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27. Jul, 2022

 

You may have read my 2019 post HERE on this blog about the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Her car bomb assination came on 16 October 2017 whilst I was half way through writing my third novel, An Invisible Nemesis which many of you will know is predominately set on Gozo, one of the Maltese islands. A strange and eerie co-incidence, as it was paralell to the plot I had already set in the novel. 

 

The 2021 article below which I am now ready to share, is reproduced courtesy of The Guardian newspaper...

"Every person involved in the 2017 murder of the anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been apprehended, Malta’s national police chief has declared.

Commissioner Angelo Gafa was speaking before a court hearing on Wednesday evening at which two new suspects were arraigned. 

So far, seven men have either admitted to or been charged with complicity to kill Caruana Galizia. They include the property and energy tycoon Yorgen Fenech, who is pleading not guilty to masterminding the murder, and a taxi driver who has already confessed to being the middleman in the alleged contract killing of one of Malta’s most prominent journalists.

“With the evidence we have, we are in a position to say that every person involved, be it mastermind or accomplice, is under arrest or facing charges,” Gafa announced at a press briefing.

The comments may cause some controversy, as Fenech has given evidence to police that accuses senior political figures of having prior knowledge of the plot.

At 11pm in the courts of justice of Malta’s capital, Valletta, Robert Agius and his associate Jamie Vella pleaded not guilty to complicity in the killing of Caruana Galizia. Vella, who has tested positive for Covid-19, appeared in a hazmat suit in the heavily guarded courtroom. Vella and Robert’s brother Adrian Agius were also charged with involvement in a second murder, the 2015 shooting of a lawyer called Carmel Chircop. They pleaded not guilty.

George Degiorgio, who is already facing trial as one of the hitmen suspected of executing the murder of Caruana Galizia, was also charged with and denied carrying out Chircop’s murder.

Raids on homes and vehicles belonging to the Agius brothers and Vella, who were arrested on Tuesday, uncovered cash worth €70,000, firearms, 350g of heroin and two sachets of cocaine. At one of the residences, police found 10 cars, which are expected to be confiscated.

Europol, which has been assisting since the beginning of the murder investigation, has been tasked with extracting data from 25 mobile phones and two laptops seized during the swoop.

Fenech was arrested in 2019 as he was attempting to leave Malta onboard his yacht. He is in custody awaiting a decision on whether he will face trial. A taxi driver has secured a presidential pardon in exchange for his evidence against Fenech. A former friend of the tycoon, Melvin Theuma is now living in a safe house, under police protection.

The latest developments came after a key witness secured a plea deal, which was approved by Malta’s prime minister and his cabinet on Monday. Three years after first coming forward with crucial evidence about the case, Vincent Muscat secured a measure of clemency in exchange

After pleading guilty to his involvement in Caruana Galizia’s murder, he was immediately sentenced to 15 years, although his prison time could be commuted to allow his release in 2027. Muscat was also given a presidential pardon for admitting his involvement in the murder of Chircop, in exchange for evidence against his alleged accomplices.

Caruana Galizia, a columnist and investigator whose blog on political corruption in Malta earned her a reputation as a “one woman WikiLeaks”, was almost as well known in her home country as those she exposed in her scoops. Her violent murder, which took place near her home in the village of Bidnija, has embroiled Malta’s ruling Labour party in political scandal.

The country’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat (no relation to Vincent Muscat), was forced to resign in 2019 after allegations that members of his administration had tried to sabotage the police investigation."

 

24. Jul, 2022

“Inside, you will find a crafting of a jigsaw of important historical information about the Surrey village of Knaphill that the author has sympathetically brought all into one place. I hope that this book will give its readers much enjoyment and be a lasting reminder that Knaphill is a great village blessed with a unique unerring spirit, full of people who really do care for its future.” ~ Cllr Melanie Whitehand in her Foreword

Note: Knaphill (All in One Place) was originally published in 2012, the book was taken out of print last year but due to rekindled interest, a new limited edition was produced. This has now Sold Out and there will be NO further print run. A new edition is being considered! 

 

12. Jan, 2022
Well, my writing journey all started off with poetry, the first poem, being published in an anthology when I was just 17-years-old. In the 1970s & 80s I had three small chapbooks published, ‘Calculated Suicides,’ ‘Last of the Rampant Heroes,’ and ‘Maelstrom’. A couple of collections of my work (now out of print) followed in the early 2000s, ‘Reinvented’, and ‘Travelling with Strangers.’
 
My work also appeared in several small press magazines, including, Iota, Spokes, and Weyfarers. Some poems were also published in the Surrey Advertiser, culminating in three Young Poet Awards in the 1980s. Other poems were later published in The Big Issue.
 
In 1998, my poem, ‘Death of a Football Club,’ appeared in the ‘Verses United’ anthology, edited by Ian Horn which also included poems by the renowned poets, Tony Harrison, Wes Magee, Tom Pickard, Attila the Stockbroker, and the great Liverpool poet, Adrian Henri. The book included an introduction by Melvyn Bragg and a foreword by the late England football manager, Bobby Robson. 
 
