Tuesday, December 16, 2014

X-mas Eve Party at Ġugar!

We apologise for the lack of updates on our blog, but we've all been really busy during the last couple of months. We will however not miss the opportunity to party this festive season!

On Xmas Eve, we will have DJ Brozer (FR) rocking the basement with a mix of selected alternative music. There will also be some open mics for anyone who wants to free style.

Come and join the buzz! Good fun guaranteed!

Ps.  We will not be open in the morning on Wednesday 24th December.  Doors will open at around 8.30pm.  There will be some mulled wine too :)  See you!

-  The Ġugar! Crew

Friday, September 5, 2014

Upcoming events at Ġugar!

Moulettes live at Ġugar! - Tuesday 9th and Friday 12th September.

Moulettes will be visiting Malta once again for whoever missed their incredible live shows in the past years! They will be playing acoustically at Ġugar! on Tuesday 9th and Friday 12th September. Don't miss them this time!  First come first served!

Moulettes released their third studio album 'Constellations’ on June 2nd. Recorded in studios, churches, tunnels, workshops and bedrooms around Brighton in the summer of 2013, it is their most complete and ambitious album to date. The album features a chamber orchestra that includes performances from legends Arthur Brown and Herbie Flowers (Lou Reed, Bowie) and contemporaries Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets), The Unthanks, Emma Richardson (Band Of Skulls) and a host of players from Sweden, Germany, Greece, Holland, South Africa, Australia, Scotland and Bosnia. The band has an incredible ability to blend several genres with Cello, Violins, Guitars, Drums, Bassoon, Double bass, brass and synths into an incomparable pop/rock/folk ensemble. 

Also renowned for their breathtaking live shows it is clear that few bands have the creative range and work ethic of Moulettes. Headed up by the fierce female songwriter and Cellist Hannah Miller, the band also contains a mix of self taught and classically trained members who have shared the stage and studio with the likes of Mick Jagger, Nick Cave, Seasick Steve, Bonobo and Dave Gilmour. 

Their significant initial period was spent playing live and promoting the Den Of Iniquity nights in London /Manchester and Southampton. Since then Moulettes have been recognised as front runners and innovators within what has been labelled the ‘Indie folk’ and ‘Prog folk’ genre. This genre blends bands such as Pink Floyd, Pentangle and Bjork with elements of chamber pop and Scandinavian folk. Moulettes have been constantly been on the road for 5 years with varying sized ensembles playing festivals as varied as Cropredy /End of the Road/Bestival/ and Cambridge Folk. 

They continue their busy gig schedule playing a host of summer festival dates and a Headline tour in Europe and UK in Oct-Dec. If you are looking for good song writing, incredible musicianship and a truly unique projection of all music to date squeezed into accessible pop tunes Moulettes is the band for you.


 OPEN MIC - NIGHT - FRIDAY 19th September

Open Mic night, in memory of Greek hip-hop activist Killah-P - one year from the murder of Pavlos Fyssas - at Ġugar Hangout and Bar on Friday 19th September.

Feat. Sempliċiment tat-Triq, Majċa (Umanimali), Digby (Chapter Zero), Sirus (Furban Malti). Beatboxers and MC's who wanna join and spit are welcome.

Donation at the door. Prix Libre.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Shout out! #7

So far it has been a very hectic Summer for us at Ġugar! We have moved our stall from Valletta to Sliema in July to participate in the Sliema Street Art Festival. This has been a great experience for us, since we are all fans of street art and urban culture. With the help of Hedon promoters, we set up a stall at the Exiles beach and took care of serving food to the hungry crowd at the Alternative stage. We also set up our little chill-out area next to the stage, and this practically meant we took almost all of Ġugar! with us. But although we were pretty much exhausted by the end of the weekend, it was a great opportunity for us to experience being part of an event that has the potential to grow in terms of quality and quantity of people that attend year after year. From here we give a shout out to Putting Colours in the Street for giving us this opportunity!

Back in Valletta, we were busy coming up with new recipes for smoothies and juices, using as much as possible the sweetness of fruit that the summer season provides to us during this time. Our strawberry smoothies, and watermelon juices were a big success. We are also now making use of the aloe vera plants that a friend donated to us, by making fresh juices straight from the plant. 

All of this, while trying to find the time to enjoy the beautiful sea and swim as much as possible!

