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May 2017 - Issue 89

MALTESE MOTORCYLCE DIARIES The road to Ban Gioc in Vietnam

The rise of the maltese song An interview with Janice Mangion

Editorial Issue 89 - May 2017 VIDA Magazine is a monthly lifestyle magazine distributed with MaltaToday on the first Sunday of the month. It aims to empower the people to lead a better, healthier and happier life. Publisher

Editor’s note Summer is so close you can almost taste it! In fact, last month some days were so warm the beach was even an option. But for now we make do with the spring. Floral patterns are always in in the spring and this one is no different. Big, bold colourful patterns put a spring in your step in the sunny season. Flowers are not only abundant in fashion at this time of year because the garden too, is at its best, and together with the warmer temperatures makes a great spot for lunch, tea or even dinner. Pippa Mattei shares some recipes that could easily be moved into the garden. Marc Casolani is sharing his very own motorcycle diaries as he motors around Vietnam to the borders of China, where he finds the most spectacular get-away – the waterfalls at Ban Goic. Whilst he’s on the tiresome roads to get to far away places, Mandy Farrugia is having a somewhat easier time, exploring the archipelago and atolls of Zanzibar, enjoying the cool colours of the Indian Ocean. We hope you enjoy this edition of Vida magazine and look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions.

Focused Knowledge Ltd Pitkali Road, Attard ATD 2214 Malta, Europe Tel: (+356) 2339 2238 Fax: (+356) 2339 2247


Rachel Zammit Cutajar Advertising Tel: (+356) 2339 2232 (+356) 2339 2234

It is understood that all material supplied by agents (printed or otherwise) to promote their products is supplied with all necessary permissions for reproduction. Whilst great care and attention has been taken by the editorial team to ensure accuracy of text, advertising and other published matter, we disclaim all responsibility for any omissions and errors. The editor and publisher do not necessarily agree with views expressed in articles, adverts, letters, or other content appearing in this publication.

May 2017 Issue 89


Contents Steve Hili is a karaoke star

Decorate your walls with geometric Polaroids


Marc Casolani’s motorcycle diaries in Vietnam


Foods to avoid if you suffer from migraine


Big, bold floral prints for spring


Up close and personal with Janice Mangion

Getting the right tone: Foundation 101



The Healthy Lifestyle Bill is getting Malta on its feet


Are you beach ready yet?


The islands and atolls of the Indian Ocean


Warming curries in the garden


What’s on this May


Revive your shrunken clothing

Mixing car racing with motorbikes

Going green: How veggies will put a spring in your step


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Column STEVE HILI You may have seen him on stage, heard him on the radio, or laughed at his lack of colourcoordination (he’s the one walking down the street with the orange shorts and pink shirt). He is loud, hairy, controversial and… well… different!

Many years ago I was in a musical. I have been in shows that have required little bits of singing here and there since then, but this was a proper full-on Broadwaystyle show. That left such an impact on me that I’ve forgotten its name. I have to be honest I am not a huge fan of musicals so I hadn’t really been tempted to be in one before that, but when this offer came along, it felt like it was meant to be. (Also I was single, going through a major barren patch, and a girl I fancied called Caroline was in it.) And (surprisingly), it all went quite well. Well not all well. Even though (or perhaps because) I spent every rehearsal singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ at the object of my affections (up until I could sing it like a proper crooner thank you very much) she ended up with a member of the orchestra. But as for the show itself, everyone loved it. (I know!) As I left the theatre after closing night, I passed a group who had been in the audience and they congratulated me on having a ‘wonderful’ voice. And something hit me. They didn’t sound sarcastic! Ever since then, I have kind of believed that singing is my thing. Or one of my things. (I am nothing if not multi-talented). I even went as far as to record a song and release it in 2012 (up to the time of writing I have sold eleven copies. Yes ELEVEN.) So when a mate of Kat’s suggested a karaoke night out, I jumped at the chance. In amongst our party was one man who described himself as ‘a professional karaoke-er’. He seemed about as fun as the term ‘professional karaoke-er’ suggests. When I questioned this description (by asking him if he got paid to sing karaoke in a pub and then explaining that the word ‘professional’ kind of implied that he did) he got very upset (I could tell by the aggression in his vocal warm ups) and he suggested a little competition. Anyway, no doubt of putting me in my place. Showing me who was boss, who ruled the roost. (Admittedly this was a roost in a karaoke bar, but still). It was decided that both of us should sing one song and the audience would decide who was top dog. But to make it more exciting we would both sing whatever came up randomly on the karaoke machine when the DJ pressed the button. Or turned the knob. Or did whatever magic karaoke DJs do. It was like a cool Russian-roulette rap-battle. Except you know, in a karaoke bar. And without the rap or the bullets. So not very cool at all.

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He went first. Delilah. What a tune! And to give him his dues, he handled it. He was a bit shaky at first (he explained afterwards that it is slightly outside of his vocal range) but he pulled it off with aplomb and at the end smirked at me. “Who is the pro now?” he asked. “Still not you, because you don’t do this for a living.” I thought. But decided not to push the point. Then it was my turn.



I was nervous by now. Could I really take this guy? Or had I picked a fight I had no chance of winning? Could I prove that I was not all talk? Or was I about to be crushed into karaoke oblivion? Then a realisation. Random songs! What if a song came up that I had never sung before? What if a song came up that I had never even heard before? It would be humiliating. Soul destroying. My wife would be devastated. My life would be over. The karaoke-pro would laugh me out of town. (I was possibly making a bigger deal of it than I

had to.) And then, just like that ‘Sweet Caroline’ appeared on the screen. I handled it like I was Neil Diamond. Mr. Karaoke-pro was stunned. Of course I crushed it. Of course I dropped the mic. Of course I broke the mic. Of course the karaoke DJ made me pay for it. And that is how a karaoke session can cost you £40.

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Photography By Claire Ciantar Claire has a BA Degree in Communications. She is a model with a passion for design, fashion, sports and photography. She also features on Xtra TV.






I’m sure that I’m not the only one who spends a long time thinking about how to decorate the walls of my room, office or hallways. And by ‘a long time’, I mean more than a year. Sometimes I'd think it would be better to leave it bare, then I'd think I needed another picture gallery. I constantly go back and forth. Lately, I’ve started thinking about a way to maybe showcase my Polaroid pictures instead of leaving them closed up in an album in the drawers. After intense internet searches, an idea hatched and I was off to create a sketch. I have been loving all of the geometric designs lately so I wanted to make something for my wall to hang pictures on that had that geometric look. I came up with a few sketches and went about implementing how I wanted to put them on my wall.

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The first thing I did was draw a sketch of how I wanted my lines and shapes, then I stuck my sketch on the wall so that I would be able to work comfortably. Make sure not to stick it with something so sticky that it might peel off the paint.


Next, I grabbed some nails and put one in every turn or cross section. Then, I had some leftover paint from when we last painted the house and used it to paint the nails to match the wall. It is important to note that if sealed properly, good quality paint lasts up to 10 years so don’t throw it away if you don’t use it all.

Photography STEP 3

After that I made a direction chart on my sketch. I didn't want any double lines and as few starts and stops as possible, this makes it look much cleaner. It was a bit of a puzzle at first but I actually enjoyed working it out.


Once I had my directions down I went to the wall. I bought some braided rope, the thick kind, followed my directions and put up each section until I had one whole geometric shape.



I wanted to add all of my Polaroid pictures, however I had a dilemma on whether to have captions on the bottom part of the photo or not. You can decide to choose whichever you like also depending on what types of photos you are using (since Polaroids actually have space to write on and normal photos might not have). This is how they turned out.

COMPETITION Spread those Picnic Blankets The month of May brings with it warmer temperatures and clear blue skies. What better time to make your way to an open, sunny space for a picnic with friends or family? We’d like to see your creative picnic photos, so send us your entries on Photos can be taken with any camera, as long as they are at least 2 MP (approx 1600 x 1200 pixels). There is no limit to the amount of photos you send in. However, make sure you do not attach more than two photos per email.


€30 to spend on photo printing material. Prize money must be spent in one purchase.

Palmyra Building, Naxxar Road, Birkirkara, BKR 9046

T: 2149 7335 • 2148 2734

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Travel MARC CASOLANI is a freelance photographer and a chronic traveller. Bitten by the travel bug several years ago he has failed to recover. www.marcandvanexplore.