My standout poem must be ‘The Wedding,’ written after my first marriage came off the rails in 1979. I wrote this a year or two later. The poem has since been published in the ‘Poetry Unlocked’ anthology as part of a secondary school exam curriculum, recorded by a “rock” band and has been viewed literally hundreds of thousands of times across various internet websites and other outlets… and yes, I am rather proud.
 
Other poems, such as ‘Platform 8, Victoria’, ‘Preconception’, ‘The Anniversary,’ and ‘Internal Traveller’ have also achieved incredible success. However, writing poetry DOES NOT make any money!
 
I am planning to write more stuff in the future, perhaps publishing a definitive collection with some new poems.
 
Considering I’ve never really read any books of magnitude from cover to cover myself, the novel-writing has come as a bit of a surprise. When I write, I feel like a man possessed, and I wouldn’t change that for anything! But yes, it all started with writing poems...
 
If you are a bit of a poetry geek, you can view a small collection of my work HERE 
 
I hope you enjoy!
 
 
Pic: Mal, Woking, 2001
 
 
 
10. Jul, 2021

After the initial publication of a book, most authors sit and wait with a sense of painful apprehension for the first reviews to appear on Amazon and elsewhere. Their title is out there like a sacrificial lamb ready for slaughter and there’s nothing more they can do. With luck, the first few reviews will be positive, hopefully putting the book in good stead towards its future success. 

Eventually, a bad review will come. In my experience, I’ve learnt to turn that negative into a positive which brings me to the person who stated that one of my titles reminded her of something a teenager might write in preparation for their GCSE exam. Well, as I left school at 15-years-old without any formal qualifications, I took that slur as a compliment, as it proved I had come a long way since those grey days of the early 1970s. 

I have also noticed that some poor reviews have coincided with the free Kindle give-a-ways hosted by Amazon as part of a weekend book promotion. For instance, some people are prone to downloading a title without properly digesting the book’s subject matter and then complain afterwards that it is not for them. “Idiots!” They wouldn’t walk into Foyles or Waterstones and purchase a book they didn’t like! 

Fortunately, though, with all four of my novels, the positives outweigh the negatives by at least 85%, which is a great place to be, especially for a self-published independent author like myself. 

As I write much more than I read, giving a review is a rarity; however, I would NEVER knock a fellow writer by giving them a negative rating. Leaving it alone would be much kinder. 

At the same time, writers like myself thrive on encouragement and positive feedback, so please, if you enjoy a book, always leave your words of appreciation. That kind gesture might just be the nudge to propel your favourite indie author into writing their next tiny masterpiece!

 

14. Mar, 2021

As a teenager, it became quite apparent to me and many others that I would probably become a wordsmith rather than a musician. Clearly, playing the first few chords of Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water on a borrowed guitar would not suffice. Frustrating yes, but it still didn’t stop me from always dabbling with music when I had the opportunity. That will never stop!

In the mid-1980s I was reunited with an old mate, Mick Magic as he endearingly calls himself.  We had previously met in the 70s as teenagers in a first-floor coffee lounge called Galini’s in Camberley at the top of the High Street. It was at a time when we considered ourselves to be the new Bohemians. Poetry was our currency and music, a vital backdrop.  Alan Guest, Sean Duffy and Jeremy Goodwin are other writers who I remember frequenting the smoky haze after all the pubs had shut for the night. 

By 1987, Mick had married the lovely Shona, and they had teamed up with Jay and Kate to form Magic Moments at Twilight Time (MMATT). Their music was unique, keyboard, synth and some guitar. On some tracks, sound effects with quirky voiceovers by an animated three-eyed alien baby called Albert. "What?"

Magic Moments at Twilight Time ~ Samples 

I first saw them playing live by chance at the White Hart pub in Frimley and followed them around for the next couple of years. 

In the following months, I forged a collaboration with Mick and Shona who had expertly set a number of my poems to music on cassette tape. The Wedding, Preconception and A Short Time Beside You, with the latter being performed live on stage at the Green Peace Festival in Surrey in September 1987. 

The whole experience inspired me to get involved with music a bit more and so along with keyboard maestro, Paul Wells, we formed a loose partnership called Leviathan. We were short on numbers, and even secured the services of a shop-front mannequin to make it look like we had a female singer. The project was very short-lived, but we did go on to get some great reviews for our EP cassette War Torn and Ravished. Local pop columnist Adrian Creek even compared us to Tangerine Dream in his weekly Pop Scene slot in the Aldershot News, the best-selling local rag at the time.

As an aside, in 1988, one of my few songs, The Unheard of War was performed; live at the St Jame's Tavern, in London's Picadilly by the Irish trio Giro Junction. Sadly, all three members, Tommy, Joey and Lee have all since passed away. 

Getting back to MMATT, I remember waking up on New Year’s Day 1988, at Mick and Shona’s place in Farm Court, Frimley. It was a surreal morning following a party that had gone on to the early hours with a number of us drunk and badly hung-over souls scattered across the wine-soaked front room floor. 

That was the morning I knew my life had to change for the better. (I still doubt if it ever did!)  

Since the 1980s, most recently as Magic Bullet, Mick has valiantly kept the band’s music alive with recent digitisations. It can now be easily found across the internet today. 

Mick says... “Here, give this one a try, I think you'll probably like this, the gentler side of the Bullet...” Morning Mist Over Parrox Hall Farm

Check out Mick's website @ MickMagic.net