Last week we also hosted the birthday party for The Piece of Sheet. The Piece of Sheet is a sheet (duh) that is published by an anonymous autonomous collective of University students.. After a year of publications they decided that a birthday party celebrating their first year in existence should be held, and we were both surprise and happy that they chose Ġugar! To host their party, as we are also fans of their publications. You can view their publications here: http://tinyurl.com/alltpos

In the coming weeks we will be hosting another film night, this time proposed by another friend of ours who is involved in the activist scene in Serbia. More information will be available through our facebook page in the coming days.

Time really flies by, and soon enough another Notte Bianca in Valletta will be upon us. Notte Bianca of last year was when we first opened our doors to the public, taking that big step in the dark, not knowing what was next. We didn’t even know or plan when to open officially – we just opened our doors even though the basement wasn’t even ready to host guests. Next day, we went to clean up, and found friends and people waiting for us to open our doors, and we have been open since then. Here we are now, with one year almost behind us – and an opportunity to review what we have been through and plan for our next term. So it is great pleasure that we’ll be thinking on what we come up with for our first birthday party! If you have any wild ideas, let us know!

 See you soon!
-  The Ġugar! Crew

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ġugar! at the Sliema Street Art Festival

We are excited to announce that we'll be setting up a stall at the Sliema Street Art Festival that is happening on the weekend of Friday 18th to Sunday 20th July!  We are big fans of street art so it's a great opportunity for us to be participating.  We will be situated in the area right beside the Exiles Beach Club at the Alternative Stage to be hosted by our friends from Hedon Events !  We will also be setting up a small chill-out area for people to hang out.  

Our shop at Valletta will therefore be closed from Friday 18th till Sunday 20th July.  We will then open our doors business as usual from Tuesday 15th July as per our Summer Opening hours.  See you in Sliema this weekend!  Click here for the facebook page to the event.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Hey there!  We would like to tell you that as from Monday 2nd June, Ġugar will be switching to Summer hours.

From Wednesday to Saturday we will be open also for lunch!

Monday: CLOSED

Tuesday: 7pm till 1am
Wednesday: 10am till 3pm and from 7pm till 1am
Thursday: 10am till 3pm and from 7pm till 1am

Friday: 10am till 3pm and from 7pm till 1am
Satuday: 10am till 3pm and from 7pm till 1am
Sunday: 7pm till 1am

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Shout out #6

So here we are, the beginning of May and Summer seems to be already on it's way.  The cold and rainy days seem to be over, and the sun is warm and out!  The day is getting longer and that means more time to run out and about.  For us at Ġugar! it means hoping to get some time to run around in fields and do some gardening and grow stuff.  It also means packing up our soup warmer to make way for lighter and fresher foodstuffs,  and trying and testing new juices and smoothies made from the numerous delicious fruits and vegetables that we're blessed with during the Maltese summers.

Looking back at the past months, it feels great to see the Ġugar! space being used for all kinds of creative projects and networking activities.  We've seen our space used for meetings between amaeteur gardeners and organic farmers, networking activities for film-makers and camera people, gigs for local underground hip-hop groups, group love-letter writing, film nights and documentaries, DIY workshops, musicians who turn up with their saxaphones and guitars for impromptu jams, chess tournaments and much much more.  It's s great to witness Ġugar! during special moments where it feels to be brimming with energy and creative activity between people!

Local underground hip-hop group Sempliċiment tat-Triq raided our basement for a night of hip-hop and open mic on the 19th of March.  Armed with just their microphones and hard-hitting raps, they turned our basement into a fiery box of real energy.  Turnout was great and the band managed to collect some much needed funds for their then upcoming tour around Europe solely through voluntary donations.  It is our belief that a free-price system can work in certain circumstances and we would like to start exploring this idea further with people who want to perform at Ġugar!  Basically, there would be no fixed price on certain events, but people are encouraged to donate whatever they deem fit, depending on their financial situation, their expecatations and the fulfilment of their expectations.  Such a system is much more fair because it  doesn't ascribe value to a product  on a fixed price set-up by somebody, but leaves it up to the responsible individual to decide for himself how much something is worth.  We have personally witnessed this system work very efficiently in different parts of the world, and there's no reason why we shouldn't try it here.

We have had another well-attented film night on the 27th of March. This time we showed "Belarusian Dream". It is the story of a young person from Minsk in Belarus who has lived most of his life in a country ruled by a dictator. Against the background of falsified elections, brutal repressions, and a severe economic crisis, it shows how more people in the most 'stable' post-Soviet country are starting to demand change. This is a story about how the regime can crush a person, and how you can find your own freedom in a state that possesses total contol.

