‘Original’ Idea

I have now started to create links from the songs listed in My Repertoire to music videos of the original artists available on YouTube.  Hopefully this will help my followers and readers to enjoy a more interactive experience when reading my blog.  But be warned – don’t expect to hear copycat renditions when I perform, as I do like to sing in my own style.  No ‘Stars In Your Eyes’ for me :D  !!!

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Finding Our Feet

Well, it’s now around six weeks since we moved to our new home here in Calis Beach, Fethiye and the first thing I have to do is apologise for not keeping my blog updated during what has been a very hectic, yet very satisfying and enjoyable period.

As always here in Turkey not everything went smoothly.  It took 10 days to transfer our telephone and internet from Didim to Fethiye (extremely frustrating).  The boot on our car developed a fault and our final journey with a boot-full of our belongings took about an hour and a half longer because we had to keep stopping each time we went over a bump in the road and the boot opened up !! And as far as our gigs are concerned….. well we’ve had some interesting experiences as we try to find our feet in this new and exciting area of Turkey.

A couple of venues in Ovacik turned out to be very unsuitable for us.  One hotel (which shall remain unnamed) was like playing at a kiddies club in Pontin’s and needless to say our mix of classic popular hits went down like a lead balloon !  We should have guessed when the prelude to our show was a half our of kids dancing onstage to the Birdy Song, Agadoo and the Hokey Cokey :D

Two classy hotels from the same international hotel chain started off very promising.  The one in Hisaronu wanted us to sing in their a la carte restaurant during their weekly ‘Steak Night’.  The first week was supported by around 30 customers, but then each week as the attendance started to dwindle we started to wonder what was going wrong.  It turned out that there was no promotion of the gig, and most people didn’t even know we were performing.  The hotel was also holding an entertainment programme in the poolside bar on the same evening which, given that there were many families holidaying there, was proving to be more popular than what the guests perceived to be an expensive dining only experience.  Their sister hotel made a very similar mistake, and despite us performing in the main restaurant in front of around 120 guests, they were drawn away to the pool bar immediately after their food to see an exciting fire-eating and break dancing show.  No competition really huh ?

However, we have found a fabulous venue in Joseph’s Cocktail Bar in Calis Beach.  We have known the owner Joseph for nearly 20 years, since we first came to Calis for the first five or six years of holidaying in Turkey.  He was then a waiter in a local bar and could speak very little English.  What a delight to see him owning and managing his own very successful, and extremely popular bar.  We agreed to do a trial gig for him to see what he thought.  As a drinks-only bar he needed reassurance that he was going to attract enough customers to cover the cost of hiring live singers.  We have now just completed our 4th weekly gig at his bar and the crowds are loving our music – despite the extremely hot and sticky weather conditions !!

Additionally we have now been performing weekly in the mountain village of Uzumlu every Saturday evening for the last three weeks.  Uzumlu is a picturesque village with a large ex-pat community as well as a healthy supply of holiday makers during the height of the season.  It is about a 20 minute drive outside of Fethiye on the mountain roads towards Denizli.  We play at the Park Alya Restaurant every Saturday and the customers are fab, guaranteeing a great night of song and dance every week.  Ali Yaba and his staff lay on a fantastic BBQ including burgers and sausages as well as chicken, liver and a huge selection of salads and mezes.  It is proving to be a very popular night in the village.

Finally we are performing regularly now at Maria’s English Restaurant and Bar, right next door to Joseph’s in Calis.  It is a small and very friendly venue which is popular with the Brits due to it’s typically British fare – steak and kidney pie, fish and chips, cottage pie, liver and onions etc.  The heat of July and August though is sadly stifling the appetite for dancing…… but not for the grub.  Hopefully we can get more people onto their feet as we move into September and some cooler evenings.

So, after six weeks we are starting to find our feet in the area.  Perhaps we might pick up another one or two venues towards the back end of the season and maybe even a winter gig or two.  And then next spring we will start to do a bit of prospecting for our summer 2013 venues.

Very happy with the way things are going, and I think we are starting to build a good reputation amongst the holidaymakers, the bar and hotel owners, and the ex-pat community.  We are very grateful for their support and look forward to entertaining in the Fethiye area for some time to come.

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A Change Is As Good As A Rest

Well, after 2 years of deliberating, and a moment of enlightenment and inspiration one Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago, me and Glen have made arrangements to move to Calis Beach in Fethiye on the 29th June.

Having checked out a few other areas over the last 2 weeks of travelling, we have decided to return to the place of our ‘baptism’ in Turkey – Calis was the very first place we visited in Turkey when we came to this beautiful country on our very first holiday 20 years ago.  You can get more information by clicking on this link http://www.calisbeachturkey.com/category/calis-beach

Over the coming weeks I will be changing the links and layout of this blog to include links more appropriate to the Fethiye area, as well as links to my new gig venues.  I will also be archiving or deleting the previous links to Didim/Altinkum/Akbuk sites and pages.

A huge thank you to all my friends and followers in the Didim and Akbuk areas over the last few years, and please do drop in to see me and Glen perform in one of our new venues if you happen to be visting the Fethiye area.

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Off to a Flying Start !

With just my two regular holiday complex venues, Golden Park and Aqua Vista, to start in the next few weeks, my 2012 season has got off to a fantastic start !  So thanks to everyone who has so far shaken off the winter blues and come along to hear me and Glen perform.

Last night was our first night of the season at the Cavern in Altinkum.  An appreciative audience gave us fabulous feedback about how enjoyable their night was, so thanks for your very kind words.  I especially loved the request for some Engelbert given that I love singing his songs, and I hope he appreciates what I am doing to promote his quest for victory at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest :)

As for the dancing last night….. well the Duracell rabbit had nothing on the guy who danced continuously throughout the night.  I was exhausted watching him as I sang, and he was still dancing to the disco tunes from the DJ desk an hour after I had finished and was downing my third alcoholic beverage of the night !

My other venues have been superb too.  The diners at Lush Bar and Cafe have enjoyed delicious meals and then worked off those extra calories with some energetic after-dinner dancing.  Two weeks now of a good crowd with some great movers on the dancefloor (as well as outside on the terrace), has given us a huge lift and raised our hopes of a good season.

U2 Leon’s Bar was packed last Monday night for our debut gig at this new venue.  Always a popular bar with the ex-pats and holiday home owners, we had a superb night there, and enjoyed our usual mixing with the crowd afterwards for a laugh and a joke over a few beers.  I am hoping this venue will be a very popular gig amongst our followers and the ‘locals’ as it is a really good atmosphere in this bar.

And of course, last but not least, there is the superb Pasa in Akbuk.  Last week we were inside as it was still quite chilly outdoors.  But this never deters the audience from getting to their feet and having a few boogies.  This venue is definitely a favourite of mine, as the diners are always ready for a good night of song and dance after enjoying a culinary delight from Pasa’s fabulous menu, and watching the gorgeous sunset over Akbuk bay.  Bring on tonight at Pasa, where hopefully we will be outdoors given that the sun has now decided to start warming up our Mediterranean air.

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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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