• https://youtu.be/eGSaZki8NK4

    I'm wide open, with no glass of wine
    Stuck in a barrel, I'll get better with time
    While you measure how the pleasure declines
    I'm stackin' cheddar while the bread just rise
    With my eyes and my ears glued here on my grind, cutty

  • Şahsiyet (Persona): A Must-See Turkish Cult Classic in the Making

    (Cat Costumes, Serial Killings, and English Subtitles: Turkish TV Series Şahsiyet Has it All.)

    If you watch Turkish TV to learn Turkish or other reasons, you may feel that you’ve sacrificed part of your life for this language. The episodes usually last up to two hours, and the plots can unwind for episode counts nearing the hundred mark. The commitment involved should not be taken lightly. So, I wrote about it for 1k.

    But let’s be clear. I usually stuff my head in books, instead of TV. Series, regardless of where they hail from, always present the risk of putting me in a state mind-numbing boredom. I’m not able to recount any episodes of Game of Thrones, for instance. Why? I’ve never watched it. That said, movies do get me hooked, because the commitment is so much lower. With two hours and a check mark, I can take a movie off my list. It takes a rare unicorn of a TV series to get me to sit down, munch on popcorn, and gaze for hours into the ethereal glow of modern technology’s greatest distraction tool: the screen.

    It’s true, whenever I catch whiff of something odd, eccentric or quirky, I’ll test it out. And these traits are exactly what’s missing from Turkish TV. Or so I thought. Then I begrudgingly accepted my boyfriend’s invitation to watch a brand new show: Şahsiyet. The title means ‘personality’ in English and you can find it on Puhu TV, a channel only available online. It features English subtitles, so you’ll learn lots of Turkish as you watch.

    My boyfriend had tried to explain to me the cult-classic potential of this series by name dropping: It features a legendary theater actor, Haluk Bilginer, who has starred in Nuri Bilge Ceylan films — and one of the Turkish directors currently bringing fresh ideas to the screen, Onur Saylak. A rising star, Cansu Dere, who used to date comedian Cem Yılmaz, has a leading role. Now, if you haven’t already noticed, name dropping famous Turkish people with foreigners has zero impact. The impact is less than zero for me, since I can’t even name the famous actors and actresses in America, where I’m from. It wasn’t until he started to describe the plot that my ears pricked up.

    This show, in brief, is mostly set in Istanbul and centers on a protagonist named Agah Beyoğlu (Haluk Bilginer). He learns that he has Alzheimer’s disease when his faithful feline companion, Münir, dies from his own forgetful neglect to feed him. He buries his furry friend on a cliff overlooking the Bosphorus. Then his psychiatrist gives him a set of principles and guidelines along with some meds to keep it together. But the news brings him an existential quandary. He thinks that with memory-loss, he’ll lose the essential fibers of his being–his personality. On the other hand, he sees it as an opportunity to take revenge by murdering a long list of enemies before he forgets. After that, memory-loss will relieve him of the psychological burden of becoming a serial killer. It has a beautifully strange set up that makes Agah seem less of an old geezer and more of a brilliant criminal mastermind. Actor Haluk Bilginer enlivens this paradox with charm and finesse.

    Agah starts to commit murders, which, disturbingly, all appear to involve his old friends. He pastes their pictures on his wall, creates meticulous files to aid his memory, and leaves messages printed with old filing cabinet labels applied to his victims’ foreheads. All of this filing paraphernalia relates to the fact that he worked for years at a courthouse as a file clerk, a clue which seems important.

    Soon, we learn about another anomalous character. A bad-ass cop named Nevra (Cansu Dere), the only female in the homicide ward, is chosen to investigate and solve the mystery of the killer’s identity. As the plot unfolds, we learn that she, Agah, and all of the victims are all connected in some way to an incident that occurred years ago in a small fictional town on the outskirts of Istanbul called Kambura. But you must wrack your brain to fit the puzzle pieces together as the plot divulges more and more secrets.

