Off to a Swinging Start !

Well, last night at Lush Bar in Altinkum was the perfect start to my 2012 season.  We hadn’t expected such a brilliant night given that the resort is still relatively quiet, but it turned out to be a night to remember…..

A lively table of around 10 diners, who seemed to be enjoying a nice quiet meal when we arrived, turned out to be huge contenders for the Britain’s Got Talent crown with their fabulous dancing and then later in the evening their renditions of Penny Arcade and Show Me the Way To Go Home.  Fortunately the choral renditions were AFTER my performance and not during :)

All the other tables in the restaurant joined in with the dancing, and we not only saw some awesome synchronised line dancing from 2 complete strangers, but also a little bit of Burlesque as a couple of guests used the pillars in the restaurant for a bit of pseudo pole dancing.  Finally we were given a taste of Madonna as a couple of ‘bouncy’ ladies lifted their blouses and danced with their ‘cones’ proudly on show.  Hmmmm…..

But the highlight of the night for me was the fact that there were so many guys dancing.  Our usual experience is that the girls get up dancing and the guys stay seated, clinging to their beers, looking nervous in case their partners drag them up onto the dancefloor.  But all credit to you guys….you were fab !

As always, my rendition of Bay City Rollers’ Shang-A-Lang caused a riot with arms waving everywhere – it was just disappointing no-one came prepared with their tartan scarf. Ah well there’s always next week :)

And Glen’s Boy George songs went down a storm.  He has really got them off perfectly.  Hopefully we’ll hear more of Glen as the season progresses…I am so proud of what he has achieved so far.

Join us next week for another great night.  And don’t forget to book a table and dine as the food in the restaurant is divine !

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Better than Eastenders !

So you thought that the storyline of long lost loves, complicated relationships, and holiday romances in the recent Didim Thespian’s play ‘Someone Like You’ was riveting ?  Well it was nothing like real life in Didim I can tell you !

The last few days has seen a deluge of emotion-filled posts on Facebook, both personal and group pages, fuelling raging debate about all sorts of things.  Debate flared about the purpose and popularity of local english language newspapers, as well as the right to open and honest discussion in public forums without censorship from (un)biased page administrators.

Didim is not perfect, people are only human, and there will be disagreements.  But surely as adults we can all try to support the local community instead of continually knocking it (and yes I have also had my moments of moaning and groaning).  Let’s have grown up discussion, no personal abuse, and open sharing of our experiences, good and bad, so that we can all move forward and make Didim a great place to live with and integrate with our Turkish hosts.

A new page on Facebook, Altinkum & Akbuk – Help & Reviews, has been set up with it’s stated intention - “This is a community where we can ask questions, help each other, review things, share hidden treasures and things to do in the local area. An opinion is allowed, please be courteous of each other and no hearsay”.  Let’s use it wisely !

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Didim’s Got Talent !!

A very happy Easter to everyone!  And what a fabulous Easter weekend it has been so far (well almost).

Thursday evening saw the culmination of months of tears and tantrums rehearsing for the musical play ‘Someone Like You’ at the local theatre, with a superb display of amateur thespianism.  Written and performed by local ex-pats right here in Didim, it was a triumph for local talent and a huge hit with an audience of over 200 very appreciative Didimites.  It was also a huge success for charity, with over 2000 Turlish Lira (£750) being raised for the local children’s charity Cocuklar Agalimisin.  Well done to all concerned – Didim surely HAS got talent !

Talking of which, there was a moment of sheer, unforgettable genius during Britain’s Got Talent last night.  Where’s Me Keys, Where’s Me Phone was an absolute corker of a song.  One of those crazy, completely off-the-wall and mesmerising performances that will be talked about for months to come.  And I have no doubt YouTube is hot this morning with tens of thousands of hits on the video.  I won’t be surprised if this ridiculously absurd ditty gets to number one in the charts overnight !!

