The Old Vic Cabaret sign in Strait Street
"Strait Street (Valletta, Malta) is full of contradictions, and the deeper one digs, metaphorically and literally through the dust and rubble, the more obvious this becomes. Malta identifies strongly with the Catholic faith (e.g. Boissevain 1993), yet at the heart of the capital city and World Heritage Site (Valletta) is a street – Strait Street – where vice, crime and sex have been among its defining characteristics for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Following Malta’s independence in 1964, and the steep decline in the numbers of British and American servicemen on the island, Strait Street effectively closed down. But even then such stigma existed as to ensure Strait Street remained empty and seemingly unloved for some 40 years. Marks and Spencer, on opening an annex in Strait Street in 2003, ‘protected’ its customers by designing a bridge that could bring them over the street rather than along it. But attitudes seem to be changing, and the fabric of the street, its former bars and music halls, and the signs and advertisements, appear to be driving this process through the memories they evoke. "
This picture is from December 28th 2009. It must have been repainted lately because here is what the sign looked like a few weeks before (according to the site).