who has been calling the MCC for the past three days has told me that tickets for this week have been sold out and the only available night is tomorrow. So get your tickets fast if you can only make it this week!!

Stuck where to go this weekend?

You have three options:-

1) Well, you can visit the third edition of Notte Bianca in Valletta on Saturday 4th October. This is a European initiative and has certainly become popular in Malta. Just visit www.nottebiancamalta.com and you can find over 60 different locations around Valletta with over 120 acts and attractions. Public transport will be operating at later than usual hours just for the event, at a fee of €1.16 per person. Park and Ride and the Gozo Channel services will operate throughout the night too. Also, people can reach Valletta through the Sliema and Vittoriosa ferry service. Razzett tal-Hbiberija will also operate a free circular service around Valletta to disabled people. This is set to be one of Malta's biggest winter events.

2) If you're planning a weekend in Gozo and you love your parties then get ready for the 61st edition of Ruby and Friends, this time kicking off Pure Promotion's winter 08/09 schedule at D-Code club in Victoria, Gozo (previously known as XS Club). Tickets are almost sold out so you better hurry! Here are the ticket outlets:-

4 You - Bay Steet, Area 51 - Zurrieq, Big G`s - St. Julians, Chilli - Bay Street, Chilli - Sliema, Cut Coffier - Bay Street, Dimples - Mosta, Elements Of Life - Msida, Fact - Qormi, Football Club - Siggiewi, Ghaxaq FC - Ghaxaq, La Roma - San Gwann, Le Rive - Sliema, Luke DVD`s - Msida, Maxims - Gzira, Miracles - Bugibba, O'Neill - Valletta, Paramount Kiosk - Paola, PN Club - Rabat, Red Stars - Zejtun, Rodriguez Hairdressing - Valletta, Royal Impact - Zabbar, Siggiewi Band Club - Siggiewi, Starlight - Zejtun, Step In - Zurrieq, Timecom - Hamrun, Update - Victoria Gozo, White Arrow - Msida, Zapps - Mellieha.

3) For all you Michael Bolton fans, NnG Promotions has just the thing for you. October 4th will see the MFCC, Ta Qali ripe and ready for the legend that is Michael Bolton performing with a nine-piece band. Bolton will play classics such as 'When A Man Loves A Woman' and 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay' amongst others. Golden to Bronze section tickets ranging between €30 and €50 are still available. Platinum seats are sold out.

I guess you're spoilt for choice now? That's what I call living in excess!!

So many things are going on in October that I will have to come back to you with more updates this week. Keep your eye on my blog for official opening nights of Malta's winter venues as well as the top parties and events. You'll never be bored again! *grins like a maniac*

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It started with a pack of Skittles...

A funny thing just happened.

I was walking to the local self-service store three hours ago when I saw three cute little blond boys buying Coke from the shop's outdoor vending machine. I remember thinking how adorable they looked all standing together, each one a bit taller than the other. After I selected my groceries I got to the queue and found the same kids counting their coins to see how many packets of Skittles they could afford. You know how the sweets and chocolates are always conveniently located near the counter. Well, technically they still weren't in the queue so I walked ahead of them. This displeased them greatly so the shortest of the three slowly creeped in front of me. I let him pass. It was only three packets of Skittles anyway.

The woman at the counter was taking ages to handle some delivery papers so the other two boys went outside to wait and cautioned the boy to make sure he pays the right amount. The little boy stood there money already counted in hand and stretched out to pay the amount. However, the cashier called out a different sum and the boy put his hand down in confused determination:-

"But these one's are 43c each and this is 33c!"

He had a distinct American accent about him.

"No, but we put up the price ta! You have €1.20 here. You can take one less if you want.."

She had a typical Maltese accent about her.

The boy opened his wallet and with a dissapointed tone stated that he would take only two packets of Skittles.

As soon as he paid the new sum he politely thanked the lady and without a moment's hesitation grabbed all three packets and told the cashier that he would place the extra packet back on its shelf. With that he walked to the back of the lane.

All seemed to have been solved as I proceeded to the counter myself but then just as quickly as he went back in the little boy dashed back out. The woman called out "Wait you forgot your receipt!!" but the boy just mumbled "Thank You!" as he rushed to his two friends waiting outside.

He had not two but three packets of Skittles in his hand.

I don't think the cashier noticed, but I did!