Good Friday went well for me and Glen with an enjoyable evening at Lush Cafe and Bar with a few dozen diners who were very appreciative of our vocal performances.  The evening was blessed with some lively dancing, including two young dancers on their Easter holidays from school back in Blighty.  They spun and jumped around the dancefloor for an hour or so, energising their older counterparts, until eventually the eyelids of one of the girls grew heavy and finally, sitting on mum’s lap, her head slumped onto the table in front of her and she was in dreamland.  Oh to be 4 years old again !  I do hope they don’t forget our conversation earlier in the evening as Glen and I were setting up, when they promised to bring me some of their chocolate Easter egg when they next visit Didim.

Unfortunately, after suffering toward the end of my Good Friday gig with a sore throat, I spent a few hours in bed on Saturday with a sore throat and a heavy chest.  The common cold is not unique to the UK – despite the weather warming up nicely here in Turkey now.  Sadly, we missed the opportuinty to attend our very first Turkish wedding in the nearby farming town of Soke.  But our congratulations go to our friends Jess and Orhan anyway, and I hope the evening went well for you and your guests.

And so to Easter Sunday.  Full of the cold, with a sore throat and heavy chest, I have been asked to perform for a group of apartment owners at the Aqua Vista holiday complex tonight.  A short-notice phone call last night as I was sniffling and coughing, a brief conversation, and as always me being ‘easy’, and there you have it another gig for the weekend.  So now I have to go and make decisions about which songs to perform.  I must choose some that will be kind to my throat, in order that I can be kind to their ears :)

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Propping up !

Weeks of rehearsal are now over and the butterflies in the stomach are starting to flutter.  And the excitement of dressing up kicks in!!   With two days to go before the live performance of Someone Like You, today is the full dress rehearsal.   The last few days have seen frantic searches of the wardrobe to find appropriate attire, mooching around ‘tack’ shops looking for accessories and materials suitable for making my flamboyant headgear, and frequent messages on Facebook between fellow cast members pleading for various odd bits and pieces that are not easily available in Turkey.  Oooh…sorting out the props is one of the best parts of the experience……and I can’t wait to see what other cast members have geared up in, ‘cos I feel sure we will be rolling around in the aisles in fits of laughter!

So if you haven’t got your tickets for the show yet, have I tempted you?   The cast and director have put in hours of hard work (and fun!) preparing for this play, and all proceeds are going to a very worthy local children’s charity.   It’s a very first for Didim, and even if things do go slightly awry on the night, it will be a fab night of unique entertainment.

Come along and give us your support.

 

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Didim ‘Springs’ to Life

Oh My God !  The short, cold, damp winter here in Didim has suddenly come to an end.  And along with the blossom on the fruit trees, the sudden burst of colourful wild flowers along the roadside, and the influx of young, dark, handsome men from other parts of Turkey looking for seasonal work, my life seems to have sprung into overdrive too.

Rehearsals for the play ‘Someone Like You’ three times this week; an opening night for U2 Leon Bar on Thursday night; a leaving party on Friday night; new songs to learn for my Easter Friday gig at Lush Bar; the ‘Someone Like You’ performance on April 5th; two wedding invitations for the first two weeks in April; three other venues kicking off during April; preparations for my showcase evening in Didim later in the month; and all on top of trying to clean the villa so we can sell it !!

Meanwhile the whole town seems to be getting busier by the hour, and parking spots in the centre of town are already becoming increasingly difficult to find as many Turks arrive in town for the summer months.  It’s going to be impossible when the tourists also arrive.  It’s a good job I’m within walking distance of the shops, the banks and the bars :)

But hey, that’s what living in a tourist resort is all about.  And of course I love the buzz when the place gets busy and as the excitement builds towards a full calendar of gigs for the forthcoming season.

Let’s hope the local Belediye (Council) can get the beachfront finished in time for the tourists arriving and that this season can be a huge success for Didim and for me and Glen.  So looking forward to seeing many old friends and making lots of new ones !

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Giving Eurovision ‘The Hump’

It’s been a long dry period for the UK in Eurovision, with ‘Love Shine A Light’, performed by Katrina And The Waves, bringing home glory in 1997 with victory in Dublin.  Since then the UK has had some of it’s worst placings in the contest’s history (perhaps due to the apparent politics happening within the voting process!)