Our next film night is now on Wednesday the 14th of May and we are showing FORGOTTEN BIRD OF PARADISE.  Do you know what is going on in West Papua? British filmmaker Dominic Brown travelled without the knowledge or authority of the Indonesian authorities in order to film Forgotten Bird of Paradise. The documentary provides a rare and moving insight onto the struggle for independence that has gripped West Papua for over 45 years. It includes never before seen footage of OPM rebel fighters at their stronghold deep in the Papuan jungle, as well as interviews with human rights victims of the Indonesian regime.  Frequently breathtaking and thought provoking, Forgotten Bird of Paradise provides a remarkable insight into a world where ancient traditions and cultures live on into the modern age. Above all, it shows the inspiring resilience of a people who suffered so much under Indonesian occupation, but whose determination for freedom burns stronger now than at any time in history.  The movie is not very long, and if lots of people turn up, we can screen it twice.

Last month we have also been featured twice on a couple of mainstream newspapers and magazines, and it seems like we rated high in their reviews.  A shout out goes to the reviewers and journalists who understood what we are trying to do and are giving us exposure and support!

A one day Chess Tournament will be held on Saturday 17th May starting from 10am and we hope that by 6pm we would know who is the winner.  It will start off with a small league of 3 games per player in each of four different groups, and then proceed to a knockout for the final match.  (if you didn't understand, it is basically similar to the World Cup Finals league-knockout system) At the time of writing, there are seven more places to be booked! Send us a private message if you wanna book a place!

We are also excited about a beat-boxing kind of night that we will have on the 31st of May.  From what we know, this Polish guy can deliver some cool beats, and sounds just through his mouth, but we will keep you informed about this as the day approaches.  Check out our facebook page here for further real-time updates.  It should also be available to people who do not have an account on facebook.  

Until the next one!,


Monday, March 17, 2014

Shout out #5

Heya there!

One of the best things that we hear from people that come to Gugar, is that what they like most about the atmosphere of the place, is the fact that they still feel like they've gone for a good, fun night out even if they decide to drink a freshly-brewed tea or a fresh juice instead of binging on alcohol to get into the party mood and join the party crowd.  They can choose to drink and read a book, or play some board games.  No pressure to fit in.  For us this this is one of the best compliments that we can ever get...With Gugar we wanted to address the Big Split that has happened to modern life:  We spend our whole week working our asses off doing things we don't like and then, when the weekend comes we binge on the things that are supposed to balance the equation back again...and then...when all the fun is over...the puritan inside us takes over, and we punish ourselves for having "enjoyed the weekend a bit too much".  So we go back to the routine of another week of self-inflicted pain and guilt.  It seems like we keep a balance sheet in our heads...a balance sheet of "the things that we're supposed to do", and the things that we love doing.   Our lives seem to have been fragmented into different pieces - and this should be every freedom seekers duty - to join back together all these pieces.

And it was with this thought in mind that we came up with the idea of the Gugar DIY for Self-Reliance sessions.  Why seperate the "fun" part from the "work" part?  The things we do to survive, to live, should be fun and vice-versa...why not fill our "pleasure" time with work, if it is enjoyable and worthy?  If we have a DIY mental attitude, we can re-unite our disconnected selves and we can get a step closer to the things we consume and come in contact with.

So it is with great pleasure to say that we had great feedback from participants at our first sessions that included workshops on knife-making, beer brewing, soap-making, and a session on the baking of the original Maltese bread.  In the future, we want to explore these ideas further, so if you feel connected to what we think, stay tuned.

All this doesn't mean that we don't enjoy an occasional good night of letting loose!  That is why we had Bass Culture at our basement for a night of carnival fun.  The guys from Bass Culture turned our basement into a small but powerful machine of dubby grooves.  Watch out for these guys as they are slowly but surely filling dancehalls everywhere with their carefully selected cuts of dub and earth-shaking bass lines.

Some of our upcoming events:

Wednesday 19th March (public holiday)  8.30pm: Sempliciment Tat - Triq will be blasting out some hip-hop raps in Maltese from the Ġugar! Basement. Entry will be based on voluntary donations. All money collected will fund their upcoming Italy-France tour in April. Event to start at around 8.30pm.

Thursday 27th March, 9pm:  

FILM NIGHT @ Ġugar!  :  Belarusian Dream

Belarusian Dream, an award-winning film, is the story of a young person from Minsk who has lived most of his life in a country ruled by a dictator. Against the background of falsified elections, brutal repressions, and a severe economic crisis, it shows how more people in the most 'stable' post-Soviet country are starting to demand change. This is a story about how the regime can crush a person, and how you can find your own freedom in a state that possesses total contol.

