The pr**k parade

Published: January 29, 2011 at 8:25pm

Labour's new logo, designed by independent journalist Godfrey Grima's advertising company. My, my, was he paid by the Labour Party? Shocking.

My, my, what a line-up of pr**ks and losers on Bundy’s godawful makeshift stage last night.

A bunch of unhappy men with a midlife crisis, too cheap and ugly for a Harley Davidson, and one old man with liverspots across his head, all of them kvetching and obsessing about the woman who turned down their invitation to the party.

You know what they reminded me of?

Back when I was 14 and my friend and I used to walk past the nerdy boys lined up on benches at the ‘freaks’ end of Ghar id-Dud, just for the fun of hearing them mutter about who did we think we are, what’s so special about us, they wouldn’t want to go out with us really, blah, blah, blah, when we knew that they would have jumped at the chance of a date but we’d rather have jumped into the January sea off the chalet than be seen dead with any of them.

And Godfrey and the priest looked like those two old grouches in the balcony on the Muppet Show, except that the old grouches didn’t have liverspots, perhaps because they didn’t spend a lifetime knocking back the whisky.

Now let’s see whether Godfrey follows his own advice to John Bundy to grow a thick skin because he’s a public figure. Oh, I forgot, he doesn’t read this blog and doesn’t care what’s said in it.

That’s great, then, because it means I can tell him that he’s cutting an increasingly ridiculous and pathetic figure with his claims of being an independent journalist when I can’t for the life of me remember the last time he had something published.

He’s not an independent journalist; he’s an advertising man. Being an occasional stringer for The Financial Times does not make for an independent journalist, because it sure as hell doesn’t put food on the table.

Has the Labour Party shaved Saviour Balzan, too? Now I know why he’s always worn facial hair. It’s because he’s got a face like a wizened pig’s anus without it – if a wizened pig’s anus were able to wear spectacles, that is.

And now that he’s had the baby he protested so vehemently he wasn’t going to have – maybe I heard the news before he did back then, who knows – what in God’s name was he doing spending half the night gassing with a bunch of has-beens, never-weres and never-will-bes on Super One instead of back at home where he belongs, rocking a cradle and changing nappies so that his wife can get some rest?

I suppose the set habits of a lifetime of selfishness are going to be hard to break. I can’t say the baby has done much to cheer up his view of life and the world. It’s just given him even more to grouch about.

A couple of weeks ago he wrote a column revealing his astonishing discovery that raising a family costs money and comes with a variety of hassles, so now he can understand what ordinary families go through.

The man is older than I am, for crying out loud, and my ‘babies’ are living and working in a metropolis, older now than I was when I had them, while he’s given new meaning to the words ‘late starter’.

While people his age are grandparents already, Saviour Balzan has taken to writing columns telling us things that we knew already 25 years ago. Tal-biki. Yes, Saviour, babies cost money. And they cry, too. Oh, and did you know they wear nappies?

If he thinks having a baby at 50 is tough, just imagine if somebody were to tell him what it’s going to be like when he’s pushing 70 and still up at 5am waiting for the nightmare phone call.

And if thinks the expenses are crucifying him now, please somebody tell him that they’re only going to get worse so he’d better make sure that Malta Today doesn’t continue to haemorrhage money for the next two decades because he’s still going to be sweating away writing nasty stuff about any PN leader who isn’t John Dalli to pay that kid’s bills when he’s as old and liver-spotted as Godfrey Grima.

One day I will understand why people like that still find me so morbidly fascinating after 20 years in this business. Two decades down the line, and they’re still obsessed with me. What is it, some kind of sickness? Is it a form of stalking, or what? You’d think they’d have found somebody fresh and new to fixate about, but no. It has to be Daphne. Nobody else will do.

As for Super One, can’t it do anything right? Doesn’t it realise that its slipshod amateurism is an A1 branding error that tells us the Labour Party is as hopeless as its television station?

Bundy’s panel is up on a high stage, sitting in cheap and hideous thrones while he sits on a siggu tal-kcina with his mug tat-te, which, incidentally, he holds and drinks from like a peasant. It was my first experience ever of watching a host drink in front of his guests, in whatever circumstances, while offering them nothing. But I’m guessing the ill-bred assortment of chavs and pushy people at Super One think this is super-cool.

