My essentials: Simone Spiteri’s cultural picks

No 21 | Simone Spiteri, 38, writer, theatre-maker

Simone Spiteri
Simone Spiteri

1. Podcast

I write all day so, sadly, the last thing I want to look at the end of the day is more printed words. Thankfully, I’ve become a podcast and audiobook junkie in recent years so at least I feel like that’s a happy compromise that pleases my old book-worm self. At the moment I’m listening to an interesting BBC documentary podcast called The Coming Storm detailing a very long-winded and complex rabbit hole that led to the January 6th uprising at the US Capitol while the last book I listened to was Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library.

2. Film/TV

I’ve rediscovered an old love for watching films during the past months. So, there are a lot! 99 Francs based on the French novel by Beigbeder and Adam McKay’s Vice (but anything McKay really) are two. Marriages between whip-smart writing and stylised and interesting visual languages are what usually attract me to films and both do that. I’m about to watch Julia Ducournau’s Titane, which already had me hooked through its trailer and what I’ve read about it so I’m expecting it to be a mind-blowing experience.

3. Internet

This might be surprising, but my students introduced me to Tik-Tok during a particular project I was working on with them a while ago. And what started off as a resistant, hesitant, strictly research-only endeavour turned out to be a deep dive into observing what makes humans tick… no pun intended, (or not) and how the fabric of who we are and how we communicate is changing and evolving. I still have no idea how to use it to create stuff myself and have no interest in doing so, but as a writer I’ve found it to be the most diverse of anthropological melting pots. I’m fascinated and horrified by it in equal measure.

4. Music

At the moment I’m stuck on the soundtrack of Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza which, as a film, grew on me slowly as opposed to having had an immediate impact. The music, however, resonated with me because it ranges from the ethereal a cappella pieces which have been lately punctuating a lot of my writing time, to dancey Raffaella Carra numbers that remind me of my childhood growing up exposed exclusively to Italian media. It’s a soundtrack that elicits a lot of nostalgia for me.

5. Place

I’m a traveller and the pandemic has really hit me hard in that respect. So, I’ve done a lot of daydreaming about places I’ve been to or want to go to in the past two years. My dream is to own a motorhome and just set off and wander to my heart’s content. There are few places I’d say no to. I also love Malta and Gozo too, despite the complex relationship I have with my home country, and as much as I love eclectic New York, balmy Greek beaches, chaotic North African cities or languid French dinners with friends to name a few, I also love the golden walls of Valletta at sunset on spring days or driving through the Gozitan countryside in winter.