All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015

TEA OVER THE BOSPHORUS

A couple of years back I had a dream about being in Constantinople - or rather in a version of the city that had survived into some strange alternate version of the future. The next day I tried to capture it in a song which later metamorphosized into something else but today I looked up the original rather rough demo which is here if you like.

In waking life, I have never been to Istanbul so it was a great pleasure to be invited there this weekend and indeed to see so many people dancing at the show. I was surprised to hear from our friends there that this is quite unusual in Turkey. But apart from the odd dream, I only really know the place from rumour, imagination, occasional news reports and the memory of reading the story of Belisarius as a child. Thanks to Elif, Kerin and Hakan at Tamirane for having us.


The city is soaked in so much blood and history that it almost makes London feel shallow. Thankfully it seems to have managed to somehow retain a degree of mystique through this internet age (where the abundance of information and the sense of mystery appear to be in direct conflict) and yet, like Rome, it has avoided becoming merely a museum or consumable heritage experience for visiting tourists. The very warm and hospitable people, the wonderful spice market, the stone and the sea, the sound and the scent - and of course, that Queen of drinks, Tea.

Sitting up there on the Golden Horn, on the border of Europe and Asia where the Orient Express once came and thinking of Agatha Christie. it was easy to dream of the past.

6 comments:

Matt Tragic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
spillyjane said...

What an absolutely lovely-sounding sojourn! I can only imagine what the spice market must be like in person.

Matt Tragic said...

Hi Stephen,
I spent 10 days in Turkey almost 20 years ago, amazing country. The 10 hour train journey from Istanbul to Ankara was something else. The return journey was an overnight sleeper, fantastic!

Just like to take the opportunity to say I really like your work.

Matt

Sally said...

What a wonderful trip; and a beautifully simple song - your voice is great in that, really clear, tuneful and smooth.

clerkenwell kid said...

Hey, thanks - and yes, it really is a very cool place. I sat with a guy called Hussan in the blue mosque hearing about Islam properly for the first time.

Wonderful stuff

Sally said...

Heheh, sounds like my Uncle Hussan.

It's amazing how similar faiths are - in the end, they are about love and respect - and yet they can lead to conflict; confusing.