Meanwhile, the audience sits down below, worshipping the intellectual superiority of the PENNIL on the stage. Cameramen are seen walking around, wires trailing, and Bundy the host spends most of his time with his back to his live audience and the camera – a major no-no, but clearly he has no direction as well as no manners and a very average IQ. The last time I spent so long looking at the back of a suit, I was at a funeral mass.

As host, he is meant to go there well-prepared about the subject and with plenty of leading questions, ready to direct the debate and knock it into shape when things flounder or one of his guests tries to take over. But he can’t do that because, judging from last night’s miserable performance, he’s no Stephen Hawking.

The debate was meant to be about blogs, or more precisely, this blog – but SSSSHHHHHHHHHH! DON’T MENTION HER NAME BECAUSE IT MIGHT GO TO HER HEAD; YOU KNOW HOW SHE’S ONLY JUST COME ON THE SCENE AND NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT HER YET – but they dragged in social networking sites, chatting, adultery on chatting sites, Facebook friends, Twitter, and of course, they did the inevitable and called those who post comments on comments-boards ‘bloggers’.

Worst of all, they failed to make the crucial distinction between those Maltese people with an agenda who set up sites registered outside Malta to post dirt and lies anonymously about ‘public enemies’, and Daphne Whose Name We Shall Not Speak, who is NEVER anonymous.

Maybe that’s why they’re so keen to think I’m crazy (liver-spotted Godfrey there) or frustrated (that twerp Andy Ellul) – because their take on freedom of speech and democracy is so twisted, and they themselves are so small and cowardly, that they think only somebody nuts would do what I do.

Or somebody paid. Or somebody with an agenda.

Well, what do you expect of a bunch of Laburisti, honestly. And what is Godfrey – naive or just plain dumb? He said that when he starred in a negative light on the front page of Il-Mument, there were Nationalist Party supporters and even ministers who called him to say that they did not agree with what was said and that they feel differently about him.

Really? Was he born yesterday, or what? People only do that sort of thing when they want to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds and don’t want the hare to know about the hounds or the hounds to know about the hare. He should have said to them what I would have said to them:

If you feel so strongly about it, then write to the newspaper and put your name to your opinion in public. Don’t ring me because I don’t give a damn what you think unless you’re prepared to say it out loud.”

As for Bundy, he’s fit for little more than the role of ringmaster in a circus big top. The man is unbelievably thick. He says that I should be censured for announcing ‘in real time’ that he’s out to lunch with a sordid magistrate and the frog-mouthed architect she’s got by the short and curlies (one assumes that he has short and curlies still and that she hasn’t given him a Brazilian in one of her parlour games). This is because somebody might read this blog, ring a friend and then go and break into his house, running off with his gold earrings.

He must have been talking to my friend Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, because the last time I heard that damn-fool argument it was from him, when he messaged me at 2am to protest that I shouldn’t have reported on this blog that he was out at a restaurant in St Paul’s Bay with the same sordid magistrate and frog-mouthed architect because somebody might have broken into his house.

I sent him to hell. He should have been more worried about being seen out with somebody like that, more so when he’s a defendant in her court. She, obviiously, is utterly shameless and thinks nothing of going out to restaurants at night with plaintiffs and defendants over whose cases she sits in judgement.

I think that what Bundy and Pullicino Orlando were really bothered about is not that I reported they were out in a restaurant but that I reported they were out in a restaurant with Consuelo Herrera. If I had said that they were with, say, Kate Moss, they would have been thrilled for everyone to know.

It doesn’t occur to Bundy for one moment that he’s on television every morning while his wife is at work, and that if somebody wanted to break into his house and steal his riches they would do so then instead of waiting for a chance report on my blog.

As for Saviour Balzan, I’m sorry to have to disappoint him but this blog is now even more popular and not less so. Even when I didn’t post a single thing for five whole weeks over the festive season, it stayed high in the rankings, much higher than the news sites of both political parties.

