Author Archives: Mel Hart

About Mel Hart

A creative at heart, I love writing, photography and the worlds in between. Graduated from the University of Malta with a B.A. (Hons.) in Maltese; thesis focusing on sex and sexuality in Maltese literature. While at university, I worked for an online art company, procuring artworks for sale in various foreign markets. Freelanced for various magazines as a photographer and contributor. Gained a Masters in Creative Thinking and Innovation with the Edward de Bono Institute at the University of Malta with a thesis focusing on Innovation Patterns in the Video gaming industry. Currently working in communications with a startup, and in the process of obtaining a Master of Arts in English and the Media. Opinions expressed in this blog are my own. Would you like to hire me? Get in touch to see what I can do for you or your brand. Follow me on Google

5 things to do while stuck in traffic

I had written the below a few years back for LittleRock.com.mt. Let me know if there are other things you do while in traffic.

Do you have to leave your house an hour before you’re due to start work even though you only need to make your way from Paola to St. Julian’s, a journey which normally takes just above 15 minutes?

Since the schools have started many of us find themselves spending ungodly hours in traffic. It’s evil, and unfortunately, necessary unless your job offers flexible working hours. So much time is wasted performing the put your gear in first, break, handbrake motion that you might as well start doing something useful while waiting around for cars to unjam, so here are a few suggestions.

Learn a new language

Or simply try refreshing one you learnt at school. Load your music player with many of the learn it yourself guides that are available in so many languages and you’re good to go. You will ace your pronunciation and next time you go to Paris you might just understand what the barista says after you order your pain au chocolat.

Read a book

Many books nowadays can also be bought as an audiobook and what better way to get yourself some culture than by having someone read you a book? Want some inspiration? Try out the amazing Neil Gaiman who reads out his own audiobooks. They are fantastic!

Sing your heart out

There is no better way to let go of unwanted stress and frustration than singing. If you’re a little self conscious put the windows up, then put on your favourite Taylor Swift (or guy’s equivalent) song and sing to your hearts content. It’s been proven that singing releases endorphins and also boosts confidence.

Take a time-out

See the time you spend in your car as ‘me time’. When entering the car make sure you leave outside your usual thoughts about what to cook for dinner and what report is due at work. Instead think of more fun things such as plans for the weekend or where you would like to go on your next holiday.

Exercise

OK so you might not be able to do your marathon training while stuck in your car but you can do some breathing exercises which will help you face the rest of the day in a more positive way. Take deep breaths, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth while focusing on your chest movements. Namaste!

Don’t forget to let us know how you use your ‘in traffic’ time in the comments section below.

Was it you? The Comedy Knights just made my day

Local memes are getting better and better. With politics being such an important part of the Maltese social sphere many of our memes tend to revolve around it.

After MalliaGate or BridgeGate or whatever you want to call it, the internet was flooded with “OK Sieħbi” and “Enerġija Pożittiva” memes. Some got a little repetitive but then some others were pure gold like my personal favourites below.

MalliaMustGo.jpg_large

 

10421597_823741274353492_386570410067500825_n

This is some quality stuff, but nothing could have prepared me for this video by The Comedy Knights. It’s a promo for their Comedy Knights Christmas Comedy Cavalcade and it really made my morning.

It’s a rendition of Shaggy’s Wasn’t Me and recounts the conversation between two Sliemiżi and the angst that one of them has for voting Labour in the last election. They mention things such as the sale of passports, Muscat’s pushback threats and all the meritocracy which has now gone down the drain.

My personal favourite part has to be the bit at the end where the friend thinks that Labour are only in power for 2 years. Just for this gem I’ll surely be grabbing myself 2 tickets to go watch these Comedy Knights. Kudos to you!

Show starts on the 26th December until the 3rd of January. Tickets available from ticketline.com.mt.

The M&M snubgate

A video surfaced on Youtube showing German Chancellor Angela Merkel not including Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in a conversation. The discussion on social media quickly descended in the pits of partisan politics with one side laughing at what had happened to the Prime Minister and the other side saying they were offended by Merkel’s rudeness.

The video was uploaded to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s new Youtube channel called the Running Commentary so it can be deduced that the reason for the upload was to ridicule the Prime Minister. However, after seeing the clip many a times I still cannot find anything humiliating or even noteworthy about what happened.

Was the clip awkward? Yes definitely! Did it mean anything? I very much doubt it.