In 1957, Patricia Bredin sang the very first UK entry in the contest, with a song called ‘All’.  It also happened to be the only English language song in the contest that year.  Since then the UK has been represented by many big names including the likes of Matt Monro, Sandie Shaw, Cliff Richard, Lulu, Olivia Newton-John, The Shadows, Brotherhood Of Man, Bucks Fizz, Michael Ball, and Blue.  The only year in which the UK received the infamous ‘nul points’ was in 2003 when a group from Liverpool called Jemini finished in last place in the contest with a song called ‘Cry Baby’.

The UK has a good history in the contest though and is still one of only three countries to have won five times.  Ireland hold the current record with seven wins overall.  The UK winners have been:

1967 – Sandie Shaw – Puppet On A String
1969 – Lulu – Boom Bang-A-Bang
1976 – Brotherhood Of Man – Save Your Kisses For Me
1981 – Bucks Fizz – Making Your Mind Up
1997 – Katrina And The Waves – Love Shine A Light

Well I have to say the 2012 UK entry, a soft ballad from Engelbert Humperdinck called ‘Love Will Set You Free’ is definitely not in the same style as our previous winners.  Click on this link to listen to it  http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/eurovision/

But will the UK give the rest of Europe ‘The Hump’ and bring home a glorious victory.  I for one love the song and I hope our ‘Gerry Dorsey’ (actually born Arnold George Dorsey) can pull it off !!

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Do I get nervous ?

Well yes a little – and I have to admit that as it is 4 months since my last gig, not only am I nervous about the 15 new songs in my set for tomorrow night’s Mother’s Day gig at Lush, but I am also nervous about my established songs.  I have been rehearsing most of the day today, although I have to say I have found it hard to focus and concentrate for some reason, and been finding it a little frustrating.  It happens – some days are like that !

There is always tomorrow morning, and I will do a full run through just to make sure I am up to scratch with my words.  I’d best be ‘cos the restaurant has booked me now for Good Friday as well.

Anyway, here is my song list for tomorrow night’s gig, and remember you are still not too late to book a table with the restaurant and treat yourself or your mum, or just celebrate the memory of your mum.  Have a great Mother’s Day.

Set 1
Have You Met Miss Jones – Robbie Williams
She Believes In Me – Kenny Rogers
Poetry In Motion – Johnny Tillotson
Make You Feel My Love – Adele
Halfway To Paradise – Billy Fury
You Make Me Feel So Young – Frank Sinatra
Dance With My Father – Luther Vandross
A Certain Smile – Johnny Mathis
Love Me For A Reason – Boyzone (duet with Glen)
Someone Like You – Van Morrison
Dream A Little Dream Of Me – Mama Cass
Back At One – Brian McKnight
So Deep Is The Night – Tony Christie
That’s Life – Frank Sinatra

Set 2
Moondance – Van Morrison
Love Me Tonight – Tom Jones
Beat Again – JLS
I Just Wanna Be Loved – Culture Club (Glen singing solo)
All Night Long (All Night) – Lionel Richie
You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine – Lou Rawls
Take Good Care Of My Baby – Bobby Vee
Rock Me Gently – Andy Kim
Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) – Edison Lighthouse
Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
It’s A Miracle – Culture Club (Glen singing solo)
Never Knew Love Like This Before – Stephanie Mills
There Goes My First Love – The Drifters (duet with Glen)
Love Really Hurts Without You – Billy Ocean
Shang-A-Lang – The Bay City Rollers

Encore
Kissin’ In The Back Row – The Drifters (duet with Glen)
I’ll Go Where Your Music Takes Me – Jimmy James & The Vagabonds
Never Give Up On A Good Thing – George Benson (duet with Glen)
Love Is All – Malcolm Roberts

And that’s it folks.  Hope you enjoy the show.  And don’t forget to wish Glen all the very best of luck with his very first solo public performance ever.  Break a leg Glen !

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Buy your tickets now….

….for the fabulous new play Someone Like You, performed by the amdram group the DTs (supposedly Didim Thespian’s, but has morphed into several other, probably more accurate, titles hehe). The play however is a serious attempt by this group of local ex-pats to entertain the people of Didim with a first ever theatrical production outside of the usual annual pantomime. And believe me it is NOT a pantomime. It is a very entertaining story of lost loves, broken hearts and strained relationships, and how a holiday in sunny Altinkum can solve it all !! Yes I said solve, and I know it’s usually the reverse :)

The play, written and directed by local author Kym Ciftci, contains song, dance, comedy and real drama – an absolute classic mix that promises to deliver a very enjoyable evening of entertainment.

