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. ^^

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends...

...Mmm I get high with a little help from my friends,
Oh, I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends!


I couldn't have put it better myself!

Life seems worthwhile "with a little help" from our friends, so say the original Liverpool boy band, The Beatles. This group are undoubtedly the most influential force in musical history that Liverpool gave birth to, besides being pop-culture icons. The city itself was declared the 'City of Pop' in 2001 by the Guinness Book of Records and has other pop icons in its name. My favourites are 'The Boo Radleys' and 'The Zutons' . The former considered themselves to be an alternative group but were so well recieved that they are now known as one of the greatest Britpop bands in history. Their most succesful hit song was the merry-making da-dee-da tune 'Wake Up Boo! (It's a Beautiful Morning)' . The Zutons are a 21st century act but with an 80's funky soul image. You can see this not only from their music but also from the way the band is styled. Other notable acts are 'Frankie goes to Hollywood' and 'Dead or Alive'.

I would really love to visit this historic city and now I think my dream is coming true.

MTV is bringing together its event planning experts to stage another edition of the Europe Music Awards (EMAs) this November. This time, the event is being held in LIVERPOOL and all real music fans are being called to participate. 100 finalists will be chosen to take part in an 8-day 400km walk from London to Liverpool in time for the awards ceremony on November 6th. One lucky winner will also be given the chance to present an award on stage.

I have already convinced myself that I am going to be part of this historic event in a historic city. Therefore, I am competing amongst hundreds of music fans so as to win this. The contest is based on votes. Basically, each contestant has their own sort of profile where they can explain why they want this so much and people can vote for them to 'Go to Liverpool' or 'Stay Home' . I am currently in the 127th position and need 5% more positive votes to get me into the Top 100.

So, I would like to take this blog space to promote myself. HAHA.


Please click on the following promotional pic:-




And vote for me to go to Livuh-pooool!!


I've been getting a lot of support from people who don't know me but believe that I've got what it takes to represent music. I've also made friends with some of the contestants which is really cool. One of them is Chloe Testa, another Malteser. teehee. This girl is amazing. I suggest you visit her profile too and lend her a vote because she is definitely one of those crazy hardcore fans:-




Both of us are really excited about this and I have a plan of documenting the whole experience on my blog. My idea is to ask you, my readers, who your favourite artists in the EMAs are and what questions you would like to ask them. After collecting this valuable data I can compile a Maltese Fan Book and present it to your favourite artists. I'm pretty sure I'm going to meet some big names since winners of this event will be granted access to the exclusive after-party as well as visit some artists' residences during the walk.

It is very crucial that I collect this information in the following three weeks so that I can create the Fan Books with your personal fan mail and questions. In order for me to do this, however, I need your votes. I'm counting on you, my dear readers, to get me to the top and get your voices heard at the EMAs. In return, I will be your official music spokesperson and will mention your names on my blog.

So what you waiting for?!

I can only do this with a little help from my friends. ;)

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Vote for your favourite artists on http://ema.mtv.co.uk/.
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NB.
Mathematikal/Shameboy blog coming soon....(right after I get copyright over the pics from Yaz! LOL). I know, I know. Lots of you looking forward to this one!! Please be patient. Chill ^^

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Make me a Superstar!

I was just tucking into some birthday cake in front of the TV a few minutes ago and Danity Kane's video came on. You know...to their last song, Damaged. I really like Danity Kane. They're the only group from Diddy's (or Sean Puffy Daddy Baby Mummy whatever he's called these days) reality show 'Making the Band'. Personally, this is one of the biggest wastes of television viewing time, like most reality shows. The first two seasons spawned two boy bands who fizzled into nothing within the space of two years each. The fourth installment also brought into the world another male group as well as a male solo singer. The first season's boy band, O-Town, were perhaps the most successful male group and the only ones I have ever heard of. The most successful group, however, proved to be the third season winners - Danity Kane. This was the only girl band that was created from the series. The actual 'making of' period was boring. I only used to watch the show when there literally was nothing less boring to watch. The end result is something else. These girls seem to have a good thing going on despite everything that's running against them. First of all, they had to fight against the cliched endings of the other show's finalists so that people could take them seriously. Secondly, they had to rub off the loser image that Diddy always seems to instil in his contestants. Lastly, they stepped into the market alongside the Pussycat Dolls which are no easy contest, I tell ya! 'Damaged' was one of my favourite Pop/R'n'B tracks for 2008 and 'Show Stopper' will always remain on my top list. At the moment they are headlining their first US tour.



