The Malta Independent 18 February 2020, Tuesday

Lexi Con of ATLAM, a topsy-turvy place

Victor Calleja Sunday, 18 August 2019, 09:06 Last update: about 7 months ago

Atlam, a land where time stands still; giants of a political tribe unseen and unheard of in the universe.

This is a land revered for its many attributes and hidden charms: a country with which people from all over the world, from strange lands with strange pasts and murky futures, are in love.”

What follows is the unofficial dictionary of this famed land – a land of rampant freedom: the freedom to commit crimes and be prized; a land where impunity is put on an everlasting pedestal.


Atlam, a faraway land where everything is inverted: where definitions are stranger than fiction; where comedy is tragic and where angels – and even devils – fear to tread.

It is sometimes also thought of as Atlas, holding the world on his puny shoulders; a land previously thought to be Atlantis – the navel of the galaxies.

Compared to Alice’s Wonderland, Atlam seems full of sense. Here in Atlam the Police Commissioner lives in a hole feasting with rabbits which he sometimes greedily eats. Politicians are so squeaky clean that they took over banks and turned them into international laundromats.

Read some Atlamese words and their definitions here. And be amazed, but never alarmed – because this is pure fiction. Reality bites even harder.



All above board, all above average. Atlam’s all-enduring, all-captivating motto.



Boqqa brodu. Two of the most-appreciated words still extant from the defunct Atlamese language. Joseph the Conqueror fought a lone war to stop its extinction in the chambers of Europe’s parliament. He was unsuccessful but nonetheless was still successful in all he did. Boqqa means a ‘gulp’; brodu means ‘broth’. Placed together they are said to mean indigest, a sort of indigestible character which definitely does not fit Joseph the Conqueror’s amiable character.

Busuttil Simon (BS). One of the few people to make the grade in this dictionary. No one can understand how this nonentity, who lost everything when confronted by the colossal Joseph, kept being mentioned by the Labour Movement, the Super Media and the Adrian Delia faction of the PN. Banquo’s ghost, it is rumoured, migrated from bonny Scotland to more sophisticated Atlam.



Construction.  In Atlam no building takes place: another of their world firsts. All the past masterpieces, all the open spaces, are kept intact and trees and parks keep sprouting up. There is no dust, no confusion – just calm and clean: paradise regained.



Delia. A word depicting anything denoting total disaster: delusion, demolition of a national party, destruction of reputation, dunce; winner of nothing but colossal losses


Democracy. Another word that has lost its known needs or definitions. There was a national – even international – search for it. Aliens were contacted in case it had been whisked away in one of the many rockets the Atlamese people just nearly shot into space. None of these many searches and requests for information produced any result: everything was ultimately stopped in the name of transparency and democracy itself.



Egrant A word lost in time. Experts, especially from the Judiciary, don’t believe it ever really existed. It is a figment of the fertile imagination of Simon Busuttil (see also elsewhere) and friends. And when no one is guilty of owning something it proves it does not exist.



FIAU A word that can also be used to describe anything toothless, spineless or pointless.



Ġaħan. One of Malta’s own top architects it is he who, in Maltese folklore, was told by his mother ‘iġbed il-bieb warajk (which literally means pull the door behind you when you leave’; what the long-suffering mother meant was ‘make sure you shut the door’). Ġaħan was subsequently seen going around the village with the door of the house on his back. A man unhinged: as unhinged as Atlamese electors, poor Ġaħans all.



Horror. Or what Atlam could have been, had it not been conquered by Joseph and his First Lady, Michelle. These two, assisted by a few knaves and charlatans, totally transformed and rebuilt Atlam while at the same miraculous time keeping it intact.



Identity Atlam. Thanks to the charisma of Joseph the Conqueror, Atlam was turned into a new paradise sought out by everyone. Long queues of rich people, from Azerbaijan to the underworld of Qatar going back to the great wall of China, are waiting to gain citizenship of this country of mystery.



Jail. This is where only the just end up, or people who inflict harm on anything extinct, like birds or trees.



Konrad. a species unknown to Atlamese men and women of goodwill. Adept at open secrets, transparency and versatility. Never leaves a trail behind. Has no apparent or illusory connection to CasCon, a paper company that only does good and helps people in distress.



Labour Party. Byword for long lost principles and lowest depths of values.



Muscat. Can at any given moment mean mercurial, mercenary, mendacious, a mishandler of public funds, megalomaniac, Machiavellian, ministerial subjugation. Also Captain Marvel and Meravilja, an old Atlamese word denoting something marvellous, election wonderman, Invictus.   



Owen Bonnici. A man with a mission. Heading Malta’s Clean-up brigade and given the top position of Sweeper in Charge, this intrepid cleanser has kept the Great Siege monument spick and span, something the whole world finds exemplary. The rest of Atlam is inundated with crap, garbage and shit but no one notices that. TVM, the national broadcaster constantly shows footage of resplendent Malta, so that must be the reality. Owen, a man with the magic broom.



Police Commissioner. Also pussyfooter, pale shadow of predecessors including Commissioner Plod from the famous history of Atlam—the Adventures of Noddy. First Police Commissioner in the universe with Balls of Steel.



Queens uncrowned. The leading lady of Atlam, her First Ladyship Michelle de Musketeer is one for all Atlamese people.  A deep knowledge of her husband, Joseph Muscat, gives her the right to swim a few metres a day unaided – except by boats, nets, palm frond fans, servants, aides, medical teams and flippers. She is known to make a big splash in the fawning media scene. A woman for all seasons.



Responsibility. Political, and legal responsibility. In Atlam no one is responsible for anything. This is the secret of the positive vibe that always exists in Atlam. No one cares. No one dares care. No one rocks any boat on the rock.



Sleaze. A few too many synonyms of this widely overrated word. Think of any politician connected to Joseph the Conqueror and they are your new synonym of sleaze.



Trees. Totally and thankfully uprooted from all living memory. The oldest man in Atlam sometimes utters the word tree accompanied by Ian Borg. He gasps rather incoherently and insanely.


Transport Malta. Two words which only mean good traffic management and flow. No jams, no pile ups. No cock-ups. Can also be used to describe leisurely driving while you while your life away in dust, confusion and wider roads to get stuck in. Of such perceptions Atlamese people do not live by.



U-turns. No one in Atlam ever managed any of these. Classic figments of the imagination include telling people you will fight corruption, defend the quality of life and seek meritocracy as your daily mantra. 



Victory. Another word for Joseph the Conqueror, ever-triumphant leader of his party, Atlam and the undeclared near-king of the United States of Europe.



Witchcraft. Wonderfully wicked people in Atlam, led by a political gnome known as Busuttil Simon (BS, see above), have managed by hook or by crook to convince the world that Malta has problems. International media and politicians have all been duped by this master of deceit. BS was so cunning and master of the universe that he had won an election in 2017 but convinced everyone that he lost by 35k – all to keep Joseph Muscat and his merry men and women in power and to be able to haunt them. But in Atlam this witchcraft never works, as years and centuries of rule by Joseph attest.



XXX. Porn in Atlam was always banned. Instead they have TVM news and programmes which stream constant truth and nothing but the truth. Truth, like porn and cannabis, is totally addictive and makes your love for anything connected to the Labour Movement grow and flourish.



Young, forever young. Living in the island of Atlam no one grows old. The people are all happy there and remain forever disconnected to the world of corruption, politics or anything stupendously untrue.



Zodiac sign. After Joseph took over the island, the people of Atlam were all re-born under a happy star and horoscope lost its scope. Stargazers, dreamers, individuals with a brain were all mesmerised and turned into shining stars up in the heavens above.

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