Like the poor envious sod he is, he couldn’t hide his glee because Malta Today’s website ranks much higher than mine. And so it should, Saviour, because it’s a news source and not one woman’s daily opinion. And so it should, too, because you have spent a fortune of what is probably other people’s money on it (no aspersions here; I mean the bank’s) and have had it staffed by a small army of shaggy men, Lord of the Rings fans and Che wannabes, with payroll costs that probably make your bank manager sweat.

This blog, on the other hand, was set up in a couple of hours on a laptop on a sofa while watching television and is run by one woman in her spare time, because she finds it far more amusing than playing golf or bridge or tennis or shagging other women’s husbands or whatever it is that people like Saviour consider to be acceptable leisure time pursuits for women of my age. And it costs nothing, zilch.

I got bored of the whole show and switched to E!, where at least the people are nice to look at, and so missed Godfrey’s parting salvo. My mother has just rung to tell me about it. “He said that a million people have told him that you’re paid by the Nationalist Party to write that blog. Now make sure that you don’t answer him.” Sorry, mummy, but I’m going to.

Godfrey, you’re a sad prat. You’ve never been able to get over the fact that the 19-year-old girl you considered to have been your ‘discovery’ grew up to eclipse you. Instead of being proud that you gave me my first writing job, you’re riven by jealousy and spite because you’ve now been reduced to appearing as an ‘independent journalist’ on your brother Joe’s show on Super One, after years of not speaking to him because Alfred Sant kicked him out of the Labour Party and you thought Alfred Sant was a great statesman and a wonderful man (and still do, despite the evidence to the contrary).

The Nationalist Party doesn’t pay me to write this blog. Nobody does. I don’t need payment because it doesn’t cost money. The only people who pay me for my writing are those at the newspaper I work for, and they’re not politicians. They pay me because I keep their readers entertained.

Godfrey Grima doesn’t read my blog and he doesn’t read my newspaper column either, because I’m not an ‘expert’ and he learns nothing from me. Bit out of date, aren’t you, Godfrey, if your idea of a newspaper columnist is a bearded and bespectacled bore who couldn’t amuse his employer’s readers even if it stood between him and the lions.

If Godfrey were to open one of the London broadsheets he claims to work for, he would see that there is a dearth of Mario Vella and Edward Scicluna types and a vast array of non-esperti who can write well about almost anything, and who know that they are paid to entertain and not to inform,because the people in the newsroom are paid for the latter purpose.

Next time, Bundy, invite some attractive people along. Nothing ruins a show quite like a bunch of unprepossessing, ill-spoken men in dull suits. When your set is that cheap and ugly because Joseph Muscat is spending all the Labour Party’s money on a Juliette balcony at party HQ, you need all the help you can get.

Oh, and it would help if you did a bit of background research and preparation so that you might properly engage with your guests and at least pretend to have some degree of intelligence and wit.

Labour – not fit for purpose.

47 Comments Comment

  1. mark v says:

    And you didn’t mention the pastoral value of the arguments made by the priest. Empty vessels make most sound.

  2. P Shaw says:

    Who was the priest? I didn’t watch the show, in particular because of the charlatan host. It’s amazing to see just how the MLP is obsessed with this blog, and the frustration is quite transparent since they cannot shut you down.

    • K Farrugia says:

      The priest was Fr Joe Abela. He used to (don’t know if he still does) talk about new film releases on TV shows. He was also chairman of the Curia-appointed board which classifies (not censors) upcoming films, before being removed from his post after his testimony in court regarding the play Stitching.

      While he obviously has his dogmas, I dare say he’s far more open minded than most priests and some laymen.

      With regards to Godfrey Grima, as far as I know he has mostly worked for The Malta Independent during the years in which he worked in Malta. Did he leave the newspaper before you got your regular columns? That must be years ago since you’ve been writing for a long time. Also, is he related to current editor in chief Noel Grima?

