We already have a fairly decent starter page about Mario Ellul on the main namespace but I think it's good to collect some of my personal memories of him (and working with him on Mill-Garaxx, other TV shows as well as in the theatre scene in Malta) as a subpage of my user namespace. Among other things, it will probably help me/us get started with pages in the main namespace for some of the projects we worked on together and/or some of our collaborators etc.
I wrote this on my blog on Sunday 4 December 2005:
- Mario was still an underground singer in the mid-80s. He was quite well known in the rock music and theatre circles, mostly through his work with Fog. He had also started making his mark on the local television scene as a young producer/director at TVM. Our careers in those days ran on parallel platforms and eventually we came to collaborate on various projects, starting with the hit TV series Mill-Garaxx. While the title for our TV show was an obvious choice, since we featured live rock bands playing as they did in their garages, I now realize that we owed some of the inspiration for Mill-Garaxx to Mirage's Garage Technology. That cassette album is by far one of the most amazing works by a Maltese band from the eighties.
This is from my blog entry in relation to Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast number 31, which coincided with the 2nd anniversary from his death:
- Mario Ellul was an integral part of the driving force behind a television series that captured some of that raw youth culture at the end of the 1980s. Sadly there is no official archival record of the series, but luckily, several enthusiasts have preserved VHS recordings of several moments from Mill-Garaxx. That series is the one I'm most proud of in my career as a professional broadcaster in Malta between 1984 and 1994. If it's the only thing I'm ever remembered for I'll be a very happy man.
- Mill-Garaxx was as good as I believe it was because Mario insisted on doing it against all the odds. I think we actually kept each other going through the lack of technical resources, the raised eyebrows from the management at TVM, the cynical grips from some of the television crew, and the suspension of fellow producers Alfie Fabri and Ray Bajada from the airwaves, just weeks into our planning of the project. They were suspended for producing a radio programme that encouraged a free and open discussion on recreational drug-use on a Sunday afternoon Radio Malta 2 slot of which I was the executive producer.
I then proceeded to ask people to let me know if they had VHS recordings from Mill-Garaxx because, to my knowledge, none of the original recordings have been preserved by TVM.
There were two crucial pre-production meetings for Mill-Garaxx. At least one of these took place in the front room on the right hand side in the entryway of what was then Xandir Malta's Broadcasting House. During this first meeting Mario and I met with Alfie and Ray to plan out the series. However, after they were suspended, Mario and I had to meet again (possibly with Joe Tanti and Joe Debono) who we had identified as decent substitutes for Alfie and Ray respectively. The two Joes filled the gap wonderfully, making the role they had on the show their own, but I've often wondered how different the series would have been if Alfie had interviewed the bands on that series and Ray had led the discussions on youth culture. As edgy as Mill-Garaxx seemed to be at the time, I'm almost sure that it would have been even more in your face with Alfie and Ray involved in the production team.