I still don't get these 'making the..' shows though. You can see from the above that Danity Kane were just lucky. Well, maybe it's because they're a female group, I don't know. LOL. Yeah, you read right. Girl power!! HAHA. Still, watching Diddy make money off these innocent victims who are dying to make it big and realise their dreams is just plain wrong. I know I'm an America's Next Top Model fan but at least we're talking about a solo winner. Here, you've got a group of people who never knew each other before and are now trying to start off a successful band. It's a bit hard to swallow. The same thing has been done in Malta too but the girls never even lived together which makes it harder. At least, bands like 'The Shures' (whom I wrote about in my blog recently) had a solid relationship first. Online relationships can be pretty powerful. I have formed some of my best friendships through the internet. Of course, there are people we meet in the reality who also share our passions and adventures. However, meeting someone through the internet guarantees that get-to-know phase is initiated and developed without fear or uncertainty.

The most painfully obvious examples of band-making failure are definitely VH1's 'Mission: Man Band' and MTV's 'Totally Boyband'. The shows brought together washed-up band members from popular 90s boy bands like '*NSYNC' and 'LFO' to form a new boy band. I used to cringe at the embarassing ordeals these guys went through. They all looked desperate and admitted that this was their last shot at saving their careers. One member of this show did actually make a comeback with his group this year. Super hottie Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block fame has reunited with his old band-mates and have just released their first album in 14 years!! They will also be touring once again very soon. It's kind of funny because the group was also originally formed through a talent search. The only difference that catered to their success was that they were the first real boy band group of their times. I don't know about you but I think the guys look hotter than ever!! >>>>>>>>>



PAUSE AT 2:26 to see Danny up-close!!

I haven't heard their new songs yet so I cannot comment. Has anybody heard them? Tell us what you think by clicking on the comments link below.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Last Night a DJ saved My Life

I went out again last night.

Renaissance were back in Malta again for the Numero Uno summer closing party. This time they brought along the man that is PAOLO MOJO. Last year's party was just perfect, most probably, the best summer party I attended last year. The featured DJ was Fedde Le Grand and prior to him I was introduced to Funkerman who until then I hardly had any idea of. The latter was definitely the show stealer despite his shorter set. Very talented man.

Despite being a trance fan to the core, my musical transition has taken me to the minimal, tech-house and progressive genre for the past two years. Also, the last 12 months have instilled in me a love for deep/jackin/fidget house and a renewed interest in grime/garage/alternative house. I love the smooth and funk elements in this music. It's the perfect mix between that loungy soulful feel and that beat that make you move. In addition, God knows how much I love breakbeat and dubstep!!

Therefore, it came as a pleasant surprise when I heard Paolo Mojo's set last night amidst the moody settings that symbolise Numero Uno's clubbing trademark. I have to confess, this was one of those parties that I attended only because of its reputation rather than who was performing. I knew a few of Paolo's songs because he is in the tech house arena and he sometimes has a similar sound to Eric Prydz albeit a bit smoother. I hate comparing artists so I will stop here but it's just an observation.


This DJ has the 'Gift'. You know what that is? The 'Gift' is being able to be diverse in your musical repertoire and transmit this in a effortless combination of class and precision. I could see that Mojo was really into what he was doing and was feeding off the crowd. His set never faltered for a moment. Ironically, he added a few Pryda songs to his set including Muranyi and Pjanoo. These really blended in nicely. I was a bit dissapointed that he didn't play his original '1983' unless I missed it at some point (After I posted this DJ Ruby confirmed that it was indeed the last song in Paolo's set. Sorry about that! I wasn't sure cause I always confuse it with another song).

Overall, I loved every second. DJ Ryan and DJ Ruby also delivered the goods. And as usual, DJ Ruby also proved his amazing MC skills and hosting ability. This guy can do no wrong. Whatever he touches turns to gold. And that's how we like it. ;)
The next big parties I will be attending now are the following session of TDDR (The Devil Digs Rave) featuring Mathematikal and Luuk Cox from Shameboy and Eric Morillo LIVE at SKYclub.

