My essentials: Chantelle Micallef Grimaud’s cultural picks

No 15 | 30, Freelance Performer and Creative

1. Book

I started 2021 reading Jojo Moyes’s ‘The Giver of Stars’. It was a gift from my brother and unlike anything else I’ve read recently. It’s based on a piece of American history regarding the horseback librarians of the 1930s. These librarians, mostly women, would ride horseback all day, carrying books to hard-to-reach communities living in a 20-mile radius in the Kentucky mountains. Most of the families were illiterate so the librarians would also read to them and leave picture books for the children. What a fantastic, inspirational piece of truth.

2. Film/TV

The holidays have just passed, which means I obviously watched the Muppet Christmas Carol aka the best Christmas film of all time. (However, I will admit Klaus is a very close second.) I watch it once a year with my family – our little Christmas tradition. I recommend everyone watch it especially now that Disney have re-released the original version which includes the cut song ‘When Love is Gone’. Michael Caine’s performance in that is heart-breaking.

3. Internet

Straight away I thought of the recent tragedy that is Paulina Dembska’s murder. It’s hard not to. A lot of my family live in Sliema so it feels very close to home in more ways than one. When I’m not in Malta I live in London where, over the past year, I’ve also been confronted with the several news stories of other women my age that have been the targets of violent and fatal attacks in public spaces. For some reason I’m no more scared than usual but I am angry. Very.

4. Music

Ok, so up until a year ago I had never heard this song but now I truly believe it could be the best song of all time. Margherita by Riccardo Cocciante. It is mesmerising. If you don’t know Italian it doesn’t matter because the way he performs it tells you everything you need to know, but it’s also a good reason to learn Italian. He doesn’t just sing it, he bares his soul. It makes me want to find Margherita myself because she must be astounding.

5. Place

This is difficult. I want to go everywhere and see everything. I try to see beauty in all things and I try to give attention to detail because beauty is there, in the detail, and it’s surprising how much we take for granted. Recently a friend thanked me for reminding her to look up when she walks through Valletta, and it served as a good reminder to myself. Next time you’re in Valletta, or a new city, your home city perhaps, look up – at the balconies, the windows, the street names, the ‘niċeċ’, the street lights – and allow yourself to wonder.