      [Daphne – The only time Godfrey Grima wrote for The Malta Independent was 18 years ago when I was associate editor and responsible for commissioning opinion pieces. I had commissioned some from him. No, he is not related to Noel Grima. In fact, he had sued both Noel Grima and myself (Noel was my editor at the time) because of an article I had written, in which I expressed the opinion that he should not have done the same job for the Nationalist Party that he had done for the Labour Party (a report into why an election was lost), and that the Nationalist Party should not have commissioned him to do that job after he had already done it for Labour. The people who are privy to Pepsi’s trade secrets are not given access to Coke’s at Coke’s own request. So much for his thick skin. And he sued, too, because I wrote that he voted for Alfred Sant in 1996 and probably did so again in 1998, 2003 and 2008. And he sued because I said that he supports Joseph Muscat. No, he only helped get his MEP campaign into gear and then didn’t vote for him, that’s right. So what did he mean, exactly – that it’s libellous to suggest he supports the Labour Party, because he’s an independent journalist? After Labour lost the election in 2008, I was at lunch at The Carriage and the only other table in the restaurant was taken up by Godfrey and Jason Micallef, hatching away head to head. And now his company’s hatched an ARMA for them. Oh. I forgot, they won an ARMA competition.

      • K Farrugia says:

        Thanks for the information. No wonder yesterday he was so confident in speaking about libel suits. What’s the state of his libel suits? I couldn’t find any cases online with him being the plaintiff and you the defendant.

        [Daphne – That’s because it’s long since been decided. Silvio Meli, who is incapable of understanding that opinions based on fact, about a public person, cannot be held to be libellous, heard the case and decided in Grima’s favour after more or less letting me know at the outset that this is what he would do. I wanted to appeal but my newspaper thought otherwise and so we let it go. Grima was so unbelievably pompous in court that he had to be seen to be believed – going on about his reputation as an independent journalist when he lives off the proceeds of advertising and marketing. I forgot something: he sued because I said that he is not qualified to research and write reports on why political parties lost elections. And indeed, that is the case. That sort of a research is a specialist area, and Grima knows nothing about it, no more than I do.]

      • Leon Scerri says:

        Daphne, the Chief Justice must have a difficult time keeping from freaking out at the antics of certain members of the magistracy, no matter their experience or seniority. One would do well to note the behaviour and decisions when these strike one as outlandish.

        In such circumstance there is always a mindboggling subscript. Perhaps Wikileaks ought to be informed of certain Court Decisions which trample the citizen’s human rights.

  3. ciccio2011 says:

    Prosit, Daphne, I agree with most of what you said about yesterday’s programme.

    It was the first (and I think the last) time I actually watched Affari Taghna from beginning to end. But the best bit was watching John Bundy’s face and body language, especially in the second half of the programme.

    He was so upset that no one on his PENNIL would make any statement against free speech and in favour of censoring blogs, especially that blog which publishes his whereabouts when he lunches with a well-known magistrate who he appears to consider not a public figure.

    I am not convinced, though, that all members of the PENNIL truly believed their own statements in this respect.

    You have described yesterday’s farce so well: is-siggu tal-kcina (or is siggu tal-knisja?), the stage high up there, the coffee mug (does John Bundy think he is Jay Leno?), and Saviour’s face …

  4. Pat says:

    Saviour Balzan deserved much, much more derision. You were very lenient this time. I am somewhat disappointed, after having had to put up with all his “vomiting” last night.

    What a fine hypocrite he is. Why doesn’t he practise what he preaches? As for Godfrey, he got what he deserved. And the other guests? In a way I felt sorry for them because they looked like ornaments on Saviour’s and Godfrey’s Christmas tree.

  5. Joe Micallef says:

    I think Bundy’s set designer thought he would copy the thrones from RAI 3’s Ballaro. Too bad he didn’t get the proportions or materials right. Isn’t PL supposed to have a creativity forum?

  6. TROY says:

    Karl Stagno Navarra tried to cut in with some ‘words of wisdom’, but to no avail. His boss Saviour hogged the stage.

  7. Josephine says:

    Daphne, you had me in stitches.

  8. Shumi says:

    L veru blog Ta tqallih Ta stonku triduha tal puliti ukoll . Xieraq tiqarbnu ukoll b din l mibedakollha li andkom u hdura. Nisthi nghid li jien malti b nies bhallkom taqaw daqsekk fil baxx , u fuq xiex mbaghad heh politika

    • Grezz says:

      Shumi, imissek tisthi tghid li int Malti u llanqas biss taf tesprimi ruhek bil-lingwa li mid-dehra tant ghandhek biha.

