“Ecotherapy” in the fishing villages of Istanbul

Istanbul is, I believe, one of the most magical cities in the world. It is unique as it is the only metropolis in the world to extend into more than one continent. Napolean was apparently very impressed with Istanbul. If all the world were a single state, he said, this city should be its capital Home to nearly twenty million inhabitants, the city has been convulsing for many years now by a population influx, to some degree losing its charm Absorbing new residents each year, areas are being opened to property development by destroying former green reaches, with new districts … Continue reading “Ecotherapy” in the fishing villages of Istanbul

“Dreamers” with Shirin Neshat

I do remember the first time I saw Shirin Neshat’s work at a gallery, a good ten years ago now.   I had just moved to Istanbul.  And I also remember being so emotionally moved.  I remember very vividly the power of those photographs. Veiled women, just their faces, sometimes only eyes, feet or hands showing, inscribed with Persian calligraphy and poetry.  The impact, the dominance, the political message was just so strong.  Her photographs so evocative. The visual language so powerful. And I remember watching on tv the commanding speech She gave at the Crystal Awards ceremony during the World … Continue reading “Dreamers” with Shirin Neshat

Antique Ankara

Ankara has a tender spot in my heart.   Having lived in Turkey’s capital in my elementary school days way back in the late 70s, I have been back every year for the last ten years to meet my childhood friend for a long weekend in August.  We reminisce about the good old times, laugh a lot, gossip a little, shop some and make sure to observe our ritual of spending at least half a day “re-exploring” the winding lanes of Ankara Citadel.   It is our ceremonial procession to commemorate “the” annual reunion.       We try to invade as many … Continue reading Antique Ankara

An evening remembering Qara Qarayev at the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall

Whenever I am visiting a new city or country, attending a classical music concert or the opera is on my priority list.   Main reason is of course the therapeutic effect.  Music is my salvation and antidote to the fatigue of walking around, trying to absorb every single detail during my travels.  Those concerts are my secret gardens only I allow myself to enter.  I feel elevated.  And the music itself of course feels wonderfully soothing There is another reason. Attending a classic music concert or the opera opens the window to the cultural state of the city or the country.  I … Continue reading An evening remembering Qara Qarayev at the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall

Fazıl Say’s Mesopotamia Symphony is beyond words

Music is no doubt a universal language and a very powerful at that. It has the potential to evoke a myriad emotions…comfort, solace, jubilance, bliss, joy, sorrow, misery, distress, anguish, grief, heartache and the feelings it stirs can go on and on…but above all it has the power to soothe and feed the soul. There are of course composers one feels closer to, perhaps because of the emotional impact they convey with their music, perhaps because their themes strike closer to heart, perhaps due to the historical context, perhaps due to choice of instruments, the familiarity of the melodies, perhaps … Continue reading Fazıl Say’s Mesopotamia Symphony is beyond words

A surprise delivery of petit fours all the way from New York

It was the evening of April Fools day. I unlocked the door to my home in the evening after a non-eventful but draining day at the office to find the neatly wrapped “surprise” package from New York. I had actually been awating the arrival of the parcel from Rene, my friend of 20 plus years, who had dropped me a line to let me know that he had sent me a “book” he had spotted at a restaurant. Although its delivery was not unanticipated, its appearance on my doorstep was still a wonderful surprise which put a smile on my … Continue reading A surprise delivery of petit fours all the way from New York

Tea, that heartwarming drink reflecting Turkish hospitality

Turkey’s love affair with tea goes beyond being just a caffeine vehicle. It is a social lubricant, an inseparable and compassionate companion for many who sip the crimson coloured liquid anywhere and anytime from sunrise to sunset. It is so magical that it has a cooling effect during boiling hot summer days, warming effect during the most frigid winter months, healing powers for the sick, the heartbroken, recharhing powers for the fatigued, relaxing powers for the stressed. That is how extraordinary and hence essential tea is for the Turks. Not only is it magical and addictive, tea is very much … Continue reading Tea, that heartwarming drink reflecting Turkish hospitality

The news blackout in Turkey

My intention today was to finally write the short piece I have promised my friend Marissa on the Poliakoff exhibition I was fortunate enough to catch in Paris at the end of January. However the turn of events unfolding in my beautiful country has forced me to “put pen to paper” on a completely different matter. As of midnight March 20th 2014, Twitter has been blocked by our prime minister. The approximately 10 million users across Turkey are denied access to “tweet”. At a local election campaign rally in Bursa he threatened to “eradicate” Twitter and definitely kept his word, … Continue reading The news blackout in Turkey

Adopt a beehive via “un toit pour les abeilles”

I had the good fortune to meet a very intriguing and “free-spirited” gentleman at a seminar in Paris way back in January. Olivier Demaegdt was in fact a guest speaker at a room full of bankers contributing his opinion of banks from a client’s point of view. Neither an office, nor a 9-to-5 person, he is one curious entrepreneur prodding at niche ideas and obviously having a ton of fun as he succeeds. Of course his impressions of us bankers were very insightful, however what has stayed with me was his captivating endeavour to save the planet by providing a … Continue reading Adopt a beehive via “un toit pour les abeilles”

That famed street renown for art galleries in Istanbul: Boğazkesen

This afternoon I changed my regular route and decided to stroll from the architecturally enriching, very colourful and except for Sunday mornings, the forever clamorous touristy Istiklal Street down to one of my favourite museums, Istanbul Modern via Boğazkesen Street. Boğazkesen definitely deserves a long account of her stories to be disclosed, all from the history of the current Tomtom Suites, to the presently abandoned home of French nuns of St Joseph’s Orphanage to the myriad art galleries for which Bogazkesen is now well known for. However today she will merely shine through snapshots. Literally translated as “throat slitter” the … Continue reading That famed street renown for art galleries in Istanbul: Boğazkesen