So it’s thanks to them that we’ll be getting Mary Spiteri: The Musical?

The Skinny | No. 177 – Little Child Will Rock You

The Phaaaantom of Valletta 2018 is here...
The Phaaaantom of Valletta 2018 is here...

What are we skinning? The news that Mary Spiteri, beloved Maltese pop singer of early Eurovision near-winner Little Child and ‘Labour musical epic’ Ġensna fame, will see her life commemorated in a full-blown musical extravaganza as part of the Valletta Cultural Agency’s 2023 programme.

Why are we skinning it? Mainly because it’s just the kind of lunatic-tonic we need as the weather gets grimmer and the murderous news decides to match it up, but also because it speaks volumes about Malta’s relationship with both spectacle and hero worship.

Care to crack those volumes open? Nah, I’ll leave that up to the academics. Let’s focus on the other bit.

Okay. But first you gotta explain to me what this ‘Valletta Cultural Agency’ is. Well, remember when our capital city took on the mantle of European Capital of Culture back in 2018?

Yes, and the legacy it left behind was that of a city hollowed out of all life in favour of becoming a gentrified hell hole with boutique hotels crammed at each corner. Go on... Yes, well. After 2018 shuffled off its allotted mortal coil, the benchwarmers at the helm of the Valletta 2018 Foundation needed a new home... et voila! The Valletta Cultural Agency was born!

A miracle! When they say the arts are magic, this is what they mean.

So it’s thanks to them that we’ll be getting Mary Spiteri: The Musical? Little Child Will Rock You will indeed be a VCA project through and through.

Please tell me that’s the official title. Alas, no. They went with the far more prosaic Mary Spiteri: My Life.

Missed a trick, there. You know what they’ve also missed?

What? The opportunity to stage this at The Granaries for that full mass meeting effect. Instead, it’s being given the antiseptic ‘heritage’ treatment at the Mediterranean Conference Centre.

They understand spectacle, but they don’t understand their people. They are a gentrifying agency, after all.

Do say: ”Mary Spiteri is certainly a notable figure in Maltese pop culture, but a full-blown production about her life and times feels a tad too grandiose.”

Don’t say: ”A tad too grandiose? Unearned pomposity is part and parcel of the Maltese programme... VCA or otherwise. Get with it, kids!”