Leaving work, i decided to go to Taksim, the city centre, on foot. On the day of the UEFA final, buses or the subway were already out of question. Arriving at Taksim, i saw the disctrict was all in red, Liverpool fans all over the place, on the streets, in all cafes and bars. Even on trees. I saw a fan who has made himself comfortable on a tree branch, drinking his beer. Those who have preferred to stay safe on the ground also had beers in hands. They were all red and drank beer. As reported in a local newspaper, the beer stocks of the whole district (not only taksim, but the whole European side!!!) were already emptied by afternoon. So, the UEFA final match was the biggest international sports event istanbul has ever hosted and 25th of May will also be recorded as the day of extreme beer consumption. cheers to liverpool.
this does not directly have to do with istanbul, (except for the fact that the singer&entertainer i will mention – i.e. fatih urek – “often appears in the trendy bars of istanbul.“) alright so it goes: fatih urek, a gay singer makes a bid to host the kirkpinar yagli guresleri turnuvasi (the national tournament of male oil-wrestling). then comes the controversy. male oil-wrestling is a traditional sport symbolling manhood and bravery and a gay host would overshadow the matches, say the deputy members.
two half-naked men with bodies covered in olive oil wrestling for hours may be associated with bravery, courage etc. for many, and directly with sexuality for others. the deputy members are surely aware that male oil-wrestling has become a fetish for many gay men in turkey and abroad, they just do not like it when it is explicitly mentioned. back in 2000, they were also outraged to hear that the Bears of Turkey were organising a trip to the tournament. they tried to have the outing stopped, the sports federation chairman even said that they found this disgusting; here is a report from the archives of the bears. don’t know if they succeeded back then. back to today and the fatih urek controversy: the mayor of kirkpinar has publicly invited gay people to attend the tournament as spectators. as for fatih urek, he sure will not be prohibited to make a bid, but seriousness and solemnity is required and his chances are low, said a former Aga (turkish term for the tournament host). next, you see urek contemplating his chances for being elected.
ulus baker, sociologist, philosopher and deleuze expert, held a lecture yesterday entitled “deleuze and cinema” at mimar sinan university. it was a horrible, rainy may day and i missed it. for those whose have also missed it, another lecture entitled “spinoza and us” will be held today at bilgi university. next week, ozcan yilmaz will talk about cinema at msu; a screening of the movie “the seven samurai” by kurosawa will follow.
istanbul’s being the only city in the world which is located on two continents is a gem for those who want to astonish foreigners. “i live in europe, work in asia” or vice versa is a favorite (and believe me, way too outworn) starter. trivial everyday experiences for the locals, maybe interesting bits for some others. now we have a new one: yesterday, on may 15, the first tennis match on two continents was played on the bosporus bridge. venus williams and ipek senoglu played for about five minutes. i have no photos of the event, but here is a nice one.