We all know that nostalgia is a masturbatory delight that most people enjoy delving into on occasion. Sometimes we’re dealt a lucky hand and something we remember fondly comes back into fashion. Other times we look back and are thankful those chapters of our lives are left to the history books.
But what about those fossils that still haunt us to this day? Why is it that so many people insist on keeping these abominations alive? Here are a few relics we’d rather not be stuck with:
Most of us are not contract killers. That means that large gym bags filled with banknotes are not our preferred mode of currency transaction. Back in the decade that saw the Berlin Wall fall, many gave and received money by writing down the amount on bank-sanctioned pieces of paper and signing with a flourish.
Nowadays, with the advent of reliable and quick telephony, all most of us need for our daily monetary bartering is a small plastic card with a gaudy design and lots of numbers on it. Yet, in an era when the device we use to take naked selfies on Snapchat has more computing power than the computers which put a man on the moon, many Maltese people still go around with a neatly folded chequebook in their pockets, happily ball-pointing the amount and recipient on the stubby end that will live forever in a box labelled “-Check-…cheques.” Embrace plastic. It’s the present.
2. Three-quarter “shorts”
Shorts – the word says it all. They exist to cover your nether regions, buttocks and upper thighs. But, for a while, men wore these bastards all the way down to mid-shin. When the world recognised its heinous error and moved on, Malta stuck out its chin defiantly.
Middle-aged men still prowl the streets of Malta wearing these offensive knee shrouds. Sometimes in denim. Sometimes with elasticated cords at the bottom. Stop the madness. Expose those calves.
3. Hiking sandals
Man toes are ugly, but Malta is hot – which is why our hairy foot-fingers make an appearance every summer. Back when Mary Spiteri was Malta’s pop princess, there was the abhorrent trend of wearing hiking sandals as casual wear.
They’d be worn with shorts, with linen trousers and sometimes even with jeans (the horror). Thankfully these soulless shoes were discarded by modern civilisations worldwide. Or were they? Unfortunately we still see so many doing the rounds on Maltese promenades. Hey, at least we’re not German tourists, who have found the only way to make them uglier – by wearing them with white socks.
4. Aluminium and gypsum soffits
Aluminium. The most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust… and a bane to home aesthetics. There was a time when strips of aluminium holding up patterned gypsum boards were the ‘in’ thing you’d use to cover your unsightly wires and ducting with.
This time was the same decade that saw the end of the Cold War. Thankfully, more modern taste begs us to get rid of this metallic abomination and to mask our AC units with an unbroken savanna of white gypsum (u forsi naqra rope lighting). Yet some homes listen to modern taste and ask it quietly, but firmly, to copulate with itself. Pull it down. It’s time for change.
5. Sleeveless tops
I’m not talking about those stylish singlets that every modern kid thinks makes them look like Macklemore. I’m talking about normal sporty t-shirts that you’d buy from Jagger. Without sleeves. OK, so the 90s were a difficult time for fashion, and we should cut ourselves some slack and forget about these minor sins.
But the same folk who bared their pimply shoulders back when East 17 were imploring us to hold their body tight are still squeezing into these same torso-swaddlers to this present day. A Nike swoosh across the chest does not a designer top make, so please, for the love of all that is holy, use those shirts wisely – to polish your car with.
6. Denim on denim
In the 1990s, nothing screamed cool affluence more than an outfit consisting of Levi’s 501s, a Levi’s denim shirt and an overlying jacket, woven from the finest, you guessed it, denim. Variations in tone were accepted but mildly frowned upon, with a uniform canvas of blue being the preferred option.
Thankfully, the world has realised that the decade which took away Princess Di from us wasn’t right about everything, and this sartorial travesty has gone the way of the dinosaurs. Unless you’re a Maltese middle-aged woman. Yes, we know that’s those 501s cost you Lm50, but madam. Go back home. You’re denim-drunk.
7. Crappy cars
We’re a nation enamoured with our vehicles, with droves of the exhaust-mills chugging around our islands. So you’d think there would be a certain discerning taste to our choice of automobile. Well, you’d think wrong. Two words – Hyundai. Accent.
They roam the roads in herds; a stark reminder of a decade during which the leader of the free world asked an intern to hold his cigar in an unorthodox fashion. The worst offenders have the word “accent” emblazoned on the side. Thanks. I hadn’t noticed.
8. Celine Dion
The French-Canadian songstress still possesses a set of pipes that are the envy of many an aspiring melisma addict. However, it cannot be denied that her heyday was sometime during the decade that saw the World Wide Web being spawned.
How then can we explain the number of automobiles rushing by with Ms. Dion’s nasal tones exclaiming that sometimes she’s frightened but she’s ready to learn? Why do so many windscreens ask us to “Baby Think Twice”? Malta, it’s time to move on to Adele.