    On top of that, Agah’s alcoholic daughter, Zuhal gets a divorce from her husband and returns from Australia to live with her father in his flat with her unruly teenage son, Deva. Now, in addition to the obstacle of pursuing his murders with Alzheimer’s, Agah faces the difficulty of hiding his actions from his daughter and grandson. He starts to use his girlfriend as an excuse to avoid them. This turns out to be one of the most bizarre and comedic serial killer plots I’ve encountered. And spoiler alert: Agah ends up making himself a cuddly cat costume for a disguise.

    Apart from its appealing fantasies such as a strong female police officer breaking the gender mold, the prospect of taking revenge without regrets, and the idea that old age can still be ‘hip,’ this show tackles major contemporary themes that engross Turks. It weaves in the alienation of Istanbul versus the suffocation of secrecy in small towns, the immorality of xenophobia, the silence that surrounds rape, and the fears we face about old age. It also displays more classic material surrounding loyalty, family, and the sparks of love. Meanwhile, the detective mystery narrative hearkens more to the British and American pop-culture imagination. For instance, Turkey has never had a serial killer. This element is obviously borrowed from elsewhere. The combination gives it a hybrid quality that makes it seem as surreal as (for lack of a better word) a unicorn.

    As a bookish person myself, I wanted to know whose imagination this unicorn had spawned from. Lo and behold, none other than Hakan Günday (the Chuck Palahniuk of Turkey) writes the screenplay. Edgy, philosophical, and cool, Hakan Günday is a force to be reckoned with for literature, and now on screen. Whereas most original shows start off with a bang and then wane and fizzle out by the end, the suspense of Şahsiyet holds steady and even intensifies as the many interwoven episodes unfold. Günday has managed to simultaneously tap into the Turkish and international subconscious leaving us with a seriously addictive treat: Şahsiyet. And with no flattery intended, I wouldn’t trade it for anything produced in the U.S.

    Whether you need to revive your interest in Turkish TV, watch a new dizi to adapt to Turkey, or just to pick up some more Turkish, I highly recommend Şahsiyet.
  • “ either peace or happiness,
    let it enfold you

    when I was a young man
    I felt these things were
    dumb, unsophisticated.
    I had bad blood, a twisted
    mind, a precarious

    I was hard as granite, I
    leered at the
    I trusted no man and
    especially no

    I was living a hell in
    small rooms, I broke
    things, smashed things,
    walked through glass,
    I challenged everything,
    was continually being
    evicted, jailed,in and
    out of fights, in and out
    of my mind.
    women were something
    to screw and rail
    at, I had no male

    I changed jobs and
    cities, I hated holidays,
    babies, history,
    newspapers, museums,
    marriage, movies,
    spiders, garbagemen,
    english accents, spain,
    france, italy, walnuts and
    the color
    algebra angered me,
    opera sickened me,
    charlie chaplin was a
    and flowers were for

    peace an happiness to me
    were signs of
    tenants of the weak

    but as I went on with
    my alley fights,
    my suicidal years,
    my passage through
    any number of
    women-it gradually
    began to occur to
    that I wasn't different

    from the
    others, I was the same,

    they were all fulsome
    with hatred,
    glossed over with petty
    the men I fought in
    alleys had hearts of stone.
    everybody was nudging,
    inching, cheating for
    some insignificant
    the lie was the
    weapon and the
    plot was
    darkness was the

    cautiously, I allowed
    myself to feel good
    at times.
    I found moments of
    peace in cheap
    just staring at the
    knobs of some
    or listening to the
    rain in the
    the less I needed
    the better I

    maybe the other life had worn me
    I no longer found
    in topping somebody
    in conversation.
    or in mounting the
    body of some poor
    drunken female
    whose life had
    slipped away into

    I could never accept
    life as it was,
    i could never gobble
    down all its
    but there were parts,
    tenuous magic parts
    open for the