Tickets are on sale from Deli-cious Cafe and Le Figaro hairdressers in Altinkum, or you can obtain them from any member of the cast and crew, including little old me!! They are 10 TL each – a bargain – and all proceeds from ticket sales will go to a local children’s charity ‘Çocuklar Aglamasin’.

Rehearsals are going well, and today I am attending our very first rehearsal on stage at the actual venue. Hopefully we will get some technical issues sorted out today as well as positioning problems associated with rehearsing in offices and bars hehe ! Backing tracks are coming along nicely for the various songs specially written by Kym for this performance, and attached is a link to a sneak preview of one of the songs. http://soundcloud.com/clints-2/backing-track-its-time-in-pink

So come on all you theatre lovers, and those of you who aren’t but still want a good night out, buy your tickets, have a fab night out, and support a local worthy cause all in one hit !

Finally, you can read some of Kym’s musings by following her blog at www.turkeywithstuffin.wordpress.com

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Busy, busy, busy !!

Well what a busy, crazy day it’s been.  Phew!

I drove Glen absolutely mad this morning as he had to listen to my broken vocals as I hummed, squacked, muttered and blasphemed my way through my song list for Sunday – me singing along to my backing music on headphones and him listening to just my dodgy, dulcet tones.  Then off to a friend’s house this afternoon to sort out my new backing track for one of the songs in the upcoming play ‘Someone Like You’ – and what a fab job the musicians and technicians have made of it, not to mention Kym the fabulous songwriter. And then to cap it all, an early evening two hour rehearsal with the cast of the play.

I have now devoured my delicious dinner, had another practice of my new song for the play and am relaxing at my laptop, whilst watching a French film on Turkish TV, unable to understand either of the languages available to me via the overly-compex telly menu.

Tomorrow I have a full run-through of all 34 songs for Sunday night’s gig – the first time I will have tried to sing all of them in one session and without the words.  And Glen will be adding his two solos to the programme as well.  Wish us luck !!  And on Thursday, between further paractice on those songs that I ‘cock up’ on Wednesday and cleaning the apartment, I will be at the local theatre for our first run-through of the play at the actual venue (I am really looking forward to that session).

On Friday Glen and I will be at Lush Bar for a sound check on a few songs.  As we haven’t done a gig since early December we just want to check all is well with our sound equipment and that we have all the settings sorted for each song.  Especially the 15 or so new ones that we will perform for the first time.

So this week is definitely a busy one, and we are now getting excited about the season ahead.  We can’t wait to get into the swing of things again and hopefully keep our audiences well entertained.  We hope that many of you reading this will be able to join us during the summer months.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, there’s another 30-40 songs to learn over the next month to six weeks so that I can keep adding new and fresh material to my sets as the season gets underway. Any requests ??

Now, after writing this, I have just worn myself out (haha) and am off to bed.  Goodnight my friends.

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Someone Like You

On April 5th a group of local ‘thespians’ will be performing a brand new musical play written and directed by Kym Ciftci – and all for the local Çocuklar Aglamasın charity.  The play contains music, dance, comedy and a moving story about lost loves, broken hearts and missed opportunities.  Can the Altinkum sunshine put everything right ?

The cast are currently working really hard in rehearsals.  Some are getting really nervous about their debut singing performances !  But if the performance on the night is full of as much energy as the rehearsals have been then it will be a fantastic night for everyone.  They are all stars.

The venue for this fantastic evening of entertainment is the Ticaret Odasi Theater, which is located along the road between the main boulevard and the hospital, opposite the Sunflower Apartments.  Tickets are 10 TL and they are available from Deli-cious Cafe and Le Figaro hairdressers.  Doors open from 7pm on the night.

Don’t miss this fabulous night of entertainment – a FIRST for Didim/Altinkum – and hopefully only the first of many more performances to come !!

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