The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

Getting to know Mario Xuereb... in love with history and Floriana

Stephen Calleja Sunday, 14 November 2021, 11:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

TVM journalist and presenter Mario Xuereb tells us about his love for Floriana FC and history.

He remembers his childhood days fondly, from riding bikes to kicking ball and playing hide and seek. 

Like many, he enjoys pizza and takes exception to the question on erasing something from history.

What was the last book you read?

I am currently reading a book in Italian:  La Valigia di Cartone: Fotoracconti di una storia minima a Montechiarugolo by Vittorio Gherri.  The author has done research about eight events or situations that took place in Montechiarugolo (Parma) between 1800 and 1950.  One of these stories involves three young Maltese men who in the Second World War were held as civilian internees and were locked up in the nearby castle which overlooks the village. I have personally visited the castle and was struck by the graffiti left by these Maltese on the castle’s internal walls.

Who is your favourite author? 

Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus.

What was the last film you watched?


Which film have you seen multiple times and enjoyed every time you saw it? 

Angry Birds’

Who is your favourite actor/actress? 

I admire Freddie Highmore for his role in ‘The Good Doctor’; Julia Roberts for her smile.

What is your favourite TV series? 

Criminal’ - I have watched all of the UK, Germany and Spain instalments of the series.  Hinterland is another brilliant series set in Wales.

What is your favourite game or sport to watch and play?  

To watch: Rugby Union;  To play: Football.

Which team do you support?

Floriana FC of course.  Who else?  Well, Man Utd as well!  But of course the Greens take pride of place.

Which song would you sing at a karaoke night? 

I am a terrible singer but I will never shy away from ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

Who is your favourite singer/band? 

Iron Maiden.  The riffs, the melodies, the lyrics, the stories they tell.

Which show/event would you like to attend/have attended?   

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969

What three items would you take with you on a deserted island? 

A subscription to Premier League football; a turntable with my small collection of vinyl records; any device from which I can access tonnes of old documents which I have been saving through the years and which I was never able to fully concentrate on, much as I like.  Then again, I suppose there wouldn’t be any power on a desert island, so I wouldn’t be able to access either of them three.

Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest? 

My eye-sight used to be the strongest but since I turned 40 I have started to appreciate my hearing even more... until now of course.

What's the most unusual thing you've ever eaten? 

Reindeer meat while in Oslo. 

What is that one thing you could not go a day without? 

My smartphone.  It has become an extension of ourselves, hasn’t it ?

Which fictional character do you relate to most?

Inspector Gadget

Do you check your horoscope? 


What age would you choose if you could be one age forever?


What invention would you erase from history? 

None.  All are important.  By erasing one invention, I would be changing the course of history, and that is impossible.

Would you like to know the day when you will die? 

Yes.  But I hope it is at least 50 years away.


What's your favourite animal? 


What's your favourite type of foreign food?   


What is your favourite hobby? 

Long walks in the countryside. 

What's your favourite season? 

I am a winter person.  Maltese summer and its shoulder months are too sticky for me to enjoy.

What's your favourite ice cream topping? 

Hot Fudge.

What's your favourite board game? 

Monopoly and Checkers.

What is your favourite pizza? 

The special pizza on the menu of any pizzeria I ever visit.

What is your favourite colour? 

Irish Green

What is your favourite pasta dish?

Cannelloni with ricotta and spinach

What is your favourite cartoon show? 

Hanna-Barbera’s ‘Tom and Jerry’ remains a classic but I also used to enjoy watching ‘Holly & Benji’.


What did you like to do most during the summer holidays? 

Spending time at my family’s summer residence and spending time in Gozo.

What career did you see yourself in when you were young? 

A footballer.

What is your best childhood memory?

Playing outside with friends.  Indeed, it was still possible in the mid-eighties.  From riding bikes to kicking ball and playing hide and seek. 

Did you learn how to ride a bike? 


Who was your super hero? 


Which toy do you wish to have kept? 

Actually I have managed to keep all of my Subbuteo football teams from the early 80s.  But can I really call these ‘toys’ ?

What subject did you excel in at school? 


What subject did you dislike the most in school? 

None.  Honestly.  I am finding it really difficult to answer this question.

Was there some family tradition that was never missed? 

Christmas lunch on Christmas Day when all the family gathers around, presents are exchanged and opened. 

What are the best values you owe to your parents? 



What would you change about yourself if you could? 

I’m always on edge.  And I am always “too early” for everything.

What really makes you angry? 

Tardiness. And people who pass the buck.

Is your glass half full or half empty? 

Half empty... watching the world from this angle makes you want to get things done. 

Are you a sore loser? 

No.  Well, yes, but only when Floriana FC lose.  And I pretend not to show it.

What is your biggest regret? 

Not learning to play a musical instrument... more specifically... the guitar.

What’s the first thing you look for in a partner and/or friend? 


What is your greatest fear? 

Dying before I reach a venerable age.  I want to experience life in all of its hues. 

What is your life motto? 

That which is hateful to you, do not do to others.

If you had a warning label, what would yours say? 

Still running on empty

What's one thing that can instantly make your day better? 

A smile.


If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you do or buy?

A house far away from Malta’s urban centre.

If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be? 

Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden, Pietru Caxaro, Angela Merkel, Elon Musk.

If you could bring one person back from the dead who’d it be?  

My paternal grandfather.  He died during the war during an air raid on Floriana.  I would love to have a chat with him.

If you could time travel, when and where would you go? 

Malta in the 1300s.  It’s a period in Malta’s history of which we really know very little.  But it must have been a formative period for the Maltese as a people. 

If you could relive one moment in your life, which would it be? 

The first date with my wife and the birth of each of my three sons. 

If you could live anywhere outside Malta, where would it be? 

Any place where the recorded temperature barely reaches 20 degrees celsius. 

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? 


If you could know the truth behind a secret or mystery, which would it be? 

Is there anybody out there ?  Are we alone ?  The universe must be teeming with life.  But is it intelligent life ?

If you could eliminate one of the seven deadly sins, which one would it be? 


If you had to be given a superpower, what would you choose? 

To heal the sick.


Coffee or tea? 


Walk or swim? 


Summer or winter?  


Italy or England? 


Restaurant or delivery? 


Early bird or night owl? 

Early bird

Fish or meat? 


Mobile phone or TV? 

Mobile Phone

Black or white? 


Film or TV series? 

TV Series

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