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Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Curse of the Dancing Men

Editorial by Mark Mayhey reporting from London, UK
(Special thanks to David Long)

As anyone who has spent even one day at Tarkan Deluxe will know, Tarkan was taken in for questioning by narks last month, on suspicion of drug running (no - don't laugh) or at the very least possession. He spent a long - some say cosy - weekend in custody. I say, so what.

Look at the late Johnny Cash. He was in and out of the jug all the time, but usually only so he could entertain the inmates. Elvis and the Blues Brothers spent a bit of time behind bars too, but only for the cameras.

In all seriousness, however, plenty of celebrities have fared less well, sometimes appearing being hauled up on fairly minor charges - such as possession - but at other times being charged with really serious crimes such as sexual assaults on minors, drug running, kidnapping and even murder.

Subsequently, after answering a few of the public prosecutor's questions, and released at the court's pleasure, in my opinion if Tarkan didn't have a little ounce of that patriotic blood in his veins the Turks are famed - infamously - for, then I'm sure he'd have the police up for unlawful detention.

Because in my book, no one should get detained for four days just for questioning, irrelevant if its the weekend and the court only works weekdays, for example. Then having the police detain you on the weekend just makes it seem malicious - although I'm not putting weight to conspiracy theories. There's enough pap lightweights in Turkey doing that already.

But looking at it in that light, I'm more inclined to believe it when I read official sources told Tarkan Deluxe that it was Tarkan who cancelled his performance for the police ball, rather than it being the other way around as the Turkish variety reports have so gleefully been trumpeting about.

Plus on the subject of trumpeting, a cocaine using colleague working for Turkish daily Akşam, Yiğit Karaahmet had been moaning about his treatment compared to that of Tarkan's - although from Karaahmet's moaning anyone would think the narks had put Tarkan up in a five star hotel - claiming that it is the luxury of the dancing man in Turkey.

Warming to his theme, Karaahmet bemoans Tarkan, but underlying it, the pap reporter bemoans a country that doesn't condone or tolerate cocaine use as a lifestyle. It's obvious he doesn't share Tarkan's patriotism, or his willingness to keep his mouth shut, as the camp correspondent declared to a Dutch friend on his Twitter account recently that he "hates Turkey". Even though the friend tried to make a joke of it and say that "he hates Turkey meat, too" - his irritation (like his meaning) was obvious.

In and Out, Shake it all About

So, what Karaahmet calls the dancing man's luxury - we mean fame of course - I'd call it more the curse of the dancing men.

Notwithstanding that Tarkan has not been convicted of any charge constituting a crime in his country, let's put Tarkan's situation into perspective by playing devil's advocate to imagine he is actually guilty for one moment. I'm going to say, again, so what. In comparison with some other celebrities that have been found guilty in past years, Tarkan is an innocent.

The most reminiscent of Tarkan's arrest is a 1967 incident in England when, tipped off by the News of the World, Sussex police raided a party at the home of Rolling Stones Keith Richards, subsequently charging Richards, Mick Jagger and friend with drug offences.

Holed up Jagger was sentenced to three months and Richards one year in jail, prompting an outraged Times editorial asking "Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?" (NTV journo Can Dündar tried to do the same for Tarkan.) Pending appeals both Jagger and Richards were released a day later looking reticent, but in recognition that the sentences had more to do with their celebrity than any crime.

Tarkan outside the courts in March 2010 on his release, Mick Jagger outside the courts in 1967 on his release (Rex Images)

Jagger is pictured above courtesy of Rex pictures with his "just out of court" look, and put alongside Tarkan's release out of custody - there's a remarkable difference don't you think? In 2003 Richards reflected, "when we got busted...it suddenly made us realise that this was a whole different ball game and that was when the fun stopped."

But let's get back to going with the theory that Tarkan is guilty. British TV presenter and DJ Johnny Vaughan spent just over two years in prison after trying unsuccessfully to sell a quantity of cocaine to undercover detectives at a hotel in the Midlands. Vaughan spent his time reading the classics, but regrets that his past means he cannot ever work in America. Tarkan, take note!

Multi-instrumentalist frontman and songwriter for the 1960s Los Angeles band Love, Arthur Lee existed for many years on an unvarying diet of marijuana, heroin and acid before disappearing from view, while Boy George was convicted of a drugs offence in his youth (as well as getting jailed for the false imprisonment of a gay escort decades later), and as to that other George, George Michael - well take your pick.

Further down the grim gallery is Norway's foremost black-metal icon, Varg Vikernes, going by the name of Count Grishnackh. In 2009 he was released from prison after doing time for murdering a guitarist and setting fire to three churches. Even worse some will say, is Seventies glam rock star, Gary Glitter, who was jailed for abusing minors, although he continues to deny any wrongdoing and insists a frame-up by British tabloid newspapers.

Founder member of Mötley Crüe spent a short jail stretch in LA after beating on his his then-wife actress Pamela Anderson. She forgave him after he got out, while her tall, dark and hell-raiser beau was positive about the experience. "I loved prison. I thought, 'I'm not going to have to do interviews. I'm not going to have to answer the phone....Just total peace and quiet'. People looked at me like I was on crack," he was to say later. Don't you just love it?

And who doesn't love Chuck Berry - those of us who remember him. But what we might not remember is that in 1961 Berry was sentenced to three years for transporting a 14-year-old across state lines for "immoral purposes". During his incarceration he wrote several hits, including No Particular Place to Go and You Never Can Tell. Decades later he was accused of videotaping women in the ladies cloakroom of his Wentzville, Missouri restaurant.

Keen to protect himself from allegations of rape in later life, Chuck famously used to insist that female fans strip and pose for a smiling photograph before disappearing into the bedroom. He was back in the can in 1979, however, sentenced to another four months, this time for tax evasion. The things these celebs do!

But sometimes, the things they do can affect their career. Jerry Lee Lewis' career took a nose-dive when he was discovered to have married his 13-year-old cousin in back in December 1957 - and to have been jailed twice before he turned 21. He was also jailed again after brandishing a gun outside Graceland and demanding to see Elvis.

So back to Turkey's Elvis, and let's take another long look at Tarkan again.

Well, I really don't have to say anything else, do I?

<< Read about Tarkan's four day detainment by Turkish authorities here

The views in this article are those of the author alone.
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