I have been roped into a play called Dinner.Earlier in September, I escaped my desk for a morning at the Reef Club, a private beach for bored housewives and sunburnt tourists. I spent the morning fiddling with a faulty sun-lounger and reading a book on Neuro Linguistic Programming. When my mobile rang, I did not recognise the number, and thought twice about answering. I took the call on the third ring. It was Irene, an actress from Berlin, washed up in Malta, looking for someone just like me. “But you don’t even know me,” I grinned. When I put the phone down, I was sure it was one of those life-changing moments. I am now spending my evenings learning how to play Lars in a run down theatre in Valletta called MITP. Lars is a former City slick with a receding hairline who has made a lot of money from a self-help philosophy book called ‘Beyond Belief’. Beyond Belief is outselling Delia Smith at Menzies and has caught the zeitgeist of people with the need to look away from their lives. I am struggling to learn my lines. I’m not sure what MITP stands for. I have to eat ready-made meals I get back home from rehearsals in the evening. I’m not not sure I like Lars.
Liz thinks I should start to eliminate anything which stresses me out. She thinks I should start by turning my back on AC Milan.AC Milan is my first love. It started when I was 5, when my father took me out on a carcade in the Fiat 600 and I could scream without being told to shut up. Since then, I have screamed in front of black and white TV sets, in friends’ living rooms, all the way to the Philips digital wide-screen. If I were brave enough to tattoo my arm, I would have a red and black devil. Two weeks ago, I had to lie down after a near miss by Filippo Inzaghi. It would be a strange way to die, because of some millionaire footballer’s miss, I thought, as I counted the beams in his room. Simply for the record. Tonight, AC Milan were down 1-0 to Lazio at half time and down to 10 men by the 50th minute. Then Shevchenko scored two impossible goals, Lazio hit the post, and Milan won the match. Perhaps I should get my heart checked.
Jacob on another Saturday
Saturday mornings are for Liz alone. She gets to have a cappuccino without having to share the foam.On Saturday mornings, I get to talk to Jacob about the bombing of the Valletta Opera House. I wait next to the Thomas the Tank Engine 10c ride. I get to lecture on potty training. I take Jacob into the church of St Francis. Everything has turned electric, even the red candles have little lamps in them now. Jacob counts the number of electric fans taking out the sleepy flies. It is September but still 26 degrees outside. So to the exhibition of Malta photography at St James Cavalier. Almost makes me proud of the wretched, old island. Jacob gets tangled in the wires holding a perspex collage. Jacob wants to look at the sea. I turn my back to the bus terminus and points in the general direction of St. Elmo. Jacob is not easily fooled. He wants the real thing, sea salt and spray. By the time I get back to the 1998 metalic blue VW Polo Classic, I want a new back. Instead, I drive back home, deposit the sleeping Jacob with Liz and write this blog.