Mathematikal are an Indie Electro-Funk duo who have been hitting the dancefloors for the past few years but only really kicked into the Maltese clubbing scene in the last 12 months. I have been reading many a great review and viewing a dozen good party pics of them. I also heard some of their stuff on their MySpace page. Shockingly, I have yet to see them perform live. So this is a golden opportunity for me. Plus, I will be back here to report on the night's events. You can also check the guys out for yourselves. This event is going to be held next Saturday 13th September at PoXX Bar, Paceville (near the Eden Century Cinemas). Tickets are only €5 and doors open at 10pm.

Check out this review on them featured in PlatinumLoveMagazine's e-mag:-
(copy and paste..sorry links are not working!!)
http://www.platinumlovemagazine.com/Issue.aspx?auth=x5ZPdLLsfGNIm8oPcfbtV56tmyWvcLOOiST05T2F5cE=

Shameboy are another clubbing duo but from Belgium. Their style is electro-punk, making next Saturday's sets a feast for the ears. Their MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/shameboy) says they sound like Altar Ego and Digitalism amongst others. If so, then I am really excited to check them out.

And Morillo? Self-explanatory.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pjanoo without the Pianist

Too good to be true.

Five words that explain the momentarily fleeting thought that I felt when I heard that the Swedish dance legend ERIC PRYDZ would be hitting our shores later this year. It all felt so surreal. All of a sudden this wonderfully fresh company was introducing a multitude of big scale events for Maltese clubbers. It was bound to be an event that would never be forgotten. And boy was I right!!

When I was 14 I was musically immature. Don't get me wrong. I always held music close to my heart. At school, I was one of the few people who would know of a song months before everyone before it became a hit. However, I was more of a mainstream junkie. It was during this period that I really started discovering different forms of dance music. My earliest influences (at 14) were David Guetta, Ian Van Dahl, Armand Van Helden, Armin Van Buuren, Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, Benassi and the mighty Eric Prydz. Therefore, you can say that these people are heroes to me. They marked the beginning of a new love. To see them live would be an emotionally rewarding experience.

That was what Ice Music Medium was supposed to deliver yesterday. Result. Utter dissapointment. My hero of heroes didn't even turn up breaking not only my heart but the hearts of hundreds. In all due respect, the organisers cannot be pointed at 100% because this kind of business is always subject to such happenings. Malta is separated from mainland Europe so it makes it just a wee bit harder to get here. Eric Prydz never visited our island due to his phobia of flying. In retrospect, I wonder how the organisers actually convinced the man to catch a plane here. Well, almost convinced because he backed out in the last minute. I can understand that the man is on meds and subject to hysteric episodes of doubt but come on!! How can one leave such an issue to chance?? Mahoney Thomas, one of the event organisers released the following statement on the Ice Music Medium facebook page:-

Dear all,

On behalf of Ice Music Medium I would like to fully apologize about yesterday’s mishap. Allow me to explain what the problem was. Eric Prydz, together with his agency decided to plan their Europe trip over to Malta using trains, Ferry and Plane. As we all know Eric is not too keen on flying on planes but he took full responsibility and planed to complete the last part of his trip by flying over from Milan to Malta yesterday evening. He was due to arrive shortly before his performance time. As soon as Eric was going to board the plane together with his tour manager he got into a state of panic and shock. From what was reported to us in the last 12 hours Eric’s anxiety medication did not do its job! Although Eric missed his plane, late into the night Ice Music Medium was also ready to incur and a massive big cost and send a private jet over for him in order to make it on time to Malta for his gig. Eric totally couldn’t make the flight. His tour manager told us “he is in bits and pieces”At this point in time we are eagerly waiting for a reply from Eric and his agency to give us an alternative solution for this mishap. We will surely keep everyone posted with any info they will update us with. Once again I would like to apologize for the above and I truly understand everyone’s disappointment, as i am the one to feel it most.

Thanks


Eric Prydz's managers didn't release any statement on the website, MySpace or Facebook pages which is really unprofessional seeing that hundreds of people paid money to see this great DJ. I cannot explain if my respect for him has wavered or not. This was definitely a blow not only to the organisers but the ticket-holders. I feel cheated like many others. The sad part is that some people actually thought that Luc Adams was Eric Prydz as one co-ordinator fervishly started filming the man as he started to play Pjanoo. The ones who knew the truth sadly retreated as soon as that tune graced the decks. It was the worst feeling in the course of my whole clubbing life.

