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 . 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


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


...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 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