Fast particles of time and space

August 16, 2013

How fast things change, move, evolve, shift, redirect. I am constantly amazed by this fact which is the reality of Istanbul. There is no making plans, no predictability. Like a wave on the ocean, the word wave suggests a thing, object but actually that thing never really exists as it is the description of motion of shifting particles giving the illusion of a whole, of an object we call wave…


Yesterday I thought I had a steady show booked every Thursdays at Leyla Teras, yesterday that did not exist anymore. This is just one single, insignificant thing but a good example of the shifting reality.  Yesterday 400 people were killed in Egypt. Yesterday there was a demonstration on Istiklal and the police did not intervene. No gas, no TOMA… Yesterday, yesterday this that and the other thing… Yesterday, is gone. Today, well, it is going to be one minute after the other, one experience after the other and again it will shift and the future will be altered at high velocity.


Is it just me? I don’t think so. I’ve heard others commenting on that. I think our world is accelerating. Throttle on, shift, 4th, 5th, 6th gear… hear the whine of the engine. Yes, the life here reminds me of a motorcycle ride, every moment one has to be on. Ready. Willing. Flexible.


I was coming back from a rehearsal at around 8 last night, taking a dolmuş (A kind of minibus) from Beşiktaş back to Taksim Square. Oh, rules of this society, where are you supposed to sit… I’m still not sure sometimes where, what and how, but so far I have not blundered too badly. Women sit next to women on the buses and subway, on the dolmuş the space is limited… There seem to be an unspoken rule as to how to sit next to each other… The drivers swings that thing around the bends up the hill to Taksim. At one stop light, an angry man standing in the middle of the road yells at the closed window of another dolmuş next to us, I can’t understand anything he says, a child inside that dolmuş, wide eyed, watches the man. I can only see the back of the head of that man, short black shaven hair and the reflection of the right side of his face in the window, his dark eye, the white of it… We take off, leave it all behind.


The sight of Istiklal takes my breath away… the sun is down but there is still light, the street is packed. Packed from side to side, heads, bodies, clothes, colors, shoulder to shoulder, as far as you can see. It’s dizzying. I will walk through this??? I have my guitar on my back and my little amp that I hold with one hand… It seems impossible. Yet, I progress, at a fairly quick pace. I practice gliding, yeah, like on the bike, smoothly progressing, finding lines and open spaces. It is incredible that so much randomity, so many wills, directionalities, changes of mind actually work, everyone moves, no one crashes into one antoher. Music comes out of every store, bar, restaurant. Ice cream sellers yelling and banging rhythms that would make any drummer envious with the long thongs they use for the ice cream.   Lottery salesmen shouting…   Amazingly, we all keep moving towards our individual goals…


I feel like I am a cell in a large artery to the heart of some giant.  Along with all the other cells, red, white blood cells, antibodies, bugs, H2O…  We do not know that our fates are all interrelated in this mad course.  We are individuals, we are cellular, we are part of a whole, insignificant and meaningful all at once…  What is this entity we are part of?


At Galata Saray, there a huge amount of police in riot gear and with plastic bullet guns, police busses, a TOMA.  I don’t like the sight of them all.   At this point there are so many bodies in this artery, even the side streets are filled wall to wall with every possible kind of human being. Veiled, unveiled, men, women, children, tourists, locals, young guys, old guys… I keep moving.




On the way I stopped at the Chillout.  My little Chillout family.  I finally eat. I’ve been trying to keep things to one big meal a day besides a late breakfast of fruit and simit. It’s so hot these days it’s hard to eat anything. I get falafel from Pepitto’s, say hi to everyone. After a while I head home… yeah, home… kind of a sweet thing to say. On my way there, I meet with Tuba, and I have to smile; I am meeting a friend on an Istanbul street… that too is very sweet. So very sweet.


At home I turn on the laptop and I learn that there will be no show at Leyla Teras on Thursday night. I’m a bit disappointed, but in all truth that is better. I got myself involved with another musician’s project and the show is Saturday as of today, there are still half of the songs that are not written yet. At rehearsal I realized that I was going to have to work pretty hard to get the music down… this cancellation is giving time to do so…


As I look at my Facebook page I see that it is Asbjorn’s birthday. Happy Birthday Asbjorn! Swiftly, almost brutally my memory transports me in time, a year ago only… I had crossed the continent on two wheels, heart broken, lost, beaten,  high on a kind of pain I could not get rid of… The intensity of the memory hit me with a resonant slap. Wow. A year ago…


I thought of Asbjorn, of these incredible moments we had. Of how the King of Bears was there for me. I recall his birthday party, at Jack’s… California, those endless days. Who am I now? I don’t know yet. Much has healed since then and if not healed fully, seriously faded. Seems like dreams from another dimension. So much is shifting, like the life here. Am I just a mirror? Reflecting my surroundings? Or are the surroundings a reflection of who I am?


I sit here in the shade, yet again, having my double espresso at Kahve Dunyası (coffee world) where the waiter surprised me yesterday by bringing my double espresso without me having to ask. A regular I have become. In front of me, the Golden Horn, a slight breeze touches me as Istanbul buzzes around. Women wearing headscarves, zillions of taxis, waiters bringing food to some home somewhere, water deliveries on hand carts pushed by wiry men, the sound of car horns, a boy carrying construction materials, more impatient horns sounding, tourists, the ubiquitous smell of cigarette, sounds of construction, rubber on cobble stones…


A dog sleeps in this one shady spot, next to the Şişane metro station. Everyday he is there, that is his spot. I pet him, he seems thankful.


I will finish here and head back home, work on the songs for Saturday then head for rehearsal. I will have a lesson on Friday. I have not been playing the bağlama… I’ve just been trying to keep up and rest, catch up on sleep… I am feeling a bit off track. I am trying to keep up with life’s lessons, directions. Life’s whispers showing the way, prodding me gently this and that way so I can learn some more.


Last night I had great conversation with my new room mate, Mica, the Italian bass player-film maker. In the face of the uncertainty of the world, of our fates, of the political shifting scene here all we can do is be fully in the Istanbul moment, the flitting, shimmering, Istanbul moment where anything can happen and everything can change in the blink of a eye.


One Response to “Fast particles of time and space”

  1. connie pryor Says:

    Hi Danielle
    That was a great blog. Very interesting. Yes I agree sometimes things do change very quickly in the blink of an eye. But then sometimes its for the best. Keep up that beautiful music & be safe. Your a very courageous woman & strong woman. Safe travels to you!!!!

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