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The road t


o Thac Ban Gioc The border of Vietnam and China

From destroyed rocky roads to muddy and wet ones, through ice-cold winds and heavy rain, I somehow found myself nearing a place that only few spoke of. A place that has formed over thousands of years and has been the subject of myths and legends that have been shared within the local Vietnamese and Chinese settlements. Almost 300km from Hanoi in Vietnam lie the waterfalls of Ban Gioc, which straddles the international borders between China and Vietnam, offering some of southeast Asia’s most scenic views. When travelling around the north of Vietnam, locals always recommend visiting Ban Gioc, but whenever I mention my interest in visiting the place they call me “dien”, which is Vietnamese for mad. Though these falls are the things that fairytales are made of, getting there is somewhat difficult and locals are always torn between recommending the falls and warning you away from them. When my journey took me to an area called Cao Bang, that is where I decided to go

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Travel forward with my plans to visit Ban Gioc. Before I set off I got stuck into the planning stages. This trip needs a little more planning as accommodation along the route is very limited. There is a Chinese resort near Thac Ban Gioc and a Vietnamese family offering rooms for rent in a small village close to the falls. It took me four hours to reach the small village, but I made it. Definitely one of the harderest roads I’ve had to pass through, and to add insult to injury, it rained through half of the ride and many parts of the road were completely destroyed as they were building a new one. This made the track extremely muddy and on a 130cc 1970’s Honda WIN, with 40kg of backpacking equipment to the back, things get tricky very quickly. The countryside was absolutely stunning, and the people were all too curious and inviting. I loved it, my worries about the conditions of the road soon diminished and I relished passing every corner, new friendly faces and more stunning scenery. Once you start to ride you instantly become connected to the environment around you, be it a village amongst the rice paddies, a village set under the mountains, or the mountains themselves. Somewhere about 30km from the small village where I was to make camp, I came across two tiny old ladies. They were both sitting and smiling, having a laugh together whilst watching over what looked like a shed with some goods inside. The younger of the two came up to me with a big grin and barely any teeth, whilst the other hung back in the wooden shed. Both were somewhat amused by this young foreigner, solotravelling around Vietnam, all alone on an old motorcycle, without even a wife! Eventually we managed a little communication. The ladies were both over 90 years of age, the youngest spoke Russian and they were selling goods whilst their children worked the land. While we spoke, a small crowd of children and some locals gathered, intrigued to see what I was up to. It’s moments like these that I really appreciate travelling alone. When you travel in company, you miss out on some of these experiences with the locals that turn out to be some of the best of the entire trip. I bought some water and

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Travel with the kids running in my trail I rode off for the last bit of the journey, looking forward to laying my head down, no matter how hard the mattress was. When I got to Cho Trung Khanh it was almost dark and after going around in circles to find the place a few times, I finally found this tiny two-storey building. It didn’t have any kind of signs advertising accommodation for rent, but that didn’t stop the friendly family from welcoming me in. I stepped into the living room, as you do in most of rural Vietnam, and made acquaintances. This was indeed the accommodation I was looking for, just a simple family house that offered three rooms to travellers upstairs. The whole family occupied the two rooms downstairs; parents in one room and children with their grandparents in the other. Then next day I rode off to finally catch a glimpse of the magnificent Ban Gioc waterfalls. I only had to cover another 20km and I planned to do this over a whole day. That way I could enjoy the ride there nice and easy, and take it all in. Then once I arrive I could set up all the time lapses I want whilst taking photos and exploring. And this is exactly what I did; I captured some amazing images on the way in with a couple of early morning time lapses. Then as I drew closer to the waterfalls I came upon this temple on the top of a mountain. My bike struggled but she made it. I was breathless, this felt like a monastery on top of the clouds. I set up two time lapses for an hour and a half, took a few photos and just spent half an hour doing my own sort of meditation. There was such a sense of pure peace in the monastery and only two monks wandering around doing their thing and the few times we made eye contact, we all just smiled. But before I left and made my way down again, I went to pay my respects and say thank you. From that we ended up playing a bit of takraw, which is a southeast Asian sport of footvolley. After riding 90km from Cao Bang and spending that night in the village, I was finally on the doorstep of what I consider to be a wonder of the world: Ban Gioc. The largest of the waterfalls is 60 metres in height and the views are spectacular. The karst topography is formed by the dissolution of the

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Travel soft limestone and creates multi-level terraces of waterfalls and pools. Local fishermen cast off the treacherous edges of the pools to catch local trout, whilst few locals and foreigners wondered around in awe. The majority of visitors were Chinese, whilst a handful of others and I made up the rest. I lingered there for hours, taking it all in and capturing what I could. I swam and spoke to a local old lady who sold local souvenirs and items such as fishing tangle and gems. There were a few small stalls of basic local nibbles which I filled myself with and I also had my photo taken with many local Vietnamese and Chinese people not used to seeing many foreigners around. It made me feel like a star for the afternoon. This was quite an action-packed journey, one that I was very pleased to have taken. I am very thankful for all the people who mentioned this place to me. After a full day exploring, I made the most of the Chinese resort close by, got a full meal and coffee for just â‚Ź10 and I said my final goodbyes to this heavenly place. Then I made my way back just before sunset to Cho Trung Khanh. I had to prepare for the next 22 days I had left on the road around Vietnam. Until next time, let the world be your playground.

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INTERVIEW Clifford Jo Zahra


is a teacher by profession but is now a full time content writer. He coauthored Linji sfużi (2014). Some of his writings were uploaded on websites, published in periodic journals and translated into English and Chinese. He runs his own blog entitled Hekk Taħseb?

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Janice M One Brig


angion: ht Star

28-year-old Janice Mangion rose to fame in the first quarter of this year following the success of Kewkba, her entry in this year’s Malta Eurovision Song Contest which came as a surprise to many due to it completely being in Maltese. Composed by Mark Scicluna with lyrics by Emil Calleja Bayliss, Kewkba secured second place, just some hundreds of votes short of winning the whole contest altogether. Clifford Jo Zahra, accompanied by photographer David Grima, meet up with the singer to get to know her better, learn about any projects in the pipeline, and about her participation in Discovery Fest, the international pop music festival held in Bulgaria. An accounts clerk in a family-run business, Janice Mangion juggles her time between work, time at the gym, as well as meeting up with friends every now and then. Singing takes up most of her time, and although she managed to achieve second place in this year’s Malta Eurovision Song Contest, she still feels like she has “a very long way to go. At the end of the day, while increasing the number of opportunities, this result should serve more as an encouragement rather than anything else.” What came first, Kewkba or the wish to submit a song for the festival? “At first, we had come up with the idea to write a song in Maltese specifically for the festival. A year ago we were working for another festival and an idea popped in mind: why not try for this festival? We agreed as a team, however, we weren’t sure what the rules stated." It had been so long since a song in Maltese was presented during the festival that Team Kewkba was not sure whether there were any rules against a submission in Maltese. “When we then went through the official rules and realised that there was nothing indicating that we can’t submit a song in Maltese, we decided

to go for it.” Was this an easy decision to make? Not at all. Janice admits that she was a bit unsure about submitting a song entirely in Maltese to a festival dominated by songs in English. However, she became more convinced of her decision once she listened to the song. There she started believing in it and in its power. Did her enthusiasm get transmitted so easily onto her immediate family members though? “My mother and sister were among the first to listen to the song. Although they were immediately attracted to it, both were a bit worried about the decision. Their concern reflected that of the general public. Since it had been a long time that a song in Maltese was sung at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, they were worried that it wouldn’t go down well with the public.” Doubts about the song did not stop there. Once the song passed through the final phase of the festival and its title started to attract the attention of many, people even started questioning the written version of the title. Many started doubting Kewkba, since they thought that the team had spelled it incorrectly. In reality they were confusing the term with kewba which in actual fact refers to oak wood. As soon as the finalists were announced, Kewkba, being the only song in Maltese competing alongside 15 other songs in English, became the talk of the town. Did it do so well because it was relatively easy to distinguish it from all the others? Janice contests such a possibility. “I believe that Kewkba is a good song, irrespective of the fact that it is in Maltese. More songs in Maltese might get submitted as from next year, but this does not mean that they are automatically good songs. The singer, the lyrics and the music must all be good, especially when you’re competing with the aim of representing Malta abroad. One can’t only think of the reactions of May 2017 Issue 89


