No country for old punks

Vince Fabri gets all the opprobrium for daring to pen an alternative version of the National Anthem... watch the sparks fly.

Vince Fabri
Vince Fabri

Great. Absolutely bloody fabulous. Just when we thought we'd finally run out of things to get all hot and patriotic under the collar about... along comes Vince Fabri, Nationalist councillor and part-time soundtrack to Xarabank, with a good old-fashioned parody of the national anthem. You know, just to give the neo-jingoists something else to howl about for the next couple of months...

Damn it, Vince, what were you even thinking? Haven't you ever heard the old proverb, 'let sleeping kotras lie?" Some of us were actually enjoying the period of relative peace and quiet, you know. It was becoming pleasant to open your windows and hear only the honking of horns and the endless cries of "Hawn Tad-Doughnuts"... instead of the usual deafening barrage of ultra-nationalistic garbage, every time someone fails to fall prostrate and tremble before the Mighty Monument Tal-Helsien.

But now look what you've gone and done. I can't even check my Facebook chat status without getting bombarded by things like: "The blood spilt by our forefathers is being ridiculed!" and "I never expected you" [note: that would be YOU, Vince] "to stoop so low in changing our national anthem in this fashion. I feel it disrespectful to all those patriots who are proud to be Maltese..."

Not to mention the blatant disregard for our beloved national poet, Dun Karm Psaila. Honestly, how could you do such a thing? His pet poor canary must be spinning in its grave...

Besides: no offence or anything, but you're not exactly Johnny Rotten, you know. And as a certain David Bowie track once reminded us: 'This is Not America'. Here where all you airy-fairy arty types always get it wrong, Vince. It's not just the street artists who think they can do a Banksy [please note correct spelling this time, folks] and not be arrested for defacing national monuments and offending public sentiments.

It's not just authors who think they can do what D.H. Lawrence and Henry Miller did over 60 years ago, and not be prosecuted for their crimes against the humanities. We now have a bunch of folk-rock singer songwriters crawling out of the woodwork, too... all thinking that they can use the language of song to gently remind us that, well, maybe our 'dear land' is not all it was cranked up to be by a bunch of long-dead poets and priests.

I mean, honestly. As if music and song were ever used to articulate popular disgruntlement against the establishment...

But this is the trouble, Vince. You seem to be under the impression that Malta is a country just like any other... where it is actually quite normal for artists and musicians to satirise the emblems of the state, and where such satire is very often applauded. So if the Sex Pistols could enjoy chart-topping success with their iconic punk anthem 'God Save The Queen (and her Fascist regime)' in 1976... then you thought you could do the same in Malta in 2013, didn't you?

Big mistake, my fine Buddy Holly-lookalike friend. 'This dear land' of ours is no country for old punks, you know. No, nor for old Goons either. So where people like Spike Milligan (and fellow Goons Peter Sellars and Harry Secombe) could get away with parodying their own national anthem on the BBC breakfast show in the 1950s.... and the broadcast remains a comedy classic to this day... Well, that's no excuse. We're a special country, remember? We don't have a sense of humour... and whatever we do don't have is quite simply not worth possessing.

And I don't care if Roberto Benigni did much the same thing on Italian State TV a few years ago... turning the Canto Degli Italiani into a spoof of Berlusconi's Viagra addiction. Or, for that matter, if Jimi Hendrix played the Star Spangled Banner with his teeth in Montreal in 1967, and proceeded to set fire to his Fender Stratocaster.

That all took place in this obscure, mysterious place called 'The World'. You and I are not part of that place, Vince. You and I were born into 'this dear land'...and, just like the dreamy, sugar-sweet, nursery rhyme sing-song of the national anthem you so aptly urinated all over this week, we must all join hands and sing happy patriotic songs about how utterly fabulous it is to be Maltese under a benevolent Labour administration.

Now off you go to perform an act of penitence before the newly fashioned Monument Ghall-Perit Duminku Mintoff... that's right, the one that was inspired by an early episode of the Power Rangers, in an age when TVs were still black and white... and maybe, in the fullness of time, your grave offence against the Patria will one day be forgiven.

Meanwhile let's go back to the business you so rudely interrupted. Where were we? Ah yes. All together now:




Raphael Vassallo you're a great writer but kindly stick to writing articles, you know nothing about music and its variations... and by the way it had nothing to do with politics. It's you who did a parody of our national anthem in your final lines.
I knew this country was fucked when PN erected the greatest dick in Europe in the South of Malta at Luqa. When the prime minister was made President, When 2 out of three judges of the supreme court were brought to justice, When the commissioner of police had to resign over a sex scandal, When not one politician ever has been found guilty of corruption in 25 years, When the EU used its financial clout to sway the referendum, When we have ex-prime-Ministers blatantly lying to the electorate, want more ?
I would not be surprised to see PN hold a flag burning cerimony as a protest
Raphael, Sometimes try to get us, the over 75, on some topic or other. As of lately one can write a book. You see all the names you mentioned are not my cup of tea, I am still singing with Doris Day, Bin Crosby, and Frank Senatra, still it was a blow out of an article, you forgot to mention our new highly qualified ambassadors or let us say it this PN leader as shown so far we will not discover America with him at the helm and he is not worth to remark on. Yes my friend we always served either the Lords, or Barons or Bishops or the new found Doctors in this party. I remember the days when Mintoff used to mock the P.N. bhala partiet tal-Avukati. Well! today most if not all in government are Doctors of something. Did we really change for the better as a people or still serving? Raphael to me it was a well prepared writeup. Thanks. Wish all your readers the Best of Season and we might as well start with your famous three words: Lil, Din, L-art. . . .
John Mifsud
Raphael, I'm in complete agreement with all you write, However, the timing of Vince Fabri's poetic outburst is surely awkward for the PN, just at the time its leader and other spokesmen were taking to quoting Ruzar Briffa and generally talking about national pride and Maltese identity as though the PN owned the copyright on them.
I have no problem with parodies of anthems although I can't see how one can compare Fabri to the Pistols or Benigni let alone Hendrix. The problem lies in Fabri's agenda and his timing. Had this parody been sung at a time when the PN was selling our National assets, that is any time in the last 25 years, he would have been considered as a thorn in the side of the establishment. At this point unfortunately it's clearly nothing but cheap political propaganda.