André Rieu was in Istanbul (I)
BELGİN AKALTAN – email@example.comThe advantages of living in a big city: André Rieu may come to town.
I put on my earphones and listen to him every hour I am awake at work. Like everybody else in our huge open office, music coming from our earpieces shuts us from the rest of the newsroom and helps us concentrate on our work. André Rieu is my favorite. I love listening to him… How nice his music is. How nice the guy is.
I mean, he is really cute. Nice. Sexy. You want to do naughty things with him.
His warm personality, the exceptionally friendly relationship he has with his musicians, the harmony in his orchestra, the warmness spreading from the stage to the audience, the vibe noticeable around him… I mean the question comes to my mind: Is he sleeping with the beautiful girls in his orchestra? (Yeah, I’m Turkish, what do you think? When we see beautiful girls and beautiful men together, when we see them having fun, we can only think of sex. Dirty, illegitimate, secret sex… The kind that requires police intervention…)
When the André Rieu concert was on billboards months ago, I calculated I could never make it. I am terrible at organizing myself. Buying tickets beforehand and planning for an event is absolutely the opposite of me. I need a personal assistant; though my one and only experience with an assistant did not go well. (Hi, Arijeta.) I was assisting her more than she was assisting me.
I was quite sure I wasn’t going to be able to make it. Then the date got closer and closer. I was more and more in love with Rieu. I mean his music and character. And yes, he does look very, very and very sexy. Not to be able to go to his concert when he comes all the way to Istanbul just because of lack of planning is not acceptable in any culture.
I started putting pressure to our culture editors Beril and Hatice: “Look, if free tickets come for André Rieu concert, I want them.” They said that nowadays not many invitations are arriving in our direction.
Then a minor miracle happened. Beril and Hatice told me that there was a draw organized for some 14-double tickets for the André Rieu concert. Our HR department frequently draws lots for tickets for these kinds of events. I sent my mail at the last minute, five minutes before the deadline. And I won. I never win anything whatsoever; ever, only if you don’t count the puppy we won years ago at a draw at an anniversary party at a dog farm. We could only keep him for one week. But here, the topic is the André Rieu concert, not the dog that we had for one week that we named Kırçıl…
Since I won two tickets, being a good officemate and being a truehearted person, of course, I offered the other ticket to Beril and Hatice, because they were the ones who told me about the draw in the first place. Neither was able to come.
Then I told my son that I had a ticket for the André Rieu concert. He said, “Who?” Then it was my brother’s turn. (My husband was in Moscow.) My brother started nagging at that moment and has never stopped up to this day. He said André Rieu was a charlatan. Even though millions like his fun classical music, my brother did not like his turning of classic performances into clowning. He was not a real classical music performer, etc. etc.
My sister was envious. She wanted to come. So, my brother abdicated from his seat for the sake of my sister. But she was not able to come because of her husband’s medical problem, which turned out to be fine later. But she did not feel in the mood.
So the ticket went back to my brother. Meanwhile, six people were waiting in line in the office in case my brother refused.
The concert was at the Sinan Erdem Sports Hall. Where the hell is that and how do you go there? I work in one of the elite districts of Istanbul, called Bağcılar.
I asked around and learned how to get there. I took the company shuttle on that evening in one of the most terrible Istanbul traffic jams. Four people plus the driver in the shuttle were helping me get to my destination on time. I arrived on time but it was pure coincidence. It was poor Zuhal, a young mother who kept her baby waiting at home just to help me. She put me in a strayed taxi that shouldn’t even have been there. The taxi accidentally took me. He asked me whether the area around Sinan Erdem was jammed. I don’t even know where Sinan Erdem is. He asked his fellow taxi drivers on his radio the same question; they answered him “No.” So we went. As we got nearer the taxi driver was mad at his friends for having misled him. Half of Istanbul must have been there.
The taxi driver asked me whether there was a match. I said, “No, there is a concert.” Who? He was expecting a name such as Serdar Ortaç, or I don’t know Hayko Cepkin – Who is Hayko what? I said, “Yabancı” (Foreigner), implying he wouldn’t know. (I avoided the conversation that was likely to happen if I had said André Rieu.) Am I “cool” or not?
This is life in Istanbul – just try and get from one place to the other at the rush hour or any other hour. I am born and raised in Istanbul and I don’t know how to get to Sinan Erdem from Bağcılar.
Hundreds of people were late. When they walked in, André Rieu told them, “You are late… We came all the way from Holland…” Yes sir, you may have come all the way from Holland but, sir, this is Istanbul. You cannot come from Bağcılar.
I am the last person to write a concert critic in this paper, actually in the whole Hürriyet Group. Maybe, in the whole of Istanbul. This is not an art critic but just my impressions...
My utmost impression: André Rieu MUST be sleeping with a few of these beautiful girls…
I think he talks with his violin, or makes the violin talk. His music takes you away, to other lands…
As a last note: Dear André Rieu, sir. Your translator was horrible, sir. She could hardly reflect your light. She was nice and sympathetic and maybe good in technical words, but gosh, when you said there were 9,000 people in the audience she translated it as 90,000. It is a sports hall, not a stadium. She was not able to catch up with your dynamism, sympathy, wit. I can translate better, sir. Let me translate for you when you are in Istanbul again in 2014…
The concert, yes… I was going to write about the concert. Well, wait until next Saturday.