INTERVIEW the Maltese public, but also reactions on the international scene." Once Team Kewkba started seeing positive reactions on youtube from non-locals, they started to believe more and more in the song. It’s easy for the Maltese to get caught up in patriotic sentiments and place more importance in the fact that it is sung in Maltese rather than in the song itself, but foreigners do not have the same problem. “Their encouragement was particularly important because they don’t understand the language, which proved to me that language was going to be a non-issue if it ever reached the international stage.” If one were to go through all the interviews that Janice had on different media, a recurrent point that she emphasised is that Kewkba is a powerful song. “Apart from the typical blend of a good singer, lyrics and music, there is another crucial factor, without which a song can never be considered a powerful one: production. This is where the capabilities of the producer Cyprian Cassar came in and led to a good end result – in fact the second I listened to it I immediately knew who should produce it. There’s also the emotional aspect, which is essential.” And that is true, because many were the comments about an emotional rendition of the song by Janice, especially on the final night of the festival. Without a shadow of a doubt, Team Kewkba has managed to challenge a long-standing perception that the festival must only feature songs in English. What does Janice think of this? “Halleluljah! At the end of the day this is what we really wanted to promote: a song in Maltese can be a good one, regardless of the fact that it is a language spoken only by a few thousand people. There were people who told me that it could have been in Chinese for example, and it wouldn’t have mattered at all, because the whole song manages to convey strong emotions.” Although this was the one festival that made Janice popular, this was not her first attempt. Way back in 2012, Janice made it to the semifinals with While her Eyes Still Glow. How does she feel about the probability that it is more likely that she’ll be remembered part and parcel with Kewkba? “I personally think that this in itself is a statement, as I didn’t want us to present a song without any emotion. However, it is

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also time to start working on new material, with the aim of adding on to what we did with Kewkba by introducing a wider range of songs. Throughout the competition we already had an idea of what we wanted to do with Kewkba’s success and what direction to take. We were working with Cap Sounds©, part of the Universal Music Group, who were also prepared to release the song on iTunes if it didn’t win. A lot of thought went into this decision as well, because we had to take care of the design and decide on whether we should make available the full version or just the instrumental one.

Now that the festival has ended, we’ve also worked on the remix version. There were several people who contacted me in order to produce the video for the song, and after a lot of consultation, we decided to go for Fade in Media.” In a few days, precisely on May 12th,13th and 14th, Janice will be participating in Discovery Fest, an International festival in Bulgaria which should serve as a good indication of the reception of an international audience who does not understand Maltese. In Bulgaria, Janice will be interpreting Kewkba and an original song in English, written by


Emil Calleja Bayliss, the same writer behind Kewkba, and composed by Vladimir Graic, the composer behind Molitva, which won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2007. With Kewkba, Janice will be competing for Best Singer Award, whilst with that in English she will be competing for Best Original Song. It was Robert Cefai, from the World Association of Festival and Arts (WAFA), who provided Janice with the opportunity. During the second week of July, Janice will then participate in the Slavianski Bazaar, considered to be the biggest festival in Eastern Europe. Former winners include Ruslana, Zeljko Joksimovic

and Tose Proeski. Guests like Blue, Albano and Sergey Lazarev were all invited in previous editions. Evelina Batley is the Maltese representative of this festival. Does Janice think that there will be fierce competition next year if her team decides to once again work on a song entirely in Maltese? We guess that many singers have now been encouraged to submit a song in Maltese. “I don’t believe that the competition increases with just the inclusion of more songs in Maltese. They still need to be good songs after all. I don’t have any guarantee of how well I’ll do if I submit another song in Maltese in the

future, and this is the same for everyone. There is a lot more to an exceptional song than language.”

The English translation of Janice Mangion’s quoted text from Maltese has been carried out by Amy Webb. Photos are the property of David Grima and the interview was carried out in collaboration with Marc Calleya Bayliss, on behalf of Ironic Pr and Artist Management. Janice Mangion would like to thank Carmen Mangion and Jacqueline Farrugia from Golden Curls Hair Salon, Tania Muscat from X Cells Beauty Therapy & Make-Up, and Monsoon for the clothing.

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Health DANIEL PETRE is a nutritionist with the Council for the Professions Complementary to Medicine. He runs his own clinic, Karma Clinic, and has collaborated with the Fortina Spa for over 10 years.

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OID IF YOU GET MIGRAINES Foods, drink and eating habits have long been blamed for triggering migraines in sufferers. Some studies show that about 20 percent of migraine sufferers count certain foods as triggers. Other studies report that anywhere from seven percent to 44 percent of migraine sufferers point to certain foods as triggers. Sometimes it’s not necessarily the food itself that triggers the attack, it may be an additive in the food such as food colouring that launches the migraine attack. Specific foods may serve as triggers in some individuals, while others might suffer a migraine attack if they miss a meal. Studies show that almost half of people with migraines have attacks if they fast. The migraine typically occurs after roughly 16 hours of fasting. The reason behind this isn’t certain, but some researchers believe that without food the body produces stress hormones, which activate chemicals in the brain responsible for migraines.

THE CAUSE OR JUST A SYMPTOM? We now know that food cravings are part of the early stages of the migraine, which calls into question foods (such as cheese and chocolate) that have traditionally been considered triggers. Before the aura or headache actually start there’s a phase of migraine called the premonitory phase. It can last for up to a day and includes symptoms such as concentration impairment, tiredness, neck discomfort, mood change, passing more urine, yawning or craving particular things. People crave sweet or savoury things in the day or hours before their attack, but before this is pointed out to them, these cravings aren't something that they’re conscious of. From their point of view, they eat something sugary and they end up with a migraine so they describe cause and effect, when actually, the sugar craving was a symptom of the migraine starting anyway. This is backed up by research -

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for example, chocolate was previously considered a trigger, but when tested carefully in a study, chocolate was no more likely to trigger an attack than other foods. There’s no doubt that some people are more sensitive to certain foods, but as we understand things better, we’re beginning to see that some of the commonly accepted triggers are actually behaviours that manifest in the earliest part of the migraine attack.

THE EFFECT OF FOOD INTOLERANCES One example of this is what I would call 'aggravation'. For example, if you’ve got coeliac disease and you eat gluten your migraine might play up, but only because

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migraine is susceptible to any biological or physiological change in the body.

INDIVIDUAL SUSCEPTIBILITIES The really reliable triggers such as alcohol and nitrates aren't unique to the individual, but the things that aggravate migraine are because it depends on what they are sensitive to. If you suffer from migraines, you have my sympathy. A migraine is more than just a headache. It can put your life on hold. Some people get migraines that are so bad that they can’t get out of bed. They can’t be out in the sun. They call in sick from work and stay in bed all day. They feel sick, sometimes throwing up. There are some drugs that can be used

to treat migraines, but they have side effects that are sometimes as bad as the headaches themselves. One of the best ways to do this is to know which foods will trigger an attack, as well as which ones can stop or prevent one.

IDENTIFYING THE CAUSE All sufferers have their own personal triggers. Doctors suggest that you identify yours by keeping a food diary. You can do this by jotting down what foods you have eaten in a notepad. There are also apps that you can download on your phone. It may take as many as 20 or 30 migraines before you can figure out what is setting you off, but you will know what to avoid in the future.

Health 3. Caffeine Though caffeine can be used to treat a headache, it can also cause one if you have less than you normally do. If you are a regular coffee drinker, try to have the same amount every day. 4. Beans Beans contain tannin, which is the same ingredient in wine that can trigger a migraine.

14. Artificial sweeteners Artificial sweeteners contain excitotoxins, which can cause neurons in your brain to spasm. 15. Red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar Both red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar contain tyramine, but white vinegar is fine.

5. Pickled foods Foods preserved in vinegar including eggs, beetroots, peppers and cucumbers have been known to bring on a migraine. 6. Hot peppers Chilli peppers contain capsaicin, which is such a powerful migraine trigger that researchers use it to set a migraine off. Interestingly, it is also used as a remedy. 7. Foods with Tyramine Olives, avocados, aged cheeses, bananas and red plums – they all contain tyramine.

15 TRIGGER FOODS Though not everyone is affected in the same way, these 15 foods are likely culprits and have been identified as triggers by many sufferers. 1. Alcohol One out of three people say wine or other forms of alcohol will trigger their migraines. While others say that having a drink when a migraine appears can stop it in its tracks. 2. MSG A lot of people say that this food additive will bring on a headache every time.


8. Dried fruits Dried fruits all contain sulfites which can behave as a trigger.

If you do get a migraine, there are some home remedies that can bring relief. These include:

9. Citrus fruits Histamines found in citrus fruits have been known to set off migraine.

- Eat foods that can fight some of the symptoms of migraines like rice and ginger for nausea. - Stay hydrated. Dehydration is a common cause of headaches.

