Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Was it really January when I last posted on this blog? Where are the voices of protest at my absence? The disappointment? The concerned enquiries ? Hellooooooo!

So as a kind of protest against your lack of protest I am going to write a post. If you see what I mean..

My absence has been partly because I started work on a book (a task to which I hereby pledge myself to return) but more because I diverted into helping restart the Kültür Evi (Culture Centre) in Kalkan of which more later.

On the bigger stage it has been an eventful five months; in Turkey a game-changing referendum won by the narrowest of margins, in the UK several grim terrorist outrages giving birth to a sinister new development in the twisted world of political terrorism the ”rampaging vehicle”; albeit a threat not completely unfamiliar to those who drive the roads in Turkey.

We have also seen the fall of May in June after her failure to capture the public outrage when an  appalling and preventable fire in Britain’s richest borough saw many of Britain’s racially diverse, poorer citizens burnt to death in their tower block homes. An event that has given further Momentum to the political pendulum ‘s swing in the other direction; Jeremy (no longer Hasbyn) Corbyn’s political life has been lived out in the inner city borough of Islington so he is no stranger to such estates. Totally in his comfort zone he was able to give the rabbit-in-the-headlamps cum scary matron PM a lesson in how to relate to Britain’s urban underclass.

There are lots of wonderful ironies about the rise and rise of Islington Jezza but my favourite is that he divorced his second wife, Claudia Brachitta, because they could not resolve their differences over their children’s education; Claudia preferring a grammar school whereas Jezza wanted the local comp; it was an Islingon comp you will recall that sung the chorus in Pink Floyd’s Brick in the Wall – you know, the one that goes “We don’t need no Education”. So it was probably that one Jezza had lined up for Corbyn Minor. Beautifully symmetrical then that his one time girlfriend and political lieutenant Diane Abbot spent her political life railing against privilege and hypocrisy(vitrifying Tony Blair for cherry picking the State System) and then sent her only son to £10,000 per annum City of London School to protect him away from local bad influences.

It is his ironclad adherence to youthful principles, setting him apart from 99% of the population, that is, I guess, attractive to some people, especially the young,; particularly beguiling in the snake and ladder world of politics where you can go from a safe pair of hands to Maybot in a matter of days; remember the youthful insouciance of Nick Clegg and his deftly staged hand in the pocket for Leaders Question Time in the 2010 elections? That’s the youthfully insouciant Nick Clegg who just lost his Sheffield seat to cheers from fellow Lib Democrats.

But enough of politics. Anyway I am no longer a voter anywhere. Having shipped out of the Auld Sod, I can only watch events here and there with the slight detachment of the disenfranchised.

So the Culture Centre (Kültür Evi) then.

The Kültür EviThe Kültür Evi is one of, if not the, finest historic buildings in Kalkan and was once the residence of the district governor (Kaymakam). The Kalkan Kültür Evi has always hosted art and craft exhibitions through the summer months but became somewhat rundown. This became very clear when the previous manager left and my friend Fatoş was asked to step in. She sought my assistance with the project (I don’t know. Maybe she did not know anybody else?) and the Kaymakam gave his blessing.

So with the encouragement and support of the Kaş Governor and local charitable funding we have had the building repaired and redecorated. To date we have organised a successful Children’s Day festival and we have put on a couple of art exhibitions. But we are keen to develop the Centre as a hub of activity for the benefit of the town and of the somewhat battered tourist economy. Put your hand up if you think Kalkan needs more going on than just bars, clubs and restaurants.

So we are raising money to help us get started.

Firstly we want to have a Juice and Smoothie Bar there serving a great range of healthy and creative drinks. However, besides a significant financial investment this will also require planning, training and set up. So as a short term measure we will install a small café. This will have the double benefit of allowing the Centre to stay open day and evening for its exhibitions as well as creating a meeting point for people. Next year we hope to upgrade the facility. Also by then we will have set up a charitable association or dernek, like the well established KAPSA

Open air cinemaSecondly we want to set up a pop up cinema in the nearby, small public space overlooking the harbour, so that we can show films and digital events (Glastonbury’s last night would be fun) reflecting in a very broad sense Turkish and International culture, in line with the mission of Kültür Evleri across Turkey.

In the longer term we would like, and already have in principle agreement from both the Belediye (Town Hall) and the Kaymakam, to install a permanent theatre for films and performances at a site further around the bay. The pop-up cinema would be a quick way to test the idea and get something going this season. The idea already has the backing of neighbouring businesses, so it’s time to get going.

As I have been advised that a general appeal is unlikely to get much of a response, I thought I would do one. Here we go;

I cannot guarantee to succeed, nor can I guarantee that there will not be pitfalls along the way  (not least deciding what is and what is not appropriate to screen) but I would really appreciate your financial support in getting this under way.

The sum is not large; 8,000 TL (£1.8k) along with what we have should be enough. We will use the money for a sound system, screen and projector”

My thanks to my neighbour (from Istanbul) in Islamlar for his immediate donation of 500 TL to get us going. Anybody else who is willing to contribute please contact me through Facebook or by email chrisdavies_01@hotmail.co.uk and I can advise you options for transferring lira or sterling.

Help Kalkan  fight back

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