• Books & Lit

    beer hiking switzerland: a test walk

    Lately Zürich, though not especially cold, has been relentlessly grey. Some days the impenetrable, overcast sky seems to descend on your head, which makes it all the more unappealing to move yet all the more important to do so. However, thanks to Monika Saxer, and her book, BEER HIKING SWITZERLAND: The Most Refreshing Way To Discover Switzerland, there’s plenty of motivation to go outdoors. So weather notwithstanding, I decided to test it out over the last week or so. Full disclosure: the book was given to me by its publisher, Hadi Barkat of Helvetiq, but it had already caught my eye at Orell Füssli. Either way, I was inclined to like the title as it’s the kind of idea I wish I had conceived. The book is also attractively designed with superb typography and easy to use, allowing you to choose your journey based on the location or the beer. For my…

  • Art / Design / Craft,  Books & Lit,  People

    basel creators: hadi barkat

    One of the things that is always satisfying about the season ahead, and the memories I have of those behind, are some of the amazing books I have read and the joy of relaxing and playing a raucous game or two together with family and friends. Recently I sat down with a man who has made the pursuit of a good read and an entertaining challenge his business. While working in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a successful CEO coach in the field of venture vapital, Hadi Barkat was also studying to take his Swiss citizenship test. Already responsible for his company’s gatherings and offsite entertainment, he employed the services of a game designer, and decided to brainstorm a way to turn his study into a form of entertainment. Out of this was born Helvetiq, initially a trivia game based on Swiss knowledge, and two years on, a fully fledged Swiss publishing house, committed to…

  • Books & Lit,  People

    konstandinos p. kavafis

    Ιδανικές φωνές κι αγαπημένες εκείνων που πεθάναν, ή εκείνων που είναι για μας χαμένοι σαν τους πεθαμένους. Κάποτε μες στα όνειρά μας ομιλούνε· κάποτε μες στην σκέψι τες ακούει το μυαλό. Και με τον ήχο των για μια στιγμή επιστρέφουν ήχοι από την πρώτη ποίησι της ζωής μας — σα μουσική, την νύχτα, μακρυνή, που σβύνει. (Από τα Ποιήματα 1897-1933, Ίκαρος 1984) Voices, loved and idealized, of those who have died, or of those lost for us like the dead. Sometimes they speak to us in dreams; sometimes deep in thought the mind hears them. And with their sound for a moment return sounds from our life’s first poetry— like music at night, distant, fading away. Yesterday was one of many special days in Yeniköy when the Neo Hellenic poet C.P. Cavafy was commemorated by a huge crowd. Rather than write at length about the experience, I thought I’d post…

  • Books & Lit

    that london book fair

    Today I just wanted to take some time to give a shout out to friend and frequent collaborator, Simon Johnson, who has taken his small, bicycle-delivered cult publication THAT from the streets of Istanbul to Art Dubai and now to the London Book Fair. A special LBF issue is about to hit the presses showcasing just a small portion of this city’s tremendous local talent and will be distributed throughout the fair, which runs from April 15-17 at Earl’s Court. The LBF is one of the world’s most important meetings of agents, publishers and authors, where deals are brokered and fresh talent comes to light. It’s also further indication that print, especially independent print, is still a very meaningful medium of expression. Whether you’re a writer, photographer, illustrator, or artist THAT continues to go places and take its contributors with it. Should you be interested in getting some good press for…

  • Books & Lit,  Places

    Rummaging in the past: Aslıhan Pasajı

    Today was a truly miserable, wet day. On top of that, the weather was bad. Perhaps on days like this there are few better refuges than the world of books. Fortunately, I had a chance between meetings wandering through Beyoğlu to pop into this fantastic pasaj just off the Balık Pazarı. This place is crammed full of interesting books, documents, newspapers and media from another time — to such an extent that you could totally lose all sense of the here and now. A good thing, in my opinion, especially on a day like today.  Galatasaray, Beyoğlu/İstanbul‎  34435