Belarusian Dream is the first independent documentary film to look at what has happened in Belarus since the 2010 presidential elections. Directed by Ekaterina Kibalchich, born in 1982 in Minsk; laureate of the 'Zolotoe Pero' award from the Russian Journalism Union.  Belarusian Dream won the viewer's award at the 2011 International Human Rights Film festival ''WatchDocs".

Photo taken by Kuluri

A small reminder that we will be closed on the 11th, 12th and 13th of April, as will be heading to Rock the South, a festival with different genres of music, from rock, punk and indie to hip hop, pop, folk, acoustic singer-songwriters, ska and Dub. Doors will open at 6pm and on Sunday at 2pm.  We are selling tickets for the festival, so if you haven't got it yet, hurry up!

For further real-time updates, please check out our facebook page here:  https://www.facebook.com/gugarmalta  IT SHOULD be accessible also to people with no Facebook account.

Until next time!
The Ġugar Crew

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Shout Out #4!

Heeeeyy there!

...It's crazy how fast time flies, especially when you're doing 
something you're enjoying. We still seem to be getting over the Christmas season, but at the same time, the first month of 2014 has already passed by. Our "off" week in the beginning of the year, gave us a little bit of time to chill out, observe and ponder with an "outsider"'s point of view on the first few months of Ġugar! All we can say is that not even a whole month would be enough to start doing this! You get a really strange feeling when you start thinking on the relativity of time...how sometimes life seems to go so 'fast', yet it is really going 'slow' or how things seem to be moving so slow, but yet time is there, forever ticking, or is it?
photo by Nadege Cassar

January saw us kicking off with the promotion of a series of DIY for self-reliance workshops in Ġugar! We had a really positive feedback from people who were interested in attending these workshops – it’s great to see young people, male and female, interested in the skills and knowledge our great-parents used to possess, but somehow lost to modernity and fast living. Rather than promoting the idea of a DIY attitude as solely one that can help us get closer to a self-sufficient life and help us save money, we wanted to promote the great feeling we get when we connect with the things we relate to and consume, through the beautiful act of creation. As the economist E.F. Schumacher beautifully puts it:

photo by Nadege Cassar
.......[but] to grow or make some things for myself: what fun, what exhilarion, what liberation from any feelings of utter dependence on organisations! What is perhaps even more: what an education of the real person! To be in touch with actual processes of creation. The inborn creativity of people is no mean or accidental thing: neglect or disregard it, and it becomes an inner source of poison. It can destroy you and all your human relationships; on a mass scale, it can – nay, it inevitably will – destroy society..”. – E.F. Schumacher

With this in mind, we started off with Christian Muscat (Il-poqq) holding a workshop on knife-making. Chris took us through the whole process of making your own knife from a piece of flat-bar metal, complete with a wooden handle. We will now try to convince him to engrave “Ġugar!” on the metal part of the knife and proudly hang it on one of our walls...

Our next session is about brewing beer at home. Make sure you check out our page here to keep updated. At the time of writing, there are only a couple of places left, and since our space is quite limited, we can only open the sessions for a maximum of up to 15 people. We will then have a session on soap-making on Wednesday 5th March and another one on Maltese-bread making on Wednesday 12th March. In the spirit of voluntary co-operation, we are not asking for a booking charge for the sessions. This way, we ensure
that the sessions are also accessible to people who cannot pay. We are doing this consciously in opposition to the fixed price policy, which imposes the same price for everybody and the same. This good opportunity for us to put into practice what we believe in: equality, solidarity and free exchange of information.

January also saw us participating in the competition called Tropical Wholefoods Recipe Competition organised by Core-green in Malta. Ann created this delicious dish: GRILLED MUSHROOM TACOS WITH MANGO PINEAPPLE KIDNEY BEAN SALSA – A gluten free, vegan dish with an asian touch by using some of the products from Tropical Wholefoods – a range of delicious fair traded foodstuffs. The mother company in the UK will shortlist their favourite 5 recipes and have the Tropical Wholefoods staff cook them up and carry out a company-wide tasting to pick a winner. Wish us some luck! Keep informed about all of this by checking out the core-green blog here

We also held a second film screening at Gugar, and this time, we had a great turnout. Florian, a friend of ours from France paid us a visit and we took the opportunity to screen his DIY movie called “BOLIGAKSJON” – a documentary about squatting in Oslo, Norway. As the tagging of the movie goes:

“Squatting in Norway?

Yes, there aren't only trolls in this big cold country in the North of Europe, but also many cute "rats" that are just trying to make it through the capitalist jungle and wagging their long tails to point towards a big unspoken truth: As the rising cost of housing continues, so does the number of empty abandoned houses being left to fall apart continues to grow. They will be left empty until their value rises, and then will eventually be turned into parking lots or some luxury apartment...but these rats won't let this happen without a fight...”

