They call it the silly season or cucumber time in Lowlands Country Language. Apparently this time of year there is little news worth reporting, which is obviously bollocks. There is always something going on. It´s just that the boys and girls who produce the news are on holiday or can just be less bothered with the more serious stuff and a lot of serious stuff is going on. The papers and other newsoutles are bulging of all the ‘serious news’, but as they say it´s silly season, so let´s first focus on some more trivial matters.
This is my first full summer on the Rock and I´m absolutely loving it. The heat has been most bearable and with all the action going on, boat party here, beach gathering there, life is just one big, fat, chilled holiday. A former colleague of mine from London Town commented on a pic of the Dark Fairy having a serious boogie on a boat posted on Fayz Boek saying that I make life seem tough, much to my amusement. And that is exactly that. Fish might be jumping, the cotton ain´t high, cause there ain´t growing any, but it is summer time and the livin´ is easy for sure. In this summer time I am engaging in some culture, both high and low and I have to express my bemusement with the Maltese concert crowd as in my opinion it´s a rather tame bunch.
As I’ve lived in several countries other than the one I was born and raised in, I have had the experience of expats- that´s just migrants with white skin and/ or from wealthy countries- whining about the locals. They might be bigging up their expat lifestyle to the folks back home, in their country of residence whining about the locals- or just whining in general- seems a much beloved past-time for many a foreigner. After my experiences at the African Med, living on the Rock is a walk in the park and I refrain from whining as life is a ball and there are groovy and ungroovy people all over the world. But when I went to a few concerts within the space of few weeks I´m seriously wondering what it is about Maltese concert- crowd behaviour. Let me explain.
I did some high culture and went to a contemporary classical concert as part of Malta Arts Festival, which took place in a fancy hotel in Floriana. The piece the resistance of the evening was, what is called a video opera composed by fellow Dutchie Michel van der Aa, who I used to worked with in my previous life as a thespian, titled Up-close. The work was a combination of and interaction with a story told by means of video and a piece of contemporary classical music for strings with a charismatic solo cellist. The piece wasn´t terribly accessible, but it sure struck a chord with me and with the friend I was with and we both loved it. The applause from the crowd afterwards was terribly tame in my opinion and I was wondering if it was just a form of subdued appreciation or a lack of interest, engagement or understanding.
Then I few days ago I went to a concert headlined by the London geezers of the Prodigy. Very few groovy acts make it to the Rock – too small I guess- so I jumped at the chance and got myself a ticket. Going through almost 4 hours of warm-up acts of varying quality – one in particular was utterly shite- the big beat boys finally hit the stage at a quarter to one. The crowd made some noise, but not one I expected it to produce after a wait of that many hours. The geezers played a short and explosive set delivering to expectations. When they left the stage, only a few pockets of people shouted for an encore as the majority of the audience remained rather quiet and seemed ready to call it a night. Thank funk the boys were keen enough for some more noise as the crowd didn´t seem terribly demanding and after another 15 minutes that was it. After the concert some DJs played in a different area only catching a fraction of the crowd as the vast majority of people were heading for the exit. The DJ were of average quality, but I still enjoyed a boogie.
I´m- still- aware that I have been rather spoilt in my cosmopolitan bubble that is the City of Cities and that when it comes to culture pretty much everything is available in great quantity and quality. And when it´s good, on most occasions people do show their appreciation in what I consider appropriate measures. Now, I have been to a few good parties here on the Rock, mostly reggae, dub and trance parties that tend to attract some sort of a fringe crowd that know how to party. But seemingly when stuff becomes more mainstream the tameness sets in. These events do attract a fair amount of foreigners as more expats – the migrants who can afford bollocks like this- are settling on the island and tourists fancy some culture too, but the majority of the audience is still Maltese. Many of them dress up for the occasion. In my opinion sometimes rather overdressed and in the case of the Prodigy concert rather impractical too – I mean, 10-inch stiletto heels (approximation, didn´t measure them) and pretty yet rather short dress kind of tells me that one comes to display one´s wares rather than to groove to a good tune, but each their own. Yet, the point being one does make a do out of the occasion. I´m just wondering whether the tame response is just culture, indifference or just ´not getting how it works´. I´ve only had a few experiences with crowd-vibes in this country, but if I can draw my conclusions from those experiences, I´m not that surprised the groovy acts don´t visit Malta. If all the crowd can do is look nice, but give me a luke warm reception to my art or entertainment, I don´t think I would be bothered to touch down and entertain the underwhelmed masses either.