10. Bread made with yeast Breads made with yeast contain coumarin responsible for migraine. The same is true of pizza crust and soft pretzels. 11. Processed meats Hot dogs, sausage and bacon contain sulfites and tyramine – both migraine triggers. 12. Foods with choline Sour cream and milk both contain choline. 13. Chocolate Chocolate contains caffeine, tannin and phylethylamine, all of which are migraine triggers.

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Foundation 101

is a VTCT qualified makeup artist specialising in wedding, editorial and TV makeup. leanne.mallia.5

Have you ever applied your foundation in the morning and it looks flawless, but just a few hours later it looks darker and patchy? There are three reasons why this may be happening.

1. Foundation is too dark We all know what a nightmare matching foundation to your skin colour is – going too light can make you look ghostly and going too dark just doesn’t look right! So why do so many of us get it wrong? People tend to match foundation to the back of their hand. Usually the back of your hand is darker as it’s exposed to more sun, especially here in Malta. Always colour-match your foundation to your neck and jawline. This will ensure a much closer colour match resulting in a more natural result.

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2. Foundation contains too many oxides Have you ever noticed that some foundations appear darker on the skin after a few hours of wear? This is the result of oxidation. It happens when the skin’s natural oil and pH react with the ingredients in the foundation. To avoid oxidation, look out for these three minerals which are very common in foundations: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and iron oxide. Another solution would be to use a primer before you apply your foundation as this will act as a barrier between your skin and the foundation.


1: finding the right tone

3. Foundation has the wrong undertone There are three possible skin undertones - warm, cool or neutral. A foundation which is too warm for your skin tone can actually make you look orange. It is best to always test the foundation on your neck or jawline and have a look at it when you’re in direct sunlight as this will give you a better indication whether the foundation matches your skin tone.


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DAY DREAM Regarded as the staple of the spring season, the floral trend is bigger, bolder and extra colourful. From headto-toe pyjama wear, to the pretty floral romanticism, the floral trend has you covered throughout the warm season. Want to achieve that extra edge? Add some dark bloom prints to your wardrobe!

Photography: Nicky Scicluna Styling: Malcolm Gauci Makeup: Zoe Mercieca Hair: Lara at D salon Model: Ana P at Models M


New Look Bra Top - €14.99 Miss Selfridge Kimono - €79 Bershka Waistbelt - €12.99 Miss Selfridge trousers - €49 Jewellery - Stylist's own

New Look Dress - €20 River Island waist belt - €22 Jewellery - Stylist's own

Stradivarius shirt - €25.95 Miss Selfridge bralet - €35 Miss Selfridge shorts - €40

Pull & Bear t-shirt - €17.99 Pull & Bear jeans - €39.99 Pull & Bear belt - €7.99 Bershka Chokers - €8.99

Berskha Bra Top - €14.99 Berskha kimono - €39.99 Bershka shorts - €19.99 Bershka Neck scarf - €7.99 Pull & Bear sandals - €35.99

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In recent years, the problem of obesity in Malta has escalated to a point where we are now forerunners in the subject on a worldwide scale. Typically speaking, this would be something to be proud of, but in such matters, this is far from the case. What’s good to know is that Malta is not sitting idly by, but is trying to change things around. Opposition Spokesperson Robert Cutajar, spokesperson for the family and children’s rights, elderly and people with disabilities, tells VIDA about a new law which will help citizens adhere to a healthier lifestyle and overcome the evolving issue. A Healthy Lifestyle Bill, the first complete law put forward by a member from the opposition to be unanimously approved by all parliament members, will attempt to spread awareness about obesity between all members of the community, from pre-birth to old age. Economically speaking, obesity is costing Malta over €40 million every year. Health issues resulting from obesity translate to fertility problems and even cancer. The money that we could save from obesity-related difficulties could be used to invest in

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projects or research. “When I first started out in parliament back in 2013, I used to shadow youth and sport. During a conference about the topic, I presented a paper on obesity which ignited a lot of interest in attendees. At the time it was just a paper which fit into a wider theme, but eventually it evolved into a whole society and government approach bill to tackle obesity in Malta.” A whole government approach means that every minister that is in some way connected to the matter would be part of an interministerial committee. This would make sure that the bill is functioning well within our community. MP Cutajar’s approved law allows for someone to be nominated from the prime minister’s office; this will help get the ball rolling and make this bill effective for the elderly, education, local council ... basically everyone. “I have met representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO), who have fully endorsed this law. It is the first law of its kind in Europe, and if done well, could be a real game changer. It all boils down to changing a part of the country’s thinking



culture, which doesn’t come about by solely educating the current generation, but by taking into consideration the next. Our whole rounded approach will tackle people from all walks of life, starting from the mother-to-be to the elderly.” This bill will not only educate people on obesity, but will also tackle non communicable health conditions like diabetes. From the early stages of pregnancy, expectant mothers will be informed about the kind of foods that not only their child should consume, but that they should routinely implement in their daily lifestyles. “The next order of business would be to take this bill into schools via the education system. As it stands, children are spending the majority of their time sitting behind a desk, and despite recent improvements to the system, there are no laws that enforce a healthy way of spending this time. I don’t think that two P.E. lessons a week are enough to properly get our children moving. The team

working on this bill is working to get a minimum number of hours of physical exercise by law, including in the child’s routine. We need to do away with the idea that giving a child a break in is a suitable form of punishment. Not allowing your child to go to sports lessons does more harm than good in the long run; it’s time we stop penalising our kids by reducing their daily exercise. The Healthy Lifestyle Bill will also see to it that drinking fountains are installed in schools and that children are given access to healthy and suitable food within school premises.” The last chapter of the bill looks at how this initiative will work with the elderly. “It’s not just a matter of teaching the elderly not to over feed their grandkids, but also ensuring that residents of elderly homes and day centre attendees are given proper meals. The end goal is to have a law which specifies that twice a week, physical exercise sessions and informational talks are

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organised in day centres to keep everyone in the community healthy and in the loop.” For this bill to really work, there needs to be an active role taken by the local councils, in the form of activities, campaigns and even informative talks for the people living in these communities.

“Throughout my time as mayor of Mellieħa, one of my main projects was to provide locals with a family park including an open air gym, where they are allowed a physical outlet at no cost. Such a concept should be taken up by local councils together with government in order to further promote a healthy lifestyle in our country. There are a great number of abandoned zones and green areas which could be transformed into such places; it is an amazing way of giving back to the public while keeping in mind such health initiatives. The biggest challenge for implementing this law comes with attempting to change the culture. It’s not just about changing the way the community eats, but also a lifestyle change in general, and adapting healthy habits throughout your day. It will be a challenge and by no means a walk in the park, but trying to teach someone discipline never is. My dream is for this bill to start working in full force. In reality, politicians come and go, but it is what we leave behind that really matters. Knowing that we will be improving the life of our children’s children will definitely help us sleep better at night.”

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Travel Mandy Farrugia Following her studies in business and languages, she had the opportunity to work and travel for international companies in the tourism industry. Since then, she indulged in her passion for photography, travel writing and scuba diving with lots of destinations yet to discover.

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CH DESTINATIONS IN OCEAN Always in search of unknown places, no matter how remote and how challenging to reach they might be, we travel on the road of an exciting tailor-made route, far away from the enclosed Mediterranean Sea to the charming atolls and islands of the Indian Ocean. I had already heard stories about the crystal-clear, turquoise waters and the soft, coral sandy shores of Africa. So I decided on my next travel destination, the picture-perfect Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar and the coral atolls just beyond. Our trip begins in Zanzibar’s capital, the east African trading town of Stone Town, a World Heritage site known for its spices and perfumes. We landed close to what looked like an abandoned and desolate town, with shabby streets, crumbling buildings, mysterious alleyways and homes, which in fact also serve as temples during the Salah times; the Muslim praying hours. It takes quite some time to get used to it. Nonetheless, it remains a charming town echoing the turbulent years of colonisation. Walking down its streets is a one-of-a-kind experience, as most of its inhabitants seem to be still living in the times of the Sultanate era. What once were prominent buildings supported by the imposing columns, are now just falling apart, and the locals do not seem to bother at all. They love lying in the shade of the open courtyards during the late hours of their sweltering afternoons, refreshing the town with their captivating smiles and smells.