At the end of the month, we also had Immanuel Mifsud stopping at Ġugar! to hold another session of his Aqrali, qaltli literary nights. We set up the basement with cosy, candle lit atmosphere. We're quite bummed that we were stuck upstairs, with no time to witness the movement of spirits in our basement...and we also apologise to those who came but found no space. But we guess that's a good sign. It's not so common that people turn out for these kind of events. Catch Immanuel at some other venue, by checking out the page Aqrali, qalti. Here is a picture of Immanuel from the night..

...and hey!  Do not hesitate to contact us, should you have the initiative to organize some event that fits our philosophy at Ġugar. Ġugar! is a place for good living – hanging out, books, discussing, DIY, having a good time with friends...anything that helps us get in touch with ourselves and others! Get in touch if you connect to our vibrations!

You should still be able to view our facebook page, even if you do not have a facebook account, through this link:  https://www.facebook.com/gugarmalta

...until next time!

The Ġugar! Crew

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Shout-out! #3

Hey there!

We write this from a cold room on a rainy and wintry day - the kind of day that forces you to sit down and reflect a little on the past.  Wow! It's been an amazing ride since we opened our doors to the public.  We met such great people along this short way, who supported us out during our first months, and it's impossible to think of how things could have turned up if we were left to our own devices...    And since it's the beginning of 2014, we can't help not to think positively of the coming year, of all the dreams and ideas that we have in mind and on how they could develop until we implement them into reality!

As from January 2014 please note that these are now our new Winter opening hours:

Monday: 6pm till 1am
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 10am till 1am
Thursday: 6pm till 1am
Friday: 6pm till 1am
Saturday: 10am till 1am
Sunday: 3pm till 1 am

-  During December 2013, we had ANATOMICA exhibition - a beautiful collection of paintings drawn by Edward Wilkonson.   Edward does beautiful paintings inspired by his interest in anatomy.  Apart from the paintings, Ed has printed a set from his collection into postcards for people who do not want to buy the paintings.  The postcards are sold at 1 Euro each and are available at Ġugar!  or directly from Mr Wilkson.

- Ġuze' Stagno, the author of "What Happens in Brussels stays in Brussels" - his latest work, added to our general Xmas cheer, when he visited us for a book-signing session during his xmas holidays in Malta.  We have just finished reading the book and as usual, Stagno doesn't disappoint. Read the book for a much needed criticism to the maltese raison d'être vis-a-vis our relation to the outside world, and not just...

- We will have another night dedicated to literature on  Thursday 30th of January where Immanuel Mifsud will continue his reading tour called Aqrali, qaltli in our basement.  Immanuel is visiting different places in Malta and Gozo and sharing his writings to the public.  We are looking forward to this night especially because we are big fans of Immanuel's work.  Come and hear it from the man himself!  Also check out his page for updated information about his tour.  He is reading different texts every time, so all check points promise to offer a different experience...

- We will be starting a Ġugar! DIY for Self-Reliance workshops soon!  These will consist of short informal workshops for up to 16 participants, on the making of stuff that can help one move a step closer to being more self-reliant in his/her daily life.  We will be having a knife-making workshop, a beer-brewing at home workshop, a soap-making workshop and another one on the making of the Maltese bread. More information will be out soon via our Facebook page here.  We would like these sessions to be based on a free price system.   This system gives us an opportunity to put into practice what we like and believe in;  that is voluntary exchange and equality.  The free price system, as opposed to the fixed price system doesn't impose a fixed price for everyone and the same.  This means that the sessions would still be open and accessible to people who want to participate in the sessions but cannot afford to pay the full price for the sessions.   Some people could give little, others can put more:  this is solidarity in practice and this way should make the sessions accessible to everyone.   Please note that this does not mean that the events are free - everything has a cost and participants are encouraged to donate whatever they can to the workshop facilitator for his/her time, effort and expenses .

-  As we get closer to the end of the first Ġugar! Chess Tournament, we will also be holding film nights in our cosy basement every fortnight on Thursdays.    More information in the coming days...please check our facebook page for more information.

-  We are happy to see more people making use of our small community libarary.  Please do not hesitate to ask to borrow/lend/barter a book that you would like to take home with you.

Looking forward to make 2014 a year of creating spaces for good living with you!  Please keep checking our Facebook page on http://www.facebook.com/gugarmalta for more frequent updates.  The page should still be accessible to people who don't have a Facebook account.

Happy new year!
The Ġugar! Crew