André Rieu was in Istanbul (II)
BELGİN AKALTAN – email@example.comI have learned my lesson.
What kind of a person am I to announce so casually that I find André Rieu very sexy? I am a married middle aged Turkish woman and I should just keep quiet about sex. If I want a place in society I should be asexual.
If I want to be respected, I should refrain from being “distasteful and superficial,” I should be in conformity with Turkish morals. I should not be a freebie seeker. How can I insult André Rieu by suggesting he may be sleeping with the beautiful girls in his orchestra? He is a dull, plain man with no sex appeal.
Just some short answers before I move on to the concert:
Dears, André Rieu has a sex symbol status. He sells his sex. When he performs a piece of music it reverberates through his body like a caress, or a shudder, and that playing and conducting is “better than sex,” he has told Liz Jones from the Daily Mail.
He is making love to you from the stage. This is true especially for the post-post-menopausal world. “His hair, his macho cheesiness, the stupendous schmaltziness of his repertoire…” He raises an eyebrow coquettishly… I’m not saying this; it is in the same interview. If I get this right, it only makes me a good observer. Turkish.
Also, Bağcılar, Güneşli, İkitelli, Papatya, Gürpınar, Yakuplu are not Istanbul, my dears. They may pretend to be Istanbul but they are not. If you think they are Istanbul, then you don’t have a clue what Istanbul is.
Do you really think you may find your way in Istanbul by GPS and by Google? Really? Nothing seems to work for this city, sadly.
If you build a sports complex with a capacity of 15,000 people in a busy part of the city without any mass transportation or building extra roads, then of course there will be chaos; which no navigation device can tackle, nor any Dutch mind can grasp.
When I arrived in front of the hall, there were two endlessly long queues. I met up with my brother after six phone calls. My brother kept on complaining that there were only two doors open for thousands of people. (He was right this time.) We found our way in. Then my brother complained that the toilets were so full, with even longer queues. I wanted to buy a bottle of water and also wanted to go to the toilet but it was impossible to do both.
Of course people were late. Even if they arrived on time, it was impossible to get inside on time. Those who decided on the abnormal ticket prices, were they there?
The concert… It was magnificent. OK. They say André Rieu is for beginners. Also that it is easy listening. Fine with me.
The first half was interrupted by latecomers; the second half was interrupted by early-goers. At the end of the concert André Rieu signaled he was finishing and quite a number of people jumped up from their seats to rush out. Idiots. The concert lasted another 50 minutes and the best part was hidden there.
He played Turkish music. I have never enjoyed this much the first two songs that I have heard a million times before. “Üsküdar’a gider iken” was magnificent enough but then came “Hatırla Sevgili”; the entire hall was singing. My ever-complaining brother was singing at the top of his voice together with me “Çamların altındaaaa…” (Under the pine treeeeees…) It was perfect. Nice. Entertaining. He played it again and again. He played “Kasap Havası,” a tune you would dance to at weddings.
We flipped with joy. He said he would come again in 2014. Then the Turkish flag appeared on all three LED screens. It was too much. I’m glad nobody fainted. As Müjde Yazıcı from Milliyet wrote, he intoxicated the audience with his shower of gestures.
Oh, I don’t know if I should write this or not. Prime Minister, they drank champagne on the stage at the end of the concert. Sue them. Lock him up. They have acted against the new alcohol restrictions; they are setting a bad example to the youth. Your minister Egemen Bağış was there. Didn’t he tell you? They drank alcohol on stage, in a public place. Ban him from coming back to Turkey. File a suit against him. It is a sin. It is against our character and our traditions.
The real disaster began after the concert. Way past midnight, 9,000 people walked to their cars. They had to wait a full hour to reach the main road when there is only one vehicle exit for a giant hall like this?
Once you stepped outside the hall, the smoke and smell of köfte (meatballs) from street vendors greeted you. After an André Rieu concert. This is Istanbul.
The traffic was again locked. There is no metro, no public transportation from Sinan Erdem, for those who may wonder. The parking lot was jammed. No car was moving.
The place is in between two metrobus stops. Me and my brother, because we could not cross the highway like a typical Turkish person, had to walk to the metrobus stop furthest away; that is Bahçelievler. We started walking by the side of the highway E-5, then up a path alongside the E-5. It is around 1 o’clock. There were fences right next to us, many parts of it broken. And then I noticed they were the outer edge of the Bakırköy Mental Institution, the oldest and the largest in Istanbul. The images of escaped patients approaching us and snatching my bag were dispersed by my brother’s voice: “Why are you walking at this running pace?” Oh, well, because of my fear… At 1 o’clock? Near the E-5? Near Bakırköy Institution? Of course I’m afraid. Our officemate Andrew was mugged one week ago. His expensive phone was taken, at Tophane.
The parking lot, we could see from a distance, was still not moving. (Who are the idiots now?) When we reached the stop at Bahçelievler, it was as if we had just completed a tough triathlon track. I was home at 2 o’clock.
Was it worth it? Oh, yes, it was. I’m ready to pay twice for the tickets, fight Istanbul traffic and run the decathlon afterwards at the next concert in 2014.
And I want to sleep with André Rieu.