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Travel The coral surrounding Zanzibar creates secluded atolls – reef islands – with soft, white sands fored by the waves crashing against the coral, naturally breaking it up into tiny fragments which form the sand. The waters are crytsal clear and bright turquoise, taking you deep into another world. And so, following the coral route, we journey on their traditional wooden boats, known as the dhow. Sailing vessels with lateen sails drift through all the different shades of blue of the sky and sea. As soon as we approach the deserted shore, we notice the Island Lodge crew standing side by side waving at us. They come to greet us, but it is hard to concentrate as the deserted beaches, so far away from the noise pollution we have become accustomed to, distract us from their friendly smiles. But there is plenty of time to lose ourselves on the beach as soon as we have settled in. Interesting plants, birds and creatures make this island their habitat, but they are often overshadowed by the atoll’s spectacular beaches. The underwater world on this atoll is unique with an ecosystem that is as vibrant as the ones on dry land in the African savannahs and the tropical rainforests. Bewitched by the atoll’s minimalism, it is surely much more than an island paradise. There is something undeniably spiritual about these little islets. It may be the migratory birds that gather on the sand spits, or the beautiful dolphins that often come so close to the shore, or the small fish which on low tide enjoy approaching and moving around our underwater cameras while we try to get a close shot of them. What seems, at first glance, to be a small bare atoll is immediately revealed as a naturalist paradise with a very interesting nature trail to discover. Insofar as beach holidays go, the Caribbean takes all the glory, however the Indian Ocean has just as much to offer and is definitely worth the trip.

May 2017 Issue 89



GETTING BE Our farewell to winter has begun and while we are looking forward to long summer evenings on the beach, this time of year fills almost everyone with a sense of dread – shedding those layers of clothing and putting on a bikini for the first time, exposing that skin you have been hiding all winter.

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ACH READY First things first. There is no quick fix to getting that magazine model body we have been brainwashed into thinking we all should have. A survey conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 91% of women are unhappy with their body image and while no amount of beauty or fitness regimes are going to change that statistic, there are a few things we can do to make sure that our transition into the summer season is the least traumatic it could possibly be. As the Maltese spring has already offered up some days that have been warm enough to get to the beach, getting ahead with some little jobs will ensure you’re not passing up a day on the beach simply because you’re not ready.

PAY THOSE TOES SOME ATTENTION It’s not only your midriff that hasn’t been seen in public all winter. Your feet have been hiding in boots for so long you start to forget that they could also use a bit of TLC. Book yourself a pedicure or bring out the foot scrubs and a fashionable colour of nail polish and tidy up those toes. Your feet may be white until they get a little bit of sun but they don’t have to be full of hard skin and over-grown cuticles.

FIGHT THE FUZZ Welcome back summer. The light that makes you feel full of life has been missed; the highlighting of every single hair on your skin, however, has not. Though we tend to get a bit lazy throughout the winter – our legs are mostly covered through the cold season anyway – now is time for a body hair springclean. Get ahead and book an appointment with your beautician or stock up on all those hair removal products. Blunt razors aren’t going to do the trick under the spotlight of that summer sun.

STOCK UP ON SUNSCREEN We all know how important sunscreen is, so telling you to lather it on is not going to come as news. Last year’s stock is probably expired so make sure you think about replenishing your sunscreens before your first beach day. Sunscreen that is older than a year expires and is no longer effective. Make sure to get all of those exposed areas as every bit of skin can burn – the tops of your ears, your feet and even your lips are in the most danger the first few times you go to the beach. Buy some now and be ready for that first unexpected beach outing.

TLC FOR YOUR BODY Sunscreen isn’t the only way to look after your skin. Trade up May 2017 Issue 89


FITNESS your dry winter skin for a summer glow with an exfoliator in the shower followed up by plenty of moisturiser. Keep your hair moisturised with leave-in conditioner right from the start of the summer. The earlier you start looking after it the less likely it is to start going dry and straggly as the summer progresses.

ACCESSORISE Everybody loves a little bit of accessorising and summer is no different. When you’re putting together your perfect outfit try and think of accessories that also offer protection. When choosing sunglasses make sure they are polarised. Polarised lenses block out 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Hats can add a little bit of style to your beach outfit. Broad rimmed hats are better than baseball caps but anything is better than nothing. Long-sleeved flowing tops and long skirts can protect your skin before it gets too hot.

STAND TALL Have you ever looked at someone and just known that they spent


their childhood in a ballet studio? By simply standing tall, neck long, shoulders down and abs pulled in you tend to look slimmer and taller. Your posture can make you look slimmer and taller by the pool and lead to a happier back which is and less likely to hurt later on in life so ditch the droopy shoulders and straighten up this summer. If it’s harder than you think to maintain, join a Pilates class and strengthen your core which will make it easier for you to maintain good posture.


It’s never too late to start a fitness regime. Although you’re not going to lose a huge amount of weight or build a huge amount of muscle between now and bikini season, the benefits of starting a fitness regime extend to way beyond the ideal body. The tendency is to start too hard at this time of year with the chances of keeping it up being very small – especially once the summer parties kick in. The trick is to start with something manageable – join a gym, go for a run, clean up your diet and try to stick to this throughout the year. If you manage to stick to it, next summer may be a little easier!

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FOOD PIPPA MATTEI has years of experience in the kitchen. She is the author of the Gourmand award-winning cookbook Pippa’s Festa as well as 25 Years In A Maltese Kitchen.


Anyone who has a garden is making the most of it round about this time of the year. The flowers are in full bloom and the sunshine is glorious without being too hot. Eating outside is the perfect way to enjoy garden, but choosing the right meal could be difficult. Curries make a great outdoor meal as you can simply bring everything outside and then have everyone help themselves. These are some of Pippa Mattei’s favourite curry recipes. 46 Issue 89 May 2017


G CURRIES Chicken curry




ǷǷ 8 chicken parts ǷǷ 1 cinnamon stick


Put back chicken pieces, cook till chicken is coated in the sauce, now add the coconut milk, cover and cook gently till chicken is tender (approx. 50 mins). Leave overnight then heat again, add yoghurt and garnish with fresh chopped coriander. Serve with basmati rice and a selection of accompaniments.

ǷǷ 800ml coconut milk (2 X 400ml tins) ǷǷ 400g onions, peeled and finely chopped ǷǷ 3 tbsp vegetable fat or ghee ǷǷ 6 cloves garlic, crushed ǷǷ 1 tbsp ground coriander ǷǷ 3 tsp ground cumin ǷǷ 2 cardamom pods ǷǷ 2 tsp ground turmeric ǷǷ 1 tsp chilli powder ǷǷ 1 tsp salt ǷǷ 1 lemon or lime, juice only ǷǷ 2 apples, cored and diced ǷǷ 50g sultanas ǷǷ 2 tbsp apricot jam or chutney (see recipe) ǷǷ 25g almonds chopped ǷǷ 150ml plain yoghurt ǷǷ 400g tomato pulp or sauce (1 tin) ǷǷ 25g piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated ǷǷ 2 bay leaves ǷǷ To garnish ǷǷ Fresh coriander

Method 1. 2. 3. 4.

Fry chopped onion in ghee or vegetable fat till transparent. Add chicken pieces and fry till golden – remove and set aside. Add all spices to the hot fat and fry till it all changes colour. Add chopped apples, garlic and tomato pulp, stir in, then add all other ingredients except yoghurt and coconut milk.

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Basmati pilaff Ingredients ǷǷ 500g basmati rice ǷǷ 100g butter ǷǷ 1 large onion, finely chopped ǷǷ 1 large sprig fresh thyme ǷǷ 2 bay leaves ǷǷ 2 cinnamon sticks ǷǷ 8 cardamom pods, split open ǷǷ 3 cloves ǷǷ 3-6 thinly pared strips lemon zest ǷǷ 1 litre chicken stock or water, boiling ǷǷ 1 ½ tsp sea salt (to taste) ǷǷ Black pepper

Method 1. Preheat oven to 180°C. 2. Rinse the rice well and drain. 3. In a large casserole melt two-thirds of the butter and sauté 4. the onion for about 5 mins. 5. Add the rice, stir well, then add the herbs, whole spices and lemon zest and cook for one min. 6. Pour in the boiling stock or water and mix into the rice, along with sea salt and ground black pepper to taste. 7. Cover and bake in the oven for 25 mins. Leave to stand for 5 mins, then remove the lid and fork through the remaining butter until the rice is fluffy and separated. 8. Use straight away.

