A new cafeteria in Paceville is responding to the Criminal Code and current fuss on the right to Life by providing a convient area for drug addicts. Proprietor Mort Da Te' enthusiastically described the joint as "the best place since the football court opposite Wembley Garage was cordoned off" and "even better than the Upper Barrakka Gardens". Patrons will be provided with accessories that are in line with the latest health and Safety regulations and will be able to indulge in all their addictions in a welcoming environment. A patron who preferred to remain unnamed stated that "this is an excellent opportunity for us to finally enjoy our sacrosant rights that have been denied us for so long by the whingeing few", he was later seen being placed in an ambulance that headed off to the emergency section.
Of course the above is fictitious. It would be scandalous no? Imagine... a Cafe' trying to get advertising mileage through something so sick? It could never happen. Of course not. Except that, it did. In Malta.
New Cafe' Welcomes Smokers
...was the title. Without entering into the issue of the smoking regulations. Without even debating the smokers vs non-smokers hullaballoo. Can someone please explain the positive side of this kind of advertising? Is the only saving grace of this establishment the fact that tobacco can be liberally inhaled while having a mediocre coffee? While we are on the point, in a conversation held recently where he was present, someone who is in the know of the running of establishments stated clearly that the electricity required to have a full smoking establishment under the regulations would make the venture absolutely prohibitive. Impossible even. It had to do with the machines reuired to change the air per person in the room. So... who's lying? Did I hear anyone say investigative journalism?
Meanwhile, please do go to Rhapsody Cafe' in Paceville. Smoke a fag two.... I am sure the coffee tastes better with it. However I cannot be too sure... I do not know how good the coffee can be... since the salient feature of the promotion seems to have been the smoking. Do they give you special fags or do you bring your own? I'm afraid I will not savour the fun of the place when I am back in Malta... I quit smoking... and in case you are wondering the smoke laws still do not apply in Luxembourg so it had nothing to do with prohibition in establishments.
Another thing that gets at me in the relationship between the catering establishment and the media is their methods of promotion. Some things I like. Like for example reviews by persons notorious for their gastronomic panderings (like Bocca for example... honestly). On the other hand I find this business of 'inaugurating' a catering joint by some eminent personality like the PM as sad as a smoke-enabled cafeteria. The news about the opening of the Rhapsody comes to us through an article in the Times. Not an advert. not a full-page article with a teeny asterixed footnotes saying "this is a paid up advert". No... an article. Like Lorna's biex niftiehmu. Why? Because George Cassar, while opening a cafeteria (a small area) in a Hotel (the Vivaldi) which has been open for ages, deemed it fit to call in all and sundry to witness the historic event (and smoke a fag or too of course).
Now I do know that newspapers will depend on advertising. So they will ensure that some unlucky journalist draws the short straw and is sent over chop-chop to report the event and avoid risking some embargo of advertising. Sad innit?
The same sad story applies to this place which seems to have become one of Bocca's favourites.... Del Borgo. Here you can read about the grand opening of Del Borgo by none other than PM Gonzi himself. Now I have heard plenty of persons raving about the good qualities of the place (and not only Bocca), so it seemed to be doing quite well advertising wise simply by word of mouth. So why do we have to have the PM in persona doing the honours? It might be prestigious for the establishment in question but I do not want MY Prime Minister to stoop down to the level of inaugurating bars and restaurants. That is not a Prime Ministerial job! get the mayor to do it like in the movies. It is fitting too since the Mayor is meant to be pleased with the new establishments opening in his locality. Not the bloody Prime Minister.
I can just imagine the conversation that night...
PM: "I'll have another glass of the red Gaja Alan"
Alan Mercieca: "Yes Prime Minister...."