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Istanbul, not Constantinople!

4 Aug

This is ostensibly a blog about creative arts, particularly music and film. But occasionally I do like to submit something a little more personal, which hopefully doesn’t drift too far from the blog’s remit.

First, I’d just like to mention how much I’ve been listening to music in a cathartic sense, which I suppose I often did anyway, but especially this year. 2014 started with a huge life changing event (as much as I’d like to play it down as one): the loss of a close loved one, which came soon after the loss of an old friend. There’s also been another kind of sad goodbye, but I know that person is headed on a different path to find a happier place, and my love and luck go with her, so in that respect there is some consolation in it. People sometimes come and go out of your life like that, and it’s truly bittersweet, no matter how much you convince yourself it’s for the best.

Those are the hard, cold times when actually, the last thing you often want to do is play your beloved music loud. But earlier this year, the voice of support and understanding would come from the most unexpected place. Not from one of my favourite bands, but elsewhere. For me, hearing Adele’s Bond theme “Skyfall” helped. Seriously, stay with me on this one! (Don’t be fooled however, I did play some rather heavy angry rock very loud indeed, and some truly depressing indie dirge as well). But as for the Adele song, the lyrics seemed to present an empowering message in the days before a funeral, at which I gave the eulogy. And since then, that’s been the message to myself for this year: “to stand tall and face it all”, and embrace, rather than deny, any creative suggestion that comes as a result of it. So, I’ve started writing more, and pushing for more fulfilling professional avenues. I did a painting recently as well, but honestly, you don’t want to see that; it was terrible. Oh god, yeah, really crap. But I enjoyed doing it, so that’s alright isn’t it!

Anyway, the more specific thing I want to talk to you about, now I’ve got all that emo stuff out of the way, is that in two weeks I take off to Istanbul in Turkey, one of the world’s historically greatest cities, and one of the modern world’s biggest; a tantalising blend of old and new. I’m still trying not to call it Constantinople, which I bizarrely insist on calling it, despite the fact it hasn’t officially been called that by anyone in a very, very long time. I’m going on my own, in a brave move to maybe discover more about the city, that I might not find in a group excursion, but also to discover more about myself and what I am capable of. I’ll also be taking in the city’s music, art and general culture (which will be feeding into these pages). On the first Friday, fourteen full hours will also be spent on The Other Tour, a radical and exciting personalised tour to discover the ‘real’ Istanbul, away from the tourist routes. I am promised lunch made by the tour guide’s mum (yeah, really), a boat trip, a Turkish bath and some Turkish dancing (I’ll perhaps be pissed on Raki by then). But I will of course, be entering the apparently magnificent Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace, and even seeing the hotel where Agatha Christie regularly stayed. There will be no Murder on the Orient Express, but there will be plenty of excitement I’m sure. All in all, it’ll be the Serendipity3864 site’s almost live experience, from Istanbul!

Maybe I’m trying to escape a challenging year, but I’m already richer for the gains and experience of coming through some tough times. In the last twelve months I’ve also added some more letters to the end of my name, so it just goes to show: even when things are tough, we can still achieve so much. You don’t give up, you get up!

I’m well up for an adventure now. Join me in late August!