My essentials: André Agius’s cultural picks

No 32 | André Agius, 28, Edinburgh-Based Maltese Director and Theatre-Maker

1. Book

In the last year I read Barbara Bonansea’s biography “Il Mio Calcio” (my style of football) – I am an avid football fan and a Juventino, and in her book Barbara documented her perspective on the rise of woman’s football within Italy within the last 10 years, through her journey as a female Italian footballer within what’s still a heavily patriarchal game – not only on the pitch, but also those who ultimately make the rules and the decisions. She really focuses on the divide that still separates male Italian football compared to the female one, and the struggles and inequalities not only in pay but also in conditions between them. 

2. Film

I rewatched recently Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Terminal’ – I try to rewatch this film from time to time but not too regularly. This was my grandma’s favourite film, me and her would rewatch it, and I would marvel at the fact that she still used to find it funny and moving. It reminds me of her, but the film’s message is also a great reminder, that “home” isn’t a physical place but people and memories; and that everything happens for a reason – it’s great to have a goal or a target in the future – but you might be in this particular position at the moment, because you need to learn or understand something about yourself that will make that goal or target more attainable, just like Tom Hanks’s character.

3. TV/Internet 

I think a subject I became passionate about in the past year, for obvious reasons, is “post-pandemic theatre” and it’s something I regularly read articles about on the internet. Because the theatre sector was the first to close and last to open – you wonder about what affect that will have on audience numbers. And with on demand media, like Netflix and Disney plus, playing such an important part in the pandemic, in keeping people entertained with more variety at a cheaper price – you wonder how many will come back?

4. Podcasts 

This year I’ve gotten a lot more into podcasts. One day my girlfriend was listening to a podcast, and I was working in another room – and I got so into the podcast she was listening to, that I stopped working and just listened in. The podcast was I-weigh by Jameela Jamil. Jameela is an English actress, presenter, and activist and her podcast is fantastic because it challenges societal norms through conversations, amplifying and empowering diverse voices in an accessible way to celebrate progress, not perfection. One particular podcast was with actor, singer and author Billy Porter, and for any emerging artists reading this, that is the episode to start from!

5. Place

This is a tough one, I think a breezy summer evening by the sea in Marsalforn with a strawberry granita, the smell of salt and the sound of crashing waves is definitely one of my favourite places to be. Last year though, as we were walking through the botanic gardens here in Edinburgh, we came across this particular bench off the beaten track of the gardens, completely engulfed by the plants and trees surrounding it. We sat there, and it was just so peaceful and tranquil, that it’s now one of my favourite places.