On a lighter note, the party was still amazing. Moose, Luc Adams, Mahoney Thomas and all the other Maltese djs present really held their part of the event. The room hosted by Owen Jay and other djs was also very cool. Too bad I couldn't fully appreciate all this. It truly would have been a massive night.

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Update(9/9/2008):- This article by Christian Peregin was published on the Times of Malta regarding the above mishap
Fear of flying keeps superstar deejay away from party. A lot of people are commenting that they weren't given their ticket stubs for proof of purchase. However, my friend and I still have ours. It is true that at most parties these are not given out but lately it seems door staff are making an effort to give these out. It is such common practice not to give these out that when they are given out most people throw them away. I have often seen party venues littered with ticket stubs from unaware consumers. Hope this serves as a lesson to organisers and party-goers. Start your stub collection now!! LOL

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wanna create a band online?

"So, everyone has heard of online dating...but how about online band making?"


These are the first words that headline the bio of one of 2008's most exciting bands...The Shures. Never heard of them? Well, get ready to find out.

Bands these days have ditched the nerdy image of internet marketing and have embraced it as a norm. Networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube are a free source for artists and companies to advertise their stuff. Some companies use solely these sites for their marketing purposes. The virtual world is rapidly replacing the real world now.

The Shures have taken this concept to embrace their dreams. The band line-up consists of Ashley, Chris and Gabz who all have their own solo MySpace pages and YouTube channels. According to their MySpace page www.myspace.com/theshures, the band is the first "internet based group". What is amazing about these guys is that they never met each other before and record all their songs via their MacBook laptops from three different continents!!! Ashley is from the US, Chris from the UK and Gabz from Australia!! Their friendship began on an online networking site for singers where the band members fell in love with each other's voices and decided to create a group. Crazy? Yes. Cool? Hell, yeah!

I discovered the band from YouTube during one of my customary cover song searches. Each member has their own channel as well as a collective one www.youtube.com/theshures . They have been taking part in competitions with their original song 'Uh-oh (Life is Calling) and are getting airplay in the UK. You definitely HAVE to check them out. These guys just blew me away. Their covers are better than the originals! 'Uh-oh' is a funky upbeat pop song with a great message to boot. Perfect first single.

Their current mission is to get together and record an album because it's one thing being bedroom artists but then being scattered across the world is another! Therefore, the band accepts donations to help their cause. I immediately donated what I could afford because I really believe in these guys. Why else would I be writing about them? Surprisingly, I got a sweet thank you email from Ashley with an mp3 of their original song. Now I can listen to it whenever I want, wherever I want. Thanks so much guys if you're reading this!! :D

Of course, not all their fans want them to meet. One fan jokingly commented that they should remain separated and when they become famous they will perform LIVE in Madison Square from three big screens streaming them from different parts of the world. Now wouldn't that be a sight?



Love the concept.
Support the cause.
THE SHURES.




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PS:- I might not have the chance to blog this weekend because of parties and studies but I'll be back with more great posts and reviews next week. Next up, a review of the weekend's hottest parties in Malta (Eric Prydz MiNisTrY of SoUNd edition, Renaissance ft. Paolo Mojo etc), some fun facts on what Coldplay and Depeche Mode have in common, a recap of the best music of summer 2008, which bands are touring again, my new MTV adventure, bellydancing, reviews on Malta's top artists and the next TDDR party by Malta's latest electro-funk-alternative group Matematikal. Tell your best friend, your neighbour, your grandma!!! It's gonna be a looooong week. ;)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I watched the news on my computer screen talking about buying my weed out of a vending machine


I'm an obsessive person. I go through phases sometimes.

My current long-standing obsession is SAM SPARRO. His is the first voice I play in the morning and the last voice I listen to at night. He is my Cherry Liquor, my frown-twister, my inspiration...I could go on and on and on till the break of dawn. Ours is an intimate relationship.