Cucumber raita Ingredients


ǷǷ 250ml plain, unsweetened yoghurt ǷǷ ½ cucumber, grated or sliced ǷǷ Salt

ǷǷ 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper ǷǷ 1 green or red chilli, seeded and very finely chopped (optional) ǷǷ 2 sprigs fresh coriander, chopped ǷǷ Chilli, to garnish

Method 1. In a bowl beat the yoghurt. Add the other ingredients, mix well and chill. 2. Garnish the raita with the chilli slice. 3. Use straight away.

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Aubergine raita Ingredients ǷǷ Oil for frying ǷǷ 350g aubergine, sliced into 3mm rounds ǷǷ 300ml plain, unsweetened yoghurt ǷǷ Salt ǷǷ 2 tsp ground cumin ǷǷ 2 tsp chilli powder Method 1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the aubergine slices until golden brown. Remove and drain well. 2. In a bowl beat together the yoghurt and salt, then pour into a serving dish. 3. Add the fried aubergine and sprinkle with ground cumin and chilli powder. 4. Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden.

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CLOTHES By Claire Ciantar Claire has a BA Degree in Communications. She is a model with a passion for design, fashion, sports and photography. She also features on Xtra TV.

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Restore your


shrunken sweater

While luxurious and soft, wool is also annoying to wash and confusing to care for. Natural wool fibre garments may be labeled hand wash, or even dry clean, and are easily stretched or shrunk with improper care. If you've accidentally taken your fine sweater from adult to child size after cleaning, don't throw it away. Get your shrunken apparel back into shape and take the fear out of caring for wool. The labels on clothing can be difficult to understand when they only show different symbols instead of clear, written instructions for cleaning. Shrinking can easily and unintentionally happen. All you need is either baby shampoo or hair conditioner. Some say baby shampoo works slightly better, but others insist that there’s no difference. The idea is that both formulas loosen the fibres of a garment and also make it soft, silky and manageable. So if your favourite sweater no longer fits, follow these steps and return it to its former glory.

STEP ONE Start the resizing process by soaking the shrunken item in a sink full of warm water and about two tablespoons baby shampoo or conditioner. Gently rub the soap into the fibres by hand, taking care not to stretch any of the fibres during the softening-up process. About 15 minutes should allow enough time for the soap to relax the garmet's fibres enough so that you may begin the next process.

STEP TWO Remove the clothing item from the soapy water. Rinse in cool water to remove the baby shampoo. Gently press or squeeze the garment to remove any remaining moisture. Don't wring, as this can further damage and even break the fibres you're trying to stretch.

STEP THREE Follow your rinse and squeezing routine with a roll in a clean, dry towel to remove any lingering moisture. This is the best way to squeeze water out of clothes without wringing it out of shape. It's important the clothing's fibres contain as little moisture as possible when you begin the resizing process.

STEP FOUR Once you unroll it, start to stretch the garment into what you remember to be it’s original shape. Make sure to stretch the neck, arms, and sides without damaging the fibres. Let it be for at least an hour. Return to re-stretch your garment every few hours. It will take several stretching sessions to unshrink the garment, and ease it back to its original size. But if you adore that shirt or sweater, you'll be glad you took the time to stretch, stretch and stretch again. After your garment is fully dry and fragrent with the lovely baby shampoo or conditioner scent, try it on and although it might still be a hair tighter than before the tragedy happened, at least you don’t have to throw it away!

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Edward Zinkowsky & Charlene Farrugia Piano & Violin Recital


Classical music concert held at the National Museum of Archaeology, Republic Street, Valletta at 20:00. Featuring Edward Zinkowsky (piano) and Charlene Farrugia (violin). Programme includes: Mozart's Sonata for violin and piano in G Major, KV 301; Debussy's sonata for violin and piano in g minor, l 140 and Franck's sonata for violin and piano. More information: https:// MAY 5, 6

Brikkuni – Rub Al Khali Launch concert

The pop-folk band Brikkuni will be officially launching their third album Rub Al Khali at the MCH Community Theatre, Attard MAY 6, 7

The Great Spring Horticultural Show

Horticultural event at San Anton Gardens, Balzan from 14:00 to 22:00 on May 6 and 08:00 to 21:00 on May 7. Featuring floral arrangements, plants, fruit, vegetables and crafts. This annual traditional show includes also a programme of dancing exhibitions, folk music and various demonstrations. Organised by the Malta Horticulture Society. More information:

Brian Schembri


Schwingungen Piano Trio Vienna

Classical music concert held at the National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta at 20:00. Featuring the Schwingungen Trio Vienna: violinist Sanghee Cheong, pianist Charlene Farrugia and cellist Stefan Kropfitsch. Programme includes: Glinka's Trio pathetique in d minor; Beethoven's piano trio op.70 ghost and Arensky's

piano trio no.1 in d minor op.32. More information: MAY 12

Be-Wild Events: Magic Island + Yews

Night of indie electro-pop music by German band Magic Island – launching their debut EP 'Like Water' – and supported by local act YEWS at the Floriana Bocci Club, 22:00. Entrance at

Areola Treat

The VIDA team does its utmost to publish the most updated information in these pages. We cannot, however, take any responsibility for details omitted or changed by third parties after 52 Issue 89 May 2017

Events at the Robert Sammut Hall, Floriana, 20:00. Featuring art by Anthony Catania and music by Simon Sammut. Bookings: Price includes the CD album and a full-colour booklet. MAY 19, 20

Malta World Music Festival World Music festival taking place at Fort St Elmo, Valletta at 20:00. Featuring Brodu (Malta), Tsuumi Sound System (Finland), Tiwiza (Algeria/France), The Khoury Project (Jordan), Sona Jobareth (Gambia) and Bandadriatica (Italy). More information: http://www. MAY 26

Switch the door is at €8. Organised by Be-Wild Events. MAY 12-13


Switch is a video performance coming from the outcome results of CODE SWITCH #1, a research project combining epigenetics and performance and video art, conceived and carried out by Cristina Ghinassi in collaboration with Dr Edward Duca. Taking place at Spazju Kreattiv at St James Cavalier, Valletta at 20:00. MAY 13

The Areola Treat Comeback Gig Comeback gig by the fan-favourite indie rock band The Areola Treat at Razzett L-Ahmar, Mosta at 20:00. MAY 13

Heart & Soul

Tribute night to Ian Curtis of Joy Division

at The Funky Monkey, Gzira at 22:00. Featuring the DJ line-up of Lieutenant 030 (UK), Aidan Borg, Michael Bugeja and Joseph Felice. MAY 19

Fleshgod Apocalypse – Live in Malta

Italian metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse will be performing at the Orpheum Theatre, Gzira at 19:00. Withh support from local acts Thy Legion, Angelcrypt, Repugnance and Bound to Prevail. Tickets are at €20 - €25. Bookings: https://shop. MAY 19

Crossing – A Journey Through Music and Visual Art The launch of the project 'Crossing - A Journey Through Music and Visual Art'

From a distance: Ġulja Holland

Second solo exhibition of paintings by young artist Ġulja Holland at Lily Agius Gallery, Sliema. More information: http:// MAY 27

Mozart at Midnight

Classical concert of some of Mozart's pieces at the Grandmaster's Palace in St George's Square, Valletta at 20:00. Featuring Brian Schembri (conductor) and Jose Garcia Gutierrez (French Horn). Programme includes: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Horn Concerto No. 4 and Symphony No. 40. Organised by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and the Malta Community Chest Fund.

Feasts in May 1st May Worker’s Day, public holiday St Joseph the Worker, Birkirkara 7th May

St. Joseph, Xagħra, Gozo St. Joseph, Ħamrun

14th May Mother’s Day 21st May St Augustine, Valletta, Santu Wistin Parish

Fleshgod Apocalypse

28th May St. Paul’s Shipwreck, Munxar, Gozo. The Annunciation, Tarxien. Our Lady of Fatima, Gwardamanġia

going to print. May 2017 Issue 89


FILM TEODOR RELJIC Teodor Reljic is culture editor and film critic for MaltaToday, and co-editor of online fiction and pop culture publication Schlock Magazine. His debut novel, 'Two', is published by Merlin Publishers.