    • Not Tonight says:

      …whereas you and your party are full of love and compassion. U hallina u mur orqod (hemm ha, ghidtilek bil-pulit).

      In your three very short sentences I can detect a (possibly inherited) anti-clerical sentiment, a dollop of class hatred and an underlying political intolerance. So do your stomach a favour, and go and read Maltastar, or is it MlataSrat? Don’t expect adulation of your Dear Leader here.

    • Joe Micallef says:

      Jekk titqarben ghandi nissopni illi l’istorja tal-Madalena tafa sew!

    • Lomax says:

      Daph, I know I should mind my own business but why do you allow such comments on this website? I read this website because it is usually bereft of such inanities and bad syntax.

      Please, I beg of you, banish these people once and for all from this site. It’s already enough we have to meet them every day as we go about our business. At least, let us have some respite from these people in this “virtual” world.

  9. Rover says:

    Can’t Labour possibly design a set that looks slightly better than a carnival float? The atrocious Posh and Becks thrones and the Pink Panther intro take the biscuit. Never mind the muppets sitting in the frigging chairs.

    Nobody who splutters and gesticulates like Saviour Balzan should go anywhere near a TV station. He should have stayed at home, knee-deep in baby crap, rather than hijacking the whole show because that useless Bundy allowed him more time than the other muppets put together.

    Bundy is a truly hopeless case. Unprepared, inarticulate, ill-mannered and third-rate, he is nothing more than a babbler between records on a radio show.

    Andy Ellul, for crying out loud, what was he on about? Godfrey Kissinger Grima reads blogs on international news. And why was the psychiatrist placed a safe distance away from the PENNIL? I would have thought he picked up a few bookings that night.

    Fancy half a dozen pricks discussing Daphne’s blog and not wanting to admit to it.

  10. Mark says:

    Why all this hatred comments against everyone?

    • Antoine Vella says:

      Mark, I didn’t watch the programme but, from what I’m reading, “this hatred comments” (sic) were not against everyone but against Daphne.

  11. Angus Black says:

    As usual Daphne, you are spot on, except that it was a rather long article which I doubt whether Savior Balzan or John Bundy could suffer through. Truth hurts!

    Your concluding phrase needs a minor addition:

    “Labour – not fit for ANY purpose”.

  12. Bob says:

    Was Karl Stagno Navarra there, Daphne… do you have an opinon on him too?

    [Daphne – Yes. I am always suspicious of men who decide to change their lives and begin by changing their wives and their political opinions. It makes you wonder why they took so long to ‘find themselves’, or why they choose this particular way of going about it.]

    • Hot Mama says:

      Karl Stagno Navarra also took long to speak Maltese, jahasra. But needs must so when he wanted to work on Net he discovered the gift of tongues.

    • P Shaw says:

      It is a pity that the PN media, out of civic duty, remains silent on why Bundy and Stagno Navarra were fired. They should feel lucky that they were not sued (at least the latter), rather than hold a grudge for being fired.

    • Lorna saliba says:

      But what seriously amuses me is Karl Stagno Navarro’s pathetic Italo-Maltese accent, reminiscent of the way Guido Demarco used to express himself. He uses this as a means of identifying himself exclusivley from the rest of us.

      Ironically this is the man who stood whole-heartedly for the PN during Eddie Fenech Adami’s leadership, but has now converted to full-scale attacks on the party.

      What a prat.

  13. Paul says:

    Did anyone notice that not even one opinion was taken from the audience during the entire programme? Why have an audience in the theatre in the first place? Were they there just to fill in?

    Usually one or two opinions are taken (from people who can barely, just barely, string a whole sentence together, but not on the topic of blokkkks, of course. I just wonder what the people there thought these blokkkks were, and whether they were any the wiser by the end of the programme. Xi haga fuq l-int-er-net nahseb ta, Guz! Hilarious.

