Friday, July 4, 2008

Why Istanbul?

Back in the days, the center of the universe was not New York City.
It was called Miklagaard in the ancient Scandinavian language spoken by the vikings which was the most well travelled bunch of clubbers, crossing many oceans and distances to party like it was 1999. Their seeds have been spread along the coasts of northern Europe, only to reach the final destination in Constantinople, where they would chill with the sultan and enjoy his many harems, interesting food and welcoming attitudes.

Actually the vikings where making plans to take over the great city, but instead figured out that it would be smoother to work for the sultan as his personal bodyguards. In the Ottoman Empire they did not have too many people of that size and neither did they have too much blond hair and blue eyes. Later on in 16th century, the Swedish King Karl the 12th lost to the Russians at the battle of Poltava. He fled with his closest friends and was hosted by the Sultan that once again wanted to be involved with those friendly Scandinavians that already had made an imprint on the city. Actually an imprint to the extent that if you go up into the top balcony of Haga Sophia, you will see some rather old school tags made by an early rune tagger named Halvdan (trans. half Danish).

Istanbul has been around a couple of thousand years before New York, and if you ever felt that New York had a strong energy of the instant feedback of what every action you take has on your life; Istanbul does too. One can cut the energy right out of the air with a shawarma knife, if one pleases.
If you want something different and had your overdose of London, Berlin, Barcelona and New York; Istanbul is the only answer. But hold on. What about all those dangerous Muslims with backpacks full of bombs? Well, if you think this to begin with, you should stop reading now, and go have a burger.

How is it to be young and creative in Istanbul?
Well, if you ask Ali M Demirel who spends most of his time travelling around the world with Plastikman, aka Richie Hawtin doing his visuals..he might say it is hard for him to find a job where any of the people there understands what he is doing, or can find a way to give him a job he is qualified to do.

Above a Video Trilogy by Ali M Demirel for the music 

Actually, over qualification is a common problem for young academics.
One of the reasons they become over educated is that, as long as you are in school, you can stay out of the army. 18 months of army duty is obligatory for all men in Turkey. This amount of time can--other than being a problem if you have a job with a career going for you--be a rather traumatising time in a young mans life. However, this also creates a very aware youth that lives for the moment. They have dealt with terrorism and wars since they were born. This also creates a strong underground, both in the music and art scene.

above image is the view over Galata Zaray Square and School from the Dogzstar terraz

Kutay Altinoz recently started the live music club Dogzstar together with his younger bother Kutay, after spending many years in the streets of London. He is one of the many Istanbul natives who after 2001 returned to the city to share their knowledge and education after escaping the city in the harsh 90's. Since 2005, Istanbul can be compared to any metropolis relevant for the worlds cutting edge cosmopolitans, artists, slackers and world explorers.

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