Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mr Benn

This piece is a scene from a favourite second hand clothing store By Retro which also apparently provides costumes for film and stage shows. 

Istanbul always seems to to defy stereotyping, it resists a neat category as a 'Middle eastern city, it's probably more Balkan in that sense. It resists being purely classed as a centre of Islam, it's Christian past and secular present both have had a major role in the forming of its identity. It is an ancient city but its past does not overshadow its present. In the same way this bizarre clothing store nestles in the fashionable district of Beyoglu as a witness to the city's diversity despite what many say these days.

The bizarre second hand costume store reminds me of a TV prgramme called 'Mr Benn' where a cartoon straight laced English man enters a magical costume store. Whilst trying on a costume finds himself entering into another world and having a brief adventure only to mysteriously return to his 'work a day' clothes just when the adventure it getting interesting.

You really can pick your own adventure in Istanbul according whichever whim takes your fancy. The city's long history has birthed a dizzying array of cultures and traditions and long may it remain so.

Watercolour on paper

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