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Monday, January 14, 2008

Being Busy With Tarkan

Reported by Ali Yıldırım, writing in for Adelind Osmanlı (on holiday in Hong Kong)

Taking a long look back to a week of Tarkan stories in the Turkish press, two notable female columnists Pakize Suda and Perihan Mağden have dipped into their electronic inkwells to come out on the side of the Turkish pop star.

Writing for newspaper Hürriyet, Suda's 10 January article takes to task those that criticise Tarkan for underestimating his fan base.

Stressing that he has "limitless credit" amongst die-hard fans, she also rose to Tarkan's defence by claiming that even though international stars such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley hadn't constantly changed image or sound, Tarkan was forced to constantly re-invent himself.

"It's our fault," she exclaims. "We don't allow anyone to stay the way we love them. We're constantly provoking them. And what can they do, but constantly try to change."

In columnist/novelist Mağden's article, for left-wing newspaper Radikal, she adds herself to the list of those seeing 2008 in with Tarkan's 2007 TRT performance this year. Mağden had interviewed Tarkan in 2001 in a rare insightful report about the artist's childhood and music.

Written in light-hearted terms, she jests that she was too busy with wondering why there was no one to mop Tarkan's very sweaty brow, rather than the general criticisms recently plaguing the star.

"Was his shirt and stuff synthetic? (Didn't he have a T-shirt to wear?) Was there no air conditioning? Were the assistants asleep? ... So why am I writing this? Because Tarkan grabs our attention... because Tarkan's a STAR! ... Be it with his sexual flagrancy, his appeal, his eyes, his stance, his silly dances, Tarkan's a star, he'll always be a star! Wherever in the world he'd have been born Tarkan would be/have been a star. For example, I hear Johnny Depp is from Kentucky. I wish Tarkan had also been born in Kentucky. Sang in English and danced in Turkish."

The real essence of Mağden's article suggests that the criticism and buzz constantly surrounding Tarkan is an essential ingredient of A-list stardom, a love-hate-love interest with the public, while the celebrities themselves act with the naivety of babies.

"We're busy with Tarkan; we always want him to do better/go forward/move on to better places. However much he may give us, we're always hungry for more. However hard he may try, we always do the "More!" thing ... Yet, if truth be told Tarkan ... is too much a newborn babe, too clean, a soul too much in need of guarding, protecting, loving and adoration! It makes me crazy. For this world, [such celebrities] are too sensitive, too shielded and too transparent! Just like the Marilyn Monroe thing!"

Comparing stars to babies who we want to follow and protect with their every step, and yet sometimes get so frustrated that we want to have nothing to do with them, Mağden suggests that this "never ending baby syndrome" applies to only a few people.

"That is why they are so few stars," she concludes. "And Tarkan is one of them."

Songs That Take Time To Brew Like Tea

Tarkan flying to Dubai for a breakAside from the columns, TV news agencies NTV-MSNBC and CNN Türk ran a January 10 news lead about Tarkan, with the now usual airport report he is known for, as the artist and his partner flew to Dubai to go on to the Maldives for a holiday break.

Asked about his 2007 album Metamorfoz, Tarkan is reported to have said, "It's going very well at the moment, it will get even better. My songs brew like tea, they get better with time. Give it time, you'll appreciate and enjoy the taste even more. And don't let it be said that just because no other artists featured on my album that I'm not on speaking terms with anybody. This time I simply wanted the album to be made-up from my own songs."

In response to a reporter asking whether he was upset with any journalist or singer that had made negative criticisms about the TRT new year show, Tarkan replied, "No, I'm not upset with anyone. And I'm not the type of guy that holds a grudge anyway."

Osmanlı will be back next week.

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