I first heard of the man through music review blogs but didn't really take notice. Next, came the local airplay where I caught a whiff of this guy's sexy voice. Still, I kept pushing him back. This was probably my hard-to-get phase. He persisted. I started reading about his social life in the UK from British magazines. This guy was on a roll! Finally, the destined Cupid's arrow struck me in a changing room of a popular clothing franchise in a local shopping complex. You know how these clothing stores are. They play the latest tracks on full-blast. I hear it's a psychological marketing strategy. Distracts the mind from the find. You're more interested in what's playing than what you're trying on. Mind games are so devious.

Anyway, I remember the day and the item purchased. It happened to be one of my best purchases this summer. And coincidentally, it coincided with my love affair with Mr Sparro. Sounds all so romantic, doesn't it? The song, the dress, the man.

The song happened to be the first song you listen to as you enter my blog - Black and Gold. It's funny how one notices something exists even though they knew it was there. Like that guy or girl on the bus who you've seen before but all of a sudden you see everywhere - at the local DVD shop, at the supermarket, in the clubs. Sometimes, it takes the right setting or multiple kicks in the head to make us stand up and take note of something or someone. I still don't know what took me so long to fall in love with Sammy but lemme tell ya - when the arrow hits you, it hits you hard!

So, I took it upon myself to find out all I could about him. The results were surprising. Did you know Sam Sparro is of Maltese origin? Sort of. Well, according to his official website, MySpace and Wikipedia, Sam was born Sam FALSON (Falzon) in Sydney, Australia in 1982. If the surname doesn't give it away you can keep reading on and discover even more amazing facts. His Maltese grandfather is none other than Ron Falson, a professional trumpet player who played with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. In addition, his great-grandfather was a professor of music and his father is the accomplished gospel-singer Chris Falson who has written music for Star Trek and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy amongst others. Sam is also openly gay and has been with his current boyfriend for two years. That explains his delightfully quirky style of clothing and artwork.

Music is throbbing in his veins but he definitely brings something special to the family tree. That voice - HOT DAMN! I don't know what it is about his voice. It releases some chemicals not previously known to science in my brain. It's so smooth and sexy like honey and chocolate. I just melt when I hear him even hum! I especially enjoy his signature 'Hmmm-hmmm-mmm'. I noticed he likes to incorporate this into his songs. HAHA. It's unique to say the least and also very Brit. And if you know me, you would know I love Brit music. It's all in the accent. His website describes his sound as 'distinictive as it is unusual'. I couldn't agree more. And in the words of Chaka Khan:-



"Damn, that white boy can sing!"






Check out his father's website on www.chrisfalson.com . He has some really cool blogs but he hasn't posted one since May. Pity, because I really loved his posts. He is a gospel singer, mostly on the folk Christian side.

His grandfather Ron Falson is now part of a tribute band called the Ozcats. I added them on MySpace http://www.myspace.com/ozcats . Trust me. These guys are amazing!! They play Jazz and Swing so of course they can't go wrong. It would be really cool if they performed at the Malta Jazz festival which I don't even think exists anymore. *sadness* Just listen to them. You'll see what I mean.

I would like to end this blog with my own interpretation of some of the lyrics from Sam's hit single BLACK AND GOLD:-

If the fish swam out of the ocean
And grew legs and they started walking
And the apes climbed down from the trees
And grew tall and they started talking
And the stars fell out of the sky
And my tears rolled into the ocean
Now i'm looking for a reason why
You even set my world into motion

I think what Sam is trying to say here is that the whole world has evolved into what it is today through a process that scientists have worked hard to explain. Just look at the Darwin example used with apes in the song and you'll understand what I'm getting at. Nevertheless, people keep trying to explain the mysteries of the heart and mind. These are far too complex for us to contemplate on our own. Sam knows one thing though and I think this is the exact feeling everyone can relate to even though they don't know why. Just like the stars in the sky, no matter how vast and unreachable our dreams or ambitions are, if you want to make them happen then just go for it. It's risk and gut instincts that create progress. If you can't explain why, it's not really important to know. Or as Sam puts it:-

'Cause if you're not really here
Then the stars don't even matter
Now i'm filled to the top with fear
But it's all just a bunch of matter
'Cause if you're not really here
Then i don't want to be either
I wanna be next to you
black and gold
black and gold
black and gold

I want to lie next to you
Black and Gold
Black and Gold
Black and Gold
*************************************************
Check out Sam's website on http://www.samsparro.com/ and buy his album now!! It's got to be one of my favourite albums for 2008. Make sure you see his videos on YouTube too. Peace.