Who in the history of civilisation has never found themselves in such a situation? From the clip Merkel acknowledges Muscat and continues to show a piece of paper to someone else. Muscat senses he is not welcome within that particular conversation so he moves on. I have been in a couple of those situations myself and is the reason why I loathe networking.

Merkel did not blank the Prime Minister or even given him her back. She merely pointed out at the other person and mouthed something to the effect of ‘I want to speak to him’. There is nothing to take away from the clip, yet in the space of less than 24 hours this particular video has been viewed over 6,500 times.

Where is all this interest coming from? Why is such an insignificant clip given so much importance and why are so many people so quick to take a position on it? It might be easy to point a finger and laugh but I cannot understand why many took it upon themselves to condemn Merkel’s actions.

If there is anyone in the European political sphere who deserves our condemnation this week it’s UK Prime Minister David Cameron after a decision was taken saying Britain will no longer support migrant and refugee search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Their excuse? That it would encourage more migrants to cross. This is shameful, appalling tactic by the British government who is trying to appease the UKIP vote.

This of course directly impacts Malta and our resources and surely it is way more important than Merkel wanting to speak to someone else other than our Prime Minister.

So much love for the National Book Festival

Book Festival 2014

The National Book Council have just released their calendar of events for the 5 day National Book Festival and some of us (me especially) are really excited!

What is immediately noticeable is the amount of love that went into the organisation of this event. Everything from the artwork and design to the quality of the events at the Festival show the organisers really care about book culture in Malta.

It is about time that such care is given to these events. With our capital city gearing up for V.18 we should be taking care of all aspects concerning the arts. It is nice to see the rise of the geek is also happening here in Malta (albeit a few year late). In fact, this autumn we will also be having two comic book events: The MaltaComics Expo 2014 happening between the 31st of October and 2nd of November and the Malta Comic Con 2014 at St James Cavalier happening between the 29th and 30th of November.

The Book Fest will launch on the 12th of November and will span 5 days which will be filled with talks, lectures and best of all, beautiful books.

Local publishers and authors will be at the event showing off their wares and these will be joined by ten Italian publishers represented by Editore Morrone and a French author Pierre Assouline.

For more information about the Book Fest you can check out their Facebook page.

In the meantime, you can also have a little look at their rich calendar of events for the Festival by clicking here: Programm_NBC_EnglishOutlinesWeb (1)

The 2014 Car Free day in Malta is a fail

The Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Leo Brincat, on car free day, opted to rent a coach for himself and his secretariat. Whilst carpooling is a good solution to the reduction of cars on our streets it also shows the lack of faith in Malta’s public transport system. If the Minister can’t use public transport on the day he’s supposed to lead by example and as a token gesture use Malta’s public transport then how does he expect the rest of us to do so in our every day life?

source - timesofmalta.com

source – timesofmalta.com

Unfortunately rarely does car free day have much of an impact in Malta. This year it was made even worse since it coincides on the day many students go back to school. Malta woke up to congested roads, slow moving traffic and overall frustration.

I don’t know whose idea it was to hold car free day on this day but unfortunately it shows the shortsightedness of the organisers. The idea of car free day is to promote the use of alternative methods of transport. Going to work with your bike, carpooling and public transport are all ways this can be done and it could work if it is taken seriously. If awareness is the focal point of car free day then it should have been held on a Saturday or Sunday when people are more inclined to try out new things. So what if it’s not on the proper date, after all the car free day website is pretty clear:

Every year on or around 22 September, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood blocks to remind the world that we don’t have to accept our car-dominated society.

Speaking to MaltaToday Minister Leo Brincat said that the government was chastised by the EU for shifting the car free date days arbitrarily adding “All other member states have chosen today to hold Car Free Day together with many other countries worldwide to mark the International Car Free Day.” But my reply to that statement is, so what? Malta is unfortunately way beyond being a car-dominated society. We need to learn how to walk before we can run and that is why whoever is in charge of organising this day needs to think of the realities which affect us, mainly;

  • In September it’s still pretty hot meaning many won’t see walking/biking as an option,
  • The first day of school is always sheer madness especially since this is when there is an increase of cars on our roads – AVOID,
  • We need to have a public transport system which works and is able to sustain an increase in users,
  • Weekends would probably be more accessible to most people.

Instead of going with the flow and give an excuse quoting what the EU have demanded (this is after all not a law), the Minister should have put forward sensible statements as to why the 22nd of September would not have worked for Malta. After all, what’s the use of having a car free day if no one is remotely interested in taking part?