  • Books & Lit

    Let Emel be your guide

    Last night I was happy to attend a book party for the kind of book I normally don’t like: a guide! But this was no boring old Fodor’s or Lonely Planet. Instead these books were prepared by an artist and a true insider of two cities. Published by Jotun and entitled Emel loves Istanbul and Emel love Paris, I’m more than a little envious. Why? Because Emel Kurhan has proven again that no genre or idea is bad or irrelevant if approached with inspiration and style, something she has in an unlimited supply. These guides are really clever, and beautifully executed. Using her own snap shots and immaculately hand-written post-it notes, Emel has re-invented the guidebook for people like me who don’t want use guidebooks and would normally much prefer to just stumble around or find someone who looks much smarter than themselves to show them around in order to avoid being stuck on…

  • Books & Lit,  Food & Drink

    XOXO the Mag

    One of the reasons I’ve been posting somewhat less often these days is I’ve had some interesting work from the  print world. The latest is from the September issue of local Fashion-Music-Art-Design glossy bible XOXO the Mag. In this month’s issue I had the good fortune to work with Turkish wordsmith Lale Kayabey and her chef husband Selcuk Aruk on a food article about Turkey’s Greek community, food and the lifestyle of  Yeniköy living. After photographing the food — savory fish soup, cinnamon and rosemary mussels and rice, and güllaç (rose-flavored rice pudding) we all sat back and consumed it. And believe me, after staring at each dish for so long to find the right shot, you really work up an appetite. Directly above and below are a couple of examples of the food. I look forward to working with this talented team again, and hope to steal some more of their recipes.…

  • Art / Design / Craft,  Books & Lit,  Places

    Salt Galata

    Yesterday I decided I wanted to experience the audio exhibit Translated By, a series of 13 performed excerpts from books, and one original piece, by various writers about different cities and landscapes, some imagined, an exhibit sponsored by the British Council. For the most part, I’m glad I did, although I must admit I skipped over a few whose writing or narration style grated after a couple of minutes. As you tour about Salt Galata, you don your headphones and tune into a numbered channel, one for Istanbul, Tokyo, Baku, the Metaverse—you get the idea—and listen to a passage written about each of these places. I’d recommend it if you have some time. However, when I wasn’t absorbed in these orally rendered landscapes I found myself wondering about the physical space I was in. Ever feel that you really want to like a place but instead leave uncertain what to think? That’s how…

  • Books & Lit,  Places

    The Book Bazaar: Sahaflar Çarşısı

    On rainy days there’s nothing better than taking refuge in a book. Yesterday I escaped a flash downpour in the Old City  under the awnings at the Sahaflar Çarşısı, a book bazaar located right next to the Covered Bazaar’s Beayzıt door.  While the slate sky above lit up and roiled with thunder, I discovered that there’s everything here from university textbooks to religious scripture, out of date travel guides, pulpy pocketbooks, massive coffee table tomes—and even a book claiming it had the inside scoop on the steamy life of Ottoman harems. Most of the stores don’t have a great selection for English readers but there are a few with a decent stock, including Gözen Kitap ve Yayın Evi, which has some splendid art books. As usual if you have cash, you can talk down the price of discovering all those sordid Ottoman Harem secrets. Definitely worth a peruse — the book bazaar,…

  • Art / Design / Craft,  Books & Lit

    Reading List: That Magazine #6

    I’m pleased to announce that another issue of THAT MAGAZINE is hot off the press. Okay, perhaps I’m more than pleased, perhaps I’m a little self-satisfied because my Marmaray photography also landed the cover, and it’s always a nice ego boost to see your work in print. In addition to that there are essays, more of Zeynep Aksoy’s compelling India Emails, some fantastic art spreads and writing from the late Refik Halid Karay (1888-1965) eloquently translated from Turkish by Alexander Dawe. So if you’re here in Istanbul, keep your eyes open. THAT will be appearing again in your favorite swanky little watering holes and eateries.