  14. La Redoute says:

    It’s sad for them that they feel threatened by one blog and not by their own narrow-minded ignorance. They can get away from the blog (they don’t read it, do they?) but they can’t get away from themselves.

  15. Joseph A Borg says:

    “If you feel so strongly about it, then write to the newspaper and put your name to your opinion in public. Don’t ring me because I don’t give a damn what you think unless you’re prepared to say it out loud.”


  16. Hot Mama says:

    The title is misleading Daph. Because for one to be called a pr**k, one needs to have… ahem…accoutrements…These ‘gentlemen’ here don’t seem to have any.

  17. Antoine Vella says:

    This blog is a sharp thorn in Labour’s side and all their efforts to remove it only drive it deeper.

  18. Anthony Farrugia says:

    Godfrey Grima has always trumpeted to the four winds that he is/was The Financial Times correspondent in Malta. Although I have my doubts whether The Financial Times would have a resident correspondent in Malta, can anyone out there confirm this? Or should “correspondent” read “stringer” which is way down in journalistic pecking order.

    [Daphne – He was their stringer. Stringers are paid per piece, which means it can’t be done on a professional (full-time) basis. Correspondents are paid a full-time salary, plus expenses, by their newspaper, and they are almost always people sent out by the newspaper and not picked from among local residents. No news organisation would ever have a correspondent in Malta. It doesn’t warrant it. Malta is covered by the Rome correspondent.]

  19. Insolja says:

    I was amused at what Andy Pandy was wearing. Pity Judy was not invited as well.

    Facial expressions said it all when Bundy told him that one can also commit adultary through the internet.

    • Fairy Liquid says:

      I thought he looked rather lost without Vince Micallef welded to his hip. Mela l-vera pezza wahda dawn: Vince Micallef’s wife caught him in bed with her best friend Marianne Valentino, the woman he’s seen with in pictures uploaded on this blog. Then Marianne Valentino’s husband went off with Vince Micallef’s wife, so I suppose you could call it a straight swap. Mhux ta’ b’xejn jiddendlu mal-Cons, jew hi maghhom.

  20. Roderick says:

    John Bundy – Malta’s Mickey Mouse.

  21. Alfred says:

    Why no reference to Fr Joe’s theological reasoning? Twice he argued (not verbatim)…”u ha nghiduha kif inhi! Ixxebaghni llum! Ixxebaghni ghada, fl-ahhar issib minn jaghtik daqtejn sewwa u jhallik hemm ghax hekk jkun jixraqlek!!” How’s that for a contribution from a member of the clergy?

    • Suldat ta’ l-azzar Guzeppin says:

      Eh mela dak ir-ragel l-ohxon qassis? Qas gharaftu, hsibtu tal-Muzew. Mhux sew qal jew?

      • Anthony Farrugia says:

        If the reverend gentleman said that, shame on him and the tin soldier who approved of his alleged comment.

  22. ASP says:

    “I didn’t post a single thing for five whole weeks ” –

    the worst five weeks of my life!

  23. Lomax says:

    ‘I didn’t post a single thing for five whole weeks’ – for a while I thought I was seeing a cached version of the website. I think people were still logging on during those five weeks hoping to see something new. Thank God, those five weeks are over!

  24. Lomax says:

    Great post! I was on my way back to Malta at that time so I’m wondering who the members of the panel were. Still, I never liked Bundy on TV and now I like him even less.

    Once he asked a member of the panel (I think it was Minister Joe Cassar, but I stand to be corrected): “so, why are medicines (he was referring to particular medicines such as last-generation cancer drugs and diabetes insulin injections) so expensive? Is it because there is abuse?”

    I howled with laughter and, of course, then changed to another channel. I mean, does it take a Ph.D in pharmacy to understand that these drugs cost billions of euros/dollars to research and produce? Thankfully, his interlocutor (I think it was Hon. Joe Cassar) explained this without howling with laughter.

  25. Fairy Liquid says:

    This must be the article you mean – Saviour grumbling about what it costs to raise a family.

  26. Goldie says:

    Kemm ihobb juri li hu komdu dan Saviour Balzan jider li qatt ma kellu xejn.

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