Funny how one minute you're thinking what a cute little boy and the next he's shoplifting your local self-service store.

But that's life, I guess.

You know what else is funny?

The way we humans in nature like to cheat.

We cheat all the time. In our algebra test, in our final exams, in card games, in love and in business.

For example, just yesterday I purchased a crêpe from a new local crêperie and the cashier tried to cheat me twice!! By the second time it was so painfully obvious what she was doing that I gave up and left the shop minus 50c. But you know what they say? If you lend someone 50c and you never see that person again then it was worth every cent!! Well, this case was different. The money was blatantly stolen from me in broad daylight! But you can bet all you want that I'm never setting foot in that shop again.

About two months ago I was giving an English lesson to foreign students and I passed round a 'FSW'. This stands for 'FIND SOMEONE WHO' and basically is a sheet of paper with instructions for students to find someone who has done or owns the options on the paper. I remember I used to invent these myself and once I thought it would be funny to add 'Find Someone Who has never cheated in an Exam before'. This was done during an Icebreaker session and students had to go around asking each other if they'd ever cheated in an exam amongst other questions in the FSW. I'm telling you my students really struggled to find anyone with that achievement. One of them even exclaimed "Come on! That's impossible!". In fact, the only student (a 30 year old something married Turkish woman) who admitted to have never cheated in an exam was met by non-believers. Just goes to show you. Cheating is as international as Pacman and trees.

But why do we cheat? Are we born cheaters or does it come with practice? Why do some nationalities seem better at cheating than others? Which countries are the best cheaters in sports, in business, in love, in politics? Tell me what you think by commenting below or using the ShoutBox on the right-hand side of the screen.

Also, there are countless songs about cheaters out there. My Top 15 cheaters-in-love songs are:

1. Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
2. Usher - Confessions Part 1 and 2 ( The only reason this isn't number 1 is cause the first is sentimental to me...)
3. Gloria Gaynor - I will Survive
4. The White Stripes - Jolene (Dolly Parton original version is cool too!)
5. Justin Timberlake - Cry me a river
6. Marvin Gaye - I heard it through the grapevine
7. R Kelly - Trapped in the Closet
8. Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good (Every girl should hear this song...)
9. John Legend - Ordinary People
10. Fleetwood Mac - Everybody finds out (I just had to...Stevie Nicks is the best!!)
11. Pearl Jam - Better man
12. Hinder - Lips of an Angel
13. Beyonce - Beautiful liar
14. Rihanna - Unfaithful
15. Kelly Clarkson - Behind these Hazel eyes (someone's gonna shoot me for posting this one LOL)

The worst?

RIHANNA - TAKE A BOW

Friday, September 19, 2008

Alternatif, no?

11:30pm. Ryan's Irish Pub. A breezy Thursday night. Everyone at the table simultaneously hushes all forms of conversation and looks in the same direction. The man of the hour (or the past 6 days) has arrived and greets everyone as he takes a seat by Mathematikal's 'Jay Zinga'. Conversation soon picks up again as people buy another round of drinks and DJ Luuk Cox is officially acquainted to everyone by Jay. Jon is somewhere in Barcelona.

It's been a historic week of sorts as Maltese fans got to meet the hard-hitting Belgian duo Shameboy's very own Luuk Cox and also see him perform a smashing set last Saturday at Poxx Bar. Yesterday, was Luuk's last night on the island and fans gathered to talk about his work and share opinions on the house music scene. I didn't really get the chance for a one-to-one with the man but I did have a brief chat with him last Saturday. Too many eager fans.


Luuk is a very down-to-earth guy with a good sense of humour. He also has acute memory skills. He remembered all his Maltese fans' names from Facebook. Bonus points!! I also found out from the man himself that this was his 10th time in Malta. He regularly visits the country to work on production of his Shameboy singles as well as other Belgian bands' singles. His resume includes work done for Confuse the Cat (http://www.confusethecat.be/), Tim Vanhamel, Arsenal and Buscemi (http://www.buscemi.be/). Luuk sure has the technical skills required for production and DJing but he is also a musician at heart. He has lent his drumming skills to the aforementioned Buscemi who have been releasing albums since 1998. The band is currently on tour in Ibiza. I am curious to know whether he still tours with them or is now fully engrossed in the Shameboy project.