***************************

By the time I posted this Sam's Facebook fan page announced that he is nominated for this year's MTV EMA's. Vote for him on http://ema.mtv.co.uk/vote/ for MOST ADDICTIVE TRACK and BEST NEW ACT.



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sptar tal-Mickey Mouse


Tonight was supposed to be my post belly dance session report. However, I need to write about something utterly nauseating that happened yesterday at Malta's new 'state-of-the-art' hospital Mater Dei. Now, for any non-Maltese readers, the process of this hospital was one of the most scrutinised issues in Maltese history. Just Google 'Mater Dei Hospital' and you can discover the trials and tribulations related to the hospital (or Sptar in Maltese) over the past decade. Putting all that aside, the hospital has been up-and-running since 2007. Still, there exists some controversy related to staff and patient cordiality and other features.

Now, my brother is a doctor under contract with Mater Dei and I can safely say that the biggest concern that the hospital staff ever had to face was the food services within the hospital. There were cases of staff suffering from food-poisoning which were left to deaf ears over the last few months. Also, some visitors were complaining about the quality of food provided and prices. Nothing was done.

And now this afternoon shocking news reached me as soon as my brother got home from work. Referring to the website of one of Malta's most trusted newspapers I found this and confirmed the truth of what I heard:-

Nurse finds part of mouse's head in her plate - caterer destroys supplies, may sue supplier

Source: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20080902/local/nurse-finds-part-of-mouses-head-in-her-plate

I almost lost my lunch on the mention of this. Although when seeing the comment thread on the newspaper's website one would note that people saw the funny side to this. Comments like 'Sptar tal-Mickey Mouse' (Mickey Mouse Hospital) or 'Taking the Mickey out of Mater Dei' were abundant. Personally, I think this is pretty serious stuff and I am infuriated that it had to be something like this that finally kicked authorities into action. Something must be done before more whiskers and tails are found laying about.

The article states that investigations have proved that the mousy substance came from the supplier and not from the caterer. Let me explain. The mouse head was found in a salad which consisted of vegetables that were imported frozen from Belgium. Now, let's stop a minute and analyse the situation:-





  1. If the vegetables were frozen ( and the meal purchased was a salad ) would they not need to be thawed or steamed in order to be served?



  2. This leads me to my next question: How the hell did PART of an animal's head get in there? I mean is the kitchen at Mater Dei one of those cartoon musicals where the staff slice and dice away singing merrily to the banging of pots and pans.

I don't mean to offend because I do have a friend who works in the kitchen there but this is absolutely ridiculous!! How can such a thing go unnoticed? The funniest part is that the caterer for the staff's meals is not the same as the one for the patients’ meals. Why is this so? Can someone explain the reason behind this? Incidentally, most reports of illness related to canteen meals within the hospital came from staff, nurses in particular. One thing that is also looking slightly suspicious to me is how, coincidentally, health inspectors 'happened' to be making a health inspection on the same day and reported all to be up to EU standards. I don't know if you're all thinking what I'm thinking, (excuse the pun) but I smell a RAT!!

Perhaps it might be my imagination running wild again but from personal experience I have a deep mistrust of Health and Safety authorities in Malta. So many cases are left untreated. Things need to change. Just last year I had a work-related incident and when I asked for advice from the authorities I was given the uninterested reply of 'Listen to me, you're better off just brushing it off then fighting for it because you'll get nothing. People lost fingers at work. The most they got was €700, not even a thousand!!'. Unfortunately, H&S in Malta is treated with a laissez-faire attitude, even after membership in the EU. I suggest to the nurse who is undoubtedly suffering from the ordeal to ask for further in-house investigations before blaming the supplier. I'm not saying that foreign companies are perfect but one must consider all possibilities. Shockingly enough a similar incident happened in Finland this year. The victim was a male patient. Poor guy! The report states:

The severed head most likely originated in a bag of Belgian vegetables. The body has not been found and being "a Belgian mouse, the rest of it could be anywhere in Europe"

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/01/27/2147364.htm

MORAL: Stay away from Belgian vegetables!!