    I re formulated
    I don't know when,
    date, time, all
    but the change
    something in me
    relaxed, smoothed
    i no longer had to
    prove that I was a

    I didn't have to prove

    I began to see things:
    coffee cups lined up
    behind a counter in a
    or a dog walking along
    a sidewalk.
    or the way the mouse
    on my dresser top
    stopped there
    with its body,
    its ears,
    its nose,
    it was fixed,
    a bit of life
    caught within itself
    and its eyes looked
    at me
    and they were
    then- it was

    I began to feel good,
    I began to feel good
    in the worst situations
    and there were plenty
    of those.
    like say, the boss
    behind his desk,
    he is going to have
    to fire me.

    I've missed too many
    he is dressed in a
    suit, necktie, glasses,
    he says, "I am going
    to have to let you go"

    "it's all right" I tell

    He must do what he
    must do, he has a
    wife, a house, children.
    expenses, most probably
    a girlfriend.

    I am sorry for him
    he is caught.

    I walk onto the blazing
    the whole day is

    (the whole world is at the
    throat of the world,
    everybody feels angry,
    short-changed, cheated,
    everybody is despondent,

    I welcomed shots of
    peace, tattered shards of

    I embraced that stuff
    like the hottest number,
    like high heels, breasts,

    (don't get me wrong,
    there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism
    that overlooks all
    basic problems just for
    the sake of
    this is a shield and a

    The knife got near my
    throat again,
    I almost turned on the
    but when the good
    moments arrived
    I didn't fight them off
    like an alley
    I let them take me,
    i luxuriated in them,
    I bade them welcome
    I even looked into
    the mirror
    once having thought
    myself to be
    I now liked what
    I saw,almost
    handsome, yes,
    a bit ripped and
    scares, lumps,
    odd turns,
    but all in all,
    not too bad,
    almost handsome,
    better at least than
    some of those movie
    star faces
    like the cheeks of
    a baby's

    and finally I discovered
    real feelings of
    like lately,
    like this morning,
    as I was leaving,
    for the track,
    i saw my wife in bed,
    just the
    shape of
    her head there
    (not forgetting
    centuries of the living
    and the dead and
    the dying,
    the pyramids,
    Mozart dead
    but his music still
    there in the
    room, weeds growing,
    the earth turning,
    the toteboard waiting for
    I saw the shape of my
    wife's head,
    she so still,
    I ached for her life,
    just being there
    under the

    I kissed her in the,
    got down the stairway,
    got outside,
    got into my marvelous
    fixed the seatbelt,
    backed out the
    feeling warm to
    the fingertips,
    down to my
    foot on the gas
    I entered the world
    drove down the
    past the houses
    full and empty
    I saw the mailman,
    he waved
    at me.”
  • It was the first assurance of belief in him that had fallen on Lydgate’s ears. He drew a deep breath, and said “Thank you.” He could say no more: it was something very new and strange in his life that these few words of trust from a woman should be so much to him.
    George Eliot
    Sayfa 936 - Bantam Classic
  • Sometimes,
    we hate ourselves
    for the
    feelings we
    Maybe that is
    the problem;
    we do not listen
    to ourselves
    until it is
    too late.
  • Closer. Almost to the edge.
    I inhale sharply, the cold scraping at the inside of my lungs.
    He dangles one foot off the end, and the open air makes my throat tighten up. He can’t— “Will! No! Stop!” I shout, taking a step closer to him, my heart pounding in my ears.
    He stops, leg floating off the edge. One more step and he would have fallen. One more step and he would have . . .
    We stare at each other in silence, his blue eyes curious, interested. And then he starts to laugh, loud and deep and wild, in a way so familiar, it feels like pressing on a bruise.
    “Oh my god. The look on your face was priceless.” He mimics my voice, “Will! No! Stop!”
    “Are you fucking kidding me? Why would you do that? Falling to your death isn’t a joke!”