Speaking about Shameboy. Can you still call it a project? The Belgian funk-masters namely being Luuk and Discobar Galaxie's 'Jimmy Dewitt' (better known as DJ Bobby Ewing) now have two albums under their belt and an insane fan following. The two came from different groups but still did their own thing. Shameboy feels like a worthy collaboration between two great men of the trade and it all started at a festival in 2004. Rock Werchter. The rest was history.




The Shameboy sound itself has been described as electro-funk-punk and takes influences from Daft Punk and Kraftwerk. *bows down in appreciation* This just goes to prove the continued influence of such groups on music today. Their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/shameboy) also likens them to Altar Ego, Digitalism, MSTRKRFT and Black Strobe. What is interesting is the diverse elements of electronic music the band takes. Primarily, their main focus is to make you lose control of every physical particle in your body and shake what your momma gave ya! This they do with grand gusto.

Another thing I found interesting is a little quote I translated from the Belgian language from an interview on http://www.veto.be/. Of course, I could have got this wrong but here goes. Although it is blatantly apparent that the alternative crowd has warmed up to Shameboy there are also other listeners who appreciate the duo's devilish beats. Music channels like the Belgium TFM (The Music Factory) channel nominated Shameboy for Best Dance act in 2007. On being asked about the kind of audience Shameboy are aiming for the answer was a long one. However, one quote by Luuk caught my eye:


"You can no longer simply choose your audience. Your audience chooses you!"


This can be good and bad. It opens your market but can ultimately put you at the risk of generalisation. As I struggled to hear the DJ-to-fan conversation last night through a promotional river of beers and my double Martini Bianco, I could pick up waves of the same topic. The Maltese alternative scene knows its stuff but can fall into the popularity trap every so often due to the lack of alternative acts that hit our shores. People like Luigi Pellegrini from Alternative Malta and Stagedive Malta have really pushed the scene up front. However, most Maltese alternative youth must spend a large sum of their budgets on big festivals abroad in order to keep up with the new scene. It's difficult to get single acts let alone big festivals to set camp here.


Luuk believes that groups such as Soulwax are losing their fanbase because of this trap. There comes a time when a music act gets labelled or falls into some kind of brand. Some fans keep coming back to that familiar sound while others get bored and drift away. It is almost the same in every music genre but particularly so in the house scene. It gets worse when these groups start seeing only dollar signs in their eyes and put themselves on a pedestal. The best thing to do is to diversify your music according to your style and influences, and to always acknowledge that you never know what people want. If the audience understands and respects that then you're good to go. Never expect to stick to the same people but always show gratitude to these people. You never know who's watching. Just imagine, if Shameboy were to release their videos on other music channels like MTV you might even see them getting nominated on the EMAs. Alternative dance acts like Justice were nominated and won an EMA award for two years in a row. OK, so they won for Best Video which isn't something artists want to be remembered for but you must admit, the videos for Splend It and Heartcore are pretty cool.


Honestly, I had never heard of Shameboy before but I was familiar with DJ Bobby Ewing from the Discobar Galaxie fame. Luuk alone delivered a massive DJ set at Poxx Bar. The crowd especially went wild when he played their new track Heartcore. Who knows what mass destruction the two unleash when playing together?



Mathematikal were also the first reason I attended the event. I have been wanting to see these guys perform since the beginning because I had heard nothing but positive comments about them. I can't believe it took me so long to finally meet them. Their set was even crazier than I imagined. They threw everything in there from Michael Jackson to the A-Team theme song.


Their set is also animated by cool visuals putting not only their DJ but also their VJ skills to the test. Luuk did not use any visual media but was more interactive with the crowd. He's a teaser too. He makes the crowd work to get what they want and then hits it on them hard. Finally, back-to-back the two were pure magic. The crowd was happier than a band of babbling, butt-naked baboons. Looksie here ------>


I also got a picture with Luuk. Wuhuu. Thanks mate!



All in all, it was a great night and a great week for alternative fans. It was also a great pleasure meeting Jon and Jay. They're really cool guys and barrels of laughs! *teehee* If I heard correctly last night, the two have been contacted regarding some festival performances. That sounds amazing and I wish them the best of luck. They've really given the music scene in Malta a breath of fresh air. Next performance, November 28th! Until then, keep on plonking! ;) (www.myspace.com/mathematikal)


Pictures courtesy of Yasmin K. ^^