54 Issue 89 May 2017

Embracing springtime

FILM Books

the pulp at John Wick: Chapter 2. Logan. Kong: Skull Island. Ghost in the Shell. Free Fire. A mixed bag of action cinema headed our way this spring and for the most part, it made for a fun time at the movies

Ghost in the Shell

While Marvel Studios and their counterparts/main competitors DC prepare to attack us with their latest tentpole blockbusters based on comics properties, the spring has, thankfully, yielded a number of films which aim for the same audience-pleasing sweet spot but which, thankfully, are not tied to asintricate a franchise machine. The body-count heavy action sequel and pin-sharp pastiche John Wick: Chapter 2 remains king of that particular crop so far, with an oddly intricate internal mythology lending a full-bodied, Campbellian twist to its ludicrous but fun, and bordering on sheer supernatural fantasy, universe of assassins operating under a strictly — and bureaucratically-imposed moral code. One thing that’s striking above all in the ever-expanding John Wick universe – a threequel has already been announced – is, in fact, just how mythical the whole thing is. Taking the classic action heroes of the 80s and 90s as its springboard – and hence succeeding where Sylvester Stallone’s well-meaning but ultimately flat Expendables saga floundered – writerdirectors Kolstad and Stahelski, who return to steer the sequel, go to great pains to create a heightened world that operates within its own logic. A logic which, as this second ‘chapter’ confirms with increased conviction, points to Wick being less of a semi-lobotomised hard-man in

the Steven Segal tradition, and more of a multi-linguial, multi-talented hero whose quest rivals the likes of Odysseus in its symbolic import. Ramping up the violence and overall pizzazz that has made the original something of a dark horse among contemporary trash cinema, the sequel is a balletic tour-de-force of hyper-violence that refines its pastiche so perfectly it’s hard to believe a human being, and not a machine, has put it together. And for once, that can stand as high praise. Logan, on the other hand, was made all the better for being more human than its other superhero counterparts. Gone is the upbeat flash of Marvel cinema and the dark gloss and machismo of DC’s attempts at the same — this is a swansong for grizzled hero that leaks blood, sweat and tears in every frame. It’s still a sort-of ‘Greatest Hits’ collection of some of the finest of dystopian work out there — it’s essentially a superhero flick with filtered through Children of Men and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and No Country for Old Men — but all of this is woven into the proceedings with a strange kind of grace, which is helped along by a couple of great, earnest performances from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart in particular. Another thing that distinguishes Logan from affiliated Marvel fare is that the film

May 2017 Issue 89



Ghost in the Shell

is, to a significant degree, a passion project for its star – and Jackson’s commitment to the role is palpable in every scene. The mechanics of the film itself don’t, of course, allow for any subtlety or major ‘actorly’ moments to seep through for any length of time, but Jackson still manages to pour great dollops of pain and world-weariness amidst all the explosions and dismemberment. Coupled with a Patrick Stewart wonderfully let loose – it’s both painful and utterly infectious to see such a formerly dignified character as Professor X devolve into a potty-mouthed grouch in his old age – and the Mangold’s film managed to lurch into wounded, crabby life despite the generic confines it still operates under, after all is said and done. Less human than either but certainly less nihilistic than both, Kong: Skull Island is a low-key triumph of actually-good CGI and

Kong: Skull Island

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devil-may-care pulp storytelling. Set pieces like a gas-maskclad Tom Hiddleston katana-ing his way through subterranean evil lizards and the titular Grand Ape smashing military helicopters into each other to the tune of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid are not to be sniffed at, and while notably lacking in any character development that convinces, here’s a film that finally lets us have some fun, and saves the potential franchisebuilding for the post-credits sequence. Of course, you’ve come here for the monster fights more than anything else, and I’m happy to report that Skull Island is not only generously populated with impressive-cum-terrifying beasties, but also that they’re rendered with a grimy, lived-in sense for character design which, while clearly being done entirely in CGI, displays none of the wonky laziness that the style implies. Kong himself succeeds in looking both imposing and


agile; a warrior-king (indeed, god) who is often called upon to pounce around and get his hands dirty in the interest of keeping his island safe from threats both from within and without. But our rag-tag band doesn’t just have Kong to contend with, and thankfully each monster they’re assailed by on the treacherous terrain they’ve decided to encroach upon (with exploratory bombs as well as their own itchy feet) comes with its own peculiar set of skills and/or gross-out hook. The big kahunas here are the ‘Skullcrawlers’ which emerge from the volcanic depths sporting scraped-off lizard heads and forked tongues, but a giant spider attack is also memorable, as is an early sequence of Kong skimming the riverbed for lunch... On the opposite ends of the scale? The highly anticipated but ultimately disappointing Ghost in the Shell delivers a richlyrealised cyberpunk world and an on-point performance from Scarlett Johansson – an unflinching deadpan confirming she is at her best when playing non-human characters – which

nevertheless flounders in its ambition to have the cake and eat it too. Re-jigging the Japanese source material into a decidedly Western frame, Rupert Sanders' movie is an odd cocktail that seems to tick all the right boxes but never quite comes to life. For a cinematic experience actually told with both confidence and verve, you will have to turn to Free Fire, the latest amoral romp from husband-wife team Ben Wheatley (director) and Amy Jump (screenwriter), in which an ensemble cast gradually shoots itself to oblivion in a warehouse. The setup is a gun deal gone wrong, and the milieu is 1970s America (“somewhere around Boston”, according to Wheatley). Admirably scaled back in terms of scope – it's all filmed in one location – this is a throwback movie, executive produced by Martin Scorcese, which reminds us that you don't need inflated budgets and CGI wonderlands to tell a cracking good story that will have you both cackling and jumping in your seat at the same time. More of this, please.

Sponsored by:

This month we are giving out a copy of Night School by Lee Child. Who plays Jack Reacher in the movie adaptions of Lee Childs novels?

1. Tom Cruise 2. Arnold Schwarzenegger 3. Dwayne Johnson

Send your entries to

by no later than 15 May. Last month's winner is Victoria Camilleri.

May 2017 Issue 89



Available from John Bull Tel: 21571025, 99448738

started competing in local motorsport in 1964 with a Mini Cooper S. Joe also took part in numerous races in Sicily, including the famous Targa Florio, winning on seven occasions. Now retired, Joe helps Malta's young drivers to compete in Motorsport events in Sicily.

Nothing beats circuit racing, especially a good bunched up start. 58 Issue 89 May 2017


Motor Sports

CARS DO MIX Variety is the spice of life, they say, and in the last few weeks there has been plenty of that for both car and motorcycle enthusiasts. During the last weekend in March, the Historic Motorcycle Club of Malta, a club of which I am proud to have been one of the founders in 1989, organised another International Vintage Motorcycle Rally, which was as always well subscribed by local members as well as a good number of Sicilian and British vintage and classic motorcycle enthusiasts. The Historic Motorcycle Club has grown in stature and is recognised internationally these days, with regular invitations for its enthusiastic members coming from all over the globe. We have also been graced with the presence of some high profile personalities within the vintage motorcycle world such as the late Bert Greeves, manufacturer of the famous Greeves motorcycles of the 50s and 60s, VMCC president Carole Nash, Classic Motorcycle magazine editors Philip Tooth and James Robinson, and so many others. Indeed motorcycles belonging to local enthusiasts are featured regularly in the dedicated international press. The oldest motorcycle on the rally this year was joint HMC founder and present secretary Albert Pisani’s superb 1926 Raleigh, whilst other “old” motorcycles on the rally ranged from my 1928 Triumph NSD through numerous BSAs, Triumphs, Nortons, Ariels, Royal Enfields, Matchless, AJS, Gilera, Moto Guzzi, and even some of the first of the Japanese Hondas and Yamahas from the early 70s. The weather was excellent as was the riding, the abundance of food, and the company. Our thanks to the organising committee of the HMC for putting on another very enjoyable rally. With my total involvement in racing cars these days, I unfortunately find little time to “play” with my old motorcycles, so the annual HMC rally and the other three regular rallies I participate in, namely the Raduno degli Iblei, the Giro di Sicilia – known among friends as the Giro di Mimmo, and the Irish International Rally, all create the ideal opportunity for me to do some maintenance on, and ride my old motorcycles. This year’s HMC International was no different, for it gave me the opportunity to do a bit of work on three of my bikes. On the Sunday, I rode the aforementioned 1928 Triumph Model NDS, a 550cc side valve single and my first “old bike” which was a 1934 Triumph 350 OHV single Model 3 which I restored in the late 70s and still goes beautifully. On the Friday, I rode my 1948 HRD Series B Meteor 500, with Carolyn on the pillion seat. All behaved impeccably throughout the rally, as did most of the motorcycles

May 2017 Issue 89


Motor Sports

Club founder Albert Pisani rode his 1926 Raleigh on the International rally.

