Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Istanbul, in the rain. It's really only possible to get fleeting impressions of a city this big in the time we had, but I think I want to go back. It's a very male city, full of history and heavily politicised with a demonstration of some kind every day we were there, although that activity was mainly a protest against the Israeli action against a Turkish ship in the Gaza aid convoy. The 24 hour news channels, and I counted five on my little hotel telly alone, were inevitably full of this story. Infact they weren't covering anything else.

The more I experience Turkey the more I like it. The food is great for one thing, and the people almost invariably welcoming. And Istanbul is way more sophisticated than I'd been expecting. If you're there have a drink in the ultra chic bar in the city's Museum of Modern Art, overlooking the Bospherous with all the ferries and container ships passing as you sip your Efe's Pilsner.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Back in 2008 I wrote this about a brilliant blogger who called himself Bete De Jour:

"For a few weeks now I've been reading Bete De Jour's blog. Bete is supposed to be a very overweight and (he says) ugly chap whose lovelife is a non starter and who very much wants to lose some weight and get his life back.To say the blog is masterfully written is an understatement; ....But my problem (ianasmuch as I care, which I don't really) is that it's now getting too good and I'm thinking, he's just got to be a pro.He reads a lot like Irvine Welsh or maybe William Leith when he was writing some of his profoundly uncomfortable self revelatory stuff in the Independent way back in the day. There's also a companion blog, which seems to be by a friend of his who has MS. But which I rather suspect is also a creation of Bete's, who lives a very incident filled life......"

Anyway turns out he really wasn't what he said he was. He wasn't extraordinarily ugly, he was instead rather normal looking and wasn't single, he had a girlfriend. Some of his readers may feel cheated but I don't. He did seem to me to be almost TOO good at writing and some sort of mental klaxon I've developed as a hack went clanging away during some of the posts. He's outed himself here; I wish him all the best. Anyone who'll go on GMTV with a bag on his head deserves to sell a lot of books.