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Thursday, Apr 24th


Restaurants Malta - Paradise Found

Paradise Found

Dear Happy Couple.

Another week, another wedding. TCM has got it sussed.

Dear Happy Couple.


Dear Happy Couple,

Oh look! Another wedding invite! You would like me to share your happiness. And my cash. Joy! Ah, weddings, what shall we do with you?

Everyone and his dog seems to be tying the knot this month-is there some kind of special offer?. Weddings have apparently become the new must-have iPhone 4, with the bonus risk of contracting salmonella or gastroenteritis. Or hepatitis if it’s really wild.

I'm sure your parents have invited all the local celebrities, MPs, judges and Presidents they can think of to salve their social inferiority complex. Maybe even end up on the Sunday Circle’s Paparazzi section- the Holy Grail of social climbingness. Nanna would be so proud!

Nanna would perhaps be less proud of the fact that these social occasions always seem to descend into an OTT ħamallaġni-fest complete with suckling pig, groping drunken uncles and personalised napkins so you can blow your nose with the names of the happy couple. Classy.

I can’t complain, though. Maltese weddings are endlessly entertaining from an anthropological point of view. Few are those couples who either do not have at least one Onslow-type black sheep in their extended family or would dare risk offending said ruminant’s parents/spouse by not inviting it. No avoiding your drug addled pimp of a cousin in the shiny silver suit and Reeboks, sorry, but I promise not to introduce him to the Archbishop this time.

I’ve been to so many weddings these past few weeks, I’ve noticed a pattern:

The Maltese Wedding: A tragicomedy in three acts.

Act 1: The Meet and Greet…

Scene 1.

..And Make Business Acquaintances. Scoff as many devilled eggs and canapés you can get your hands on. Take one in each hand, in the pretence of taking one for your partner. The chances of it actually reaching the partner is that of a snowflake in hell.

Scene 2:

I want a spring roll. For crying out loud, waiter you’ve gone everywhere but here. He’s avoiding me, I swear. I will follow you to the ends of the earth, waiter - but I will have my spring roll.

Act 2: The High.

Scene 1.

Obligatory open bar stampede, like wildebeest at the only crocodile-free watering hole in the Serengeti. Economy goes out of the window as pimply young bartenders with harassed expressions blindly pour double, triple, quadruple measures while trying to deal with the human tidal wave at their bar. The focus here is on speed and survival; accuracy and economy have become a luxury at this point.

Scene 2.

Next up: awkward dancing. Most sane guests will attempt to make their excuses and leave after a couple of songs. The rest, labouring under the delusion of being the life of the party (or to get their money’s worth), continue to drink, eat and dance more and more rising in a frenzied crescendo to…

Act 3: The Crash

Scene 1.

Only the hardcore wedding veterans, closest friends, family and the criminally insane remain. This is Babylon, Bangkok, Sodom and Gomorrah all rolled into one. The choice and execution of the music plumbs depths so hideous that I can’t come up with a big enough hyperbole to describe it. The Maid of Honour and the Best Man disappear for a while and reappear sheepishly arranging their clothes, the sexually repressed aunties leap, like famished lionesses, at the opportunity to bump n’ grind with poor unsuspecting friends of the groom while the dirty old uncles desperately try to cop a feel with the young beauties, random people regurgitate their last five breakfasts into the neatly trimmed hedge and either the flower girl or the pageboy have to end up in the water feature (It’s the law, apparently).

When I see the above, Herb Morrison's famous utterance springs to mind: “oh the humanity!”. Of course he was reporting on the Hindenburg turning into a very big and expensive Chinese lantern, but both are human tragedies. “Oh the huge manatee” would also work if we were referring to some of the specimens present, but I digress.

Scene 2.

Oh shit! You were having so much fun you put off the cutting of the cake till half of the guests are either missing or comatose. Great. Now you’ll be eating that cake for at least a year. And you will, trust me. Just hope other opportunities to offload bits on houseguests will arise. (There is always the bird feeder if you still haven't completely disposed of it. Now if even the birds won't eat it, you just have to wonder what on God's green earth it was made for in the first place).

Slice. Hooray! Champagne and streamers sail through the air-quickly run and get changed for the final scene. Whatever you do, think of the poor tired guests: DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT COLLECT $200. DO NOT HAVE A QUICKIE WHILE EVERY ONE IS WAITING.

Scene 3.

Carried shoulder high to the strains of Sir Cliff singing “Congratulations” to your €23000 car-what’s this?-festooned with shaving foam, spray string, inflated condoms and assorted animal entrails!? Is this how you’ll be spending your first day of marital bliss-cleaning the car? In a word: Yes. "Congratulations and jubilations, I want the world to know I'm happy as can be..."

And then, all of a sudden-baħħ.

Battlefields suddenly go eerily quiet in the aftermath of a skirmish-one minute you’re in heavy contact and the next you’re wondering where “them fookin rag ‘eds" have gone. The debris and rubbish of war: spent cartridge cases, empty ammunition boxes, the odd empty water bottle, bits of equipment and burned out vehicles, litter the field. That image always springs to mind when I see the immediate aftermath of the Maltese wedding. Carnage.

Everyone, even the passed-out revellers have been spirited away. Was it all a dream? Hey, you'll find out tomorrow on facebook.

All this entertainment and more for €50? Bargain. I'll see you then.

Can't wait.


This Charming Man is a reluctant legal professional, an ex-professional soldier, ex-waiter, ex-deli sandwich maker, ex-expat, ex-boyfriend, ex-pretty-much-everything-else-under-the-sun and generally ex-hausted. Some also say, a slightly unhinged cantankerous moaner. Wait. This is Planet...err...moaner, right?

Every week he publishes a letter on .  Planetmona is Malta's food, travel and review website, edited by Mona Farrugia.  If you're looking for a restaurant in Malta, this is where you should be.

Do not invite him to weddings. Please. Think of the children.




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This Charming Man
December 09, 2010
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Dear Mr. McLoughlin,

Hillsborough is a historical fact, like the Hindenburg and Cliff Richards.
This being the British Disaster That Dare Not Speak its Name, I am aware that it is a touchy subject, but you know-I just mentioned it in hyperbole, it's not as if I was taking a dig at the victims.
Also, it's not like this happened yesterday. This was at least 20 years ago. Time evidently does not heal all wounds.

Forgive me Mr. McLoughlin, but sometimes I just don't understand the British - and I'm practically a native. They irreverently take the piss out of everything and everybody but then here and there you come across these taboo subjects, the mere mention of which becomes a blood insult worthy of death by stoning.

That said, I admire the restraint you've shown and as a gesture of goodwill have removed the offending sentence, whilst apologising for any personal offence it might have caused.

I trust this closes the matter.


Neil McLoughlin
December 09, 2010
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I was enjoying this article until I got to a certain point, the point being, "while trying to avoid a Hillsborough disaster at their bar."

This is a highly sensitive subject that should not be written about or referred to in this manner. I know of many writers and journalists who have done the same with dramatic repercussions on their careers, including one journalist in Boston just yesterday.

Could you maybe please edit the article maybe and take this reference out?

Sorry about this and thank you.


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