on the rally. It was great to see four riders from the VMCC Men of Kent section there too, this time riding under somewhat different weather conditions than those we are all used to on the annual Irish rally. And it didn’t take them too long to suss out the right pubs in Malta either. Hardly had the rally finished and our guests returned home that I was to change back to race car mode, for my second visit to the lovely little Autodromo MBR at Piano del Occhio, near Palermo. This 2.3 mile circuit was built some 10 years ago by enthusiastic architect Michele Ragusa who I remember racing Porsches in my earlier racing days in the 70s. The circuit is built in a plain within a huge mountain range west of the Sicilian capital of Palermo, and hosts regular race meetings for both cars and bikes. On this occasion it was hosting the first round of this year’s Campionato di Velocita. I was there this time last year, and fell in love with the circuit. I promised myself that I would return and I keep my promises, especially that type of promise. So on Friday morning, on the 7th of April, My brother David and I were welcomed by race director Enrico Callari at Piano del Occhio. 60 Issue 89 May 2017

Motor Sports

I rode three of my old bikes on the rally, choosing my 1928 Triumph NSD for Sunday's ride.

together with my brother David, I was on the Virtu ferry heading for Pozzallo, and then the long trip to Palermo. But not before stopping for lunch with like-minded friends in Catania on the way, and at my favourite little Hotel Villa Giulia at Pergusa for the night. At Piano del Occhio on Saturday morning we were welcomed by Michele and other staff members, and I was surprised to see the amount of work that had been done on improving the whole facility in my 12 months absence. Work on the hotel above the pits has started, and the circuit extension is all laid out and awaiting it final tarmac surface. It is already a great place, and will be greater when it’s finished. But as Saturday rolled on, the disappointing lack of competitors became more and more obvious. Where was everyone? Are the Sicilians that spoilt for choice? A few did turn up, but for the first round of a championship just eight formula cars, eight touring cars, and a dozen cars for the slalom must have been a terrible disappointment for the organisers who had gone to a lot of trouble preparing the circuit immaculately for this occasion. I discussed this with various people present, and two explanations were given. The first was the unfavourable economic situation in Sicily, which I can understand, and the second was the fact that there were other events being held on hills or circuits in Sicily on the same weekend. Whilst I can understand the first, there is absolutely no excuse for the second, and it’s about time organisers put their heads together, put their personal pique behind them, and sat at a table together to make a calendar of events that favours all. It is possible. It just needs a bit of goodwill. Unfortunately this reminded me of local events here in Malta. You go to a Drag meeting at Ħal Far where the organisers have gone

through days of preparation, and the entry is disappointing. And the same applies with the local hill climb scene. We all complain about not having anywhere to race, yet when the hard working committee of the ICC put on a championship hill climb they are lucky to get 40 entries. Why? I really do feel sorry for organisers these days. Gripe over. Back to Piano del Occhio, where there might have been just eight starters in the touring car race, but the racing was certainly not affected by the lack of quantity. After three sessions of free practice I was starting to get quite confident with my knowledge of the tricky circuit and looked forward to qualifying on Sunday morning. That’s until I realised one of my rear tyres was on the canvas. I had a couple of spares, but the fitting machine at the circuit wasn’t working, and you don’t find tyre shops open on Sunday morning. Qualifying produced a lap time of 1 minute 18.1, which, despite having far more speed from the engine this year, was inferior to my lap times 12 months earlier. The car was a “pig” round the corners with no rear end grip, and got worse as the day progressed. But what the hell, I wasn’t going to pack it in just for that. In fact I started both races from fifth spot on the grid and finished both in the same position, despite the fact that my lap times were deteriorating with every bit of rubber that was being worn off my rear tyres. It was hard work, but it was fun. The car had as much speed as any of the competition in a straight line. My problem was a lack of rear end grip throughout, which meant I had to fight it all the time – not the best way for a 70-year-old to go racing! What it does mean of course is that Piano del Occhio is still unfinished business, and that’s a perfect excuse to return at the first opportunity to sort it out.

May 2017 Issue 89



is the Superintendent of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Malta and is active in the field of public health. T: 23266000

Eating vegetables provides a multitude of health benefits. Evidence shows that people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.

62 Issue 89 May 2017



Vegetables are an essential part of a balanced nutritious diet as they provide a source of many nutrients, including potassium, fibre, folate (folic acid) and vitamins A, E and C. Each of these nutrients have specific health benefits. Potassium helps to maintain healthy blood pressure. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beetroot greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans. Dietary fibre from vegetables helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and hence lowers the risk of heart disease. Fibrecontaining foods, such as vegetables, help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Folate (folic acid) helps the body form healthy red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and




those in the first trimester of pregnancy need adequate folate to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and spina bifida during foetal development. All the green-yellow-orange vegetables are rich sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, betacarotene, vitamin B-complex, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. As in fruits, vegetables have a high content of antioxidants. These health-benefiting phyto-chemical compounds, which help, protect the human body from oxidant stress, diseases, and cancers and fight against these by boosting immunity. Additionally, vegetables have a high content of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre known as non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) such as cellulose, mucilage, hemi-cellulose, gums, pectin...etc. These substances absorb excess water in the colon, retain a good amount of moisture in the faecal matter, and help

its smooth passage out of the body. This provides protection from conditions like chronic constipation, haemorrhoids, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and rectal fissures. Apart from having a high nutritious value, vegetables that are lower in calories and fats than most other food and may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake. Vegetables prevent a number of chronic diseases. There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged eight or more servings a day were 30 percent less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke. People with high

May 2017 Issue 89



Blood saves lives More information may be obtained from: E: T: 220 66 209 | M: 79 307 307

Blood Donation Centre

i n G u a r d a m a n g i a o p e n s 7 d ay s a w e e k f r o m 0 8: 0 0 t i l l 18: 0 0 .

1st May

21st May

B'Kara– inside the building next to St Joseph the Worker parish church from 8:30am till 1:00pm.

Naxxar - mobile team – inside the annex behind Naxxar parish church from 8:30am till 1:00pm.

7th May

28th May

Fleur De Lys, B'Kara– inside St Monica School (entrance from Brighella Street) from 8:30am till 1:00pm.

Mellieħa - mobile team – inside Dar il-Madonna tal-Mellieħa (next to Old People’s Home) from 8:30am till 1:00pm.

14th May Marsa – inside Holy Trinity Band Club (close to Marsa parish church) from 8:30am till 1:00pm.

Gozo - General Hospital – Inside Outpatients Department from 8:00am till 1:00pm.

Gozo - General Hospital – Inside Outpatients Department from 8:00am till 1:00pm.

w w w.facebook .com/bloodmalta

blood pressure who follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) which is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and that restricted the amount of saturated and total fat, reduced their blood pressure. Numerous early studies revealed a strong link between eating fruits and vegetables and protection against cancer. A report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that non-starchy vegetables, such as lettuce and other leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, as well as garlic, onions “probably” protect against several types of cancers, including those of the mouth, throat, voice box, oesophagus, and stomach. Fruit probably also protects against lung cancer. However, more research is needed in this area. Consumption of green leafy vegetables and fruit is also associated with a lower risk of diabetes. This compelling evidence on the various effects on health and prevention of diseases is enough for vegetables to be recommended in all national food based dietary guidelines.

MAKE YOUR DIET GREENER SEASONAL VEG Buy fresh vegetables in season. They cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavour. Buy frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooking in the microwave. VARIETY Vary your vegetable choices to keep meals interesting and try crunchy vegetables, raw or lightly steamed. NATURAL SEASONING Sauces, dressings and seasonings can add calories, saturated fat, and sodium to vegetables. Use natural seasoning such as lemon or herbs. CHOOSE SOME VEGETARIAN MEALS Plan some meals around a vegetable main dish, such as a vegetable stir-fry or soup. ADD EXTRA VEGGIES TO MEAT BASED MEALS Add shredded carrots or zucchini into food dishes such as meatloaf, casseroles, lasagne, pasta sauce and muffins. VEGGIES ON THE BBQ Make barbeques interesting with grilled vegetables such as tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions. SWAP GALETTI FOR VEGGIES Use vegetables for dips such as raw broccoli, red and green peppers, celery sticks or cauliflower. LEAD BY EXAMPLE Set a good example for children by eating vegetables with meals and as snacks. Let children chop and prepare vegetables. For more information and a copy of the Healthy Eating Guide, contact the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate on 23266000.

64 Issue 89 May 2017

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