Hot Off the Chest
The month is about to get hectic for me. I am in England until Friday, as I have an appointment with my financial advisor and he needs a couple of signatures. He rang me with the good news: it's what I've been working towards hearing for nearly six years now.
"We have the money," he said. "Just need a paw-print."
So, I flew in at the start of the month, waiting like a child waits for Christmas (sorry about that - will keep the clichés down to a minimum) to sign a few papers.
This is one hell of a PIG I have been trying to slay.
A goal I've had ever since that day I had an epiphany (there I go again with the religious motifs) in Cyprus, over a cup of morning joe: I saw something across the way from me. I thought what I needed to do then was to go on the streets. Which I did. But you know what the reality is? It doesn't solve anything.
The truth is rarely like fiction. Those people in need that I met, I couldn't help any of them as much as I wanted to. And here's another truth: most of them are no longer alive.
Before I came back to England, I stopped over in Cyprus, to see if I could chase up a few I knew hadn't relocated. I couldn't trace them all. Jackie had died in some scuffle in prison. Saïd had relocated with his new wife away from Cyprus, but they have disappeared in Syria. For those I did find, I would love to say they have all gone on to fantastic lives. They may have had a little victory at first against their problems, but not in the long run.
I hate to admit it, but they didn't better their lives. Other people's kindness didn't save them. Maybe they didn't want to be saved. But you can't always help people by suffering alongside them. It may help you to understand, but it doesn't change a hell of a lot - maybe all it does is help you to understand that there isn't much you can change. Not in the way you would want it to, if you were writing some feel-good story, that is.
But this isn't a sad post. It's a happy "fuck you" one. I just wanted to find at least one of those people I'd met during my time on the street, to share my good news with them first. Had I done so, I probably wouldn't be writing this post now.
Or maybe I would have anyway. I am human, too, and maybe I can't resist a little bit of rubbing it in people's faces. Fuck, I don't do it often, and am not very good at it.
Those of you used to my writing style will realise how uncomfortable I feel writing about issues like this. The more you think you got to boast about, the less you really have. It works the same for moaning. Like grief and anger, all are destructively addictive. Best to leave that kind of thing to people that have made hate-mongering a profession. What do I know?
A Walk Down Memory Lane
Likewise, I've very rarely written about my time on the street, because it was personal and not something to publicly parade. Besides this blog was a place (back then) frequented by Tarkan fans in the main - and not the sort of crowd interested in my feeble attempts to help people, simply because I got an attack of conscience over a cup of coffee. I was just someone who translated some lyrics into English.
So, forgive the stilted style for today. I'll be back to normal in my next post. For now, my poetic manner has left me, but I don't care - I'm still very happy. More than I can express. Amazing right? Me lacking an expression.
Home is where the heart is. That's one. My heart was with those refugees on the street, but it wasn't my home. Living on the street I was as powerless as they were, it wasn't a solution.
My parents - my wonderful, understanding, patient, supportive, beautiful parents - welcomed me back with open arms, and I got back to work, but I wasn't happy. I had a great circle of friends who welcomed me back equally with open arms (they always have done, as the best of friends do), and a profession I enjoyed. But I wasn't happy. My heart was now where the street was.
In 2008, I decided to return to England, my home before I relocated to Cyprus after I graduated from university with my law degree, for a sabbatical. To think things out. There was something I wanted to achieve, and I just couldn't do it in Cyprus, nor could I do it just by blogging now and then.
Although Tarkan Deluxe is mine, I promised never to generate a single penny off the blog because it carries a public figure's name, and because when I did try in a creative capacity (I thought I might be able to achieve something by self-publishing a book) people who hadn't read a single fucking word of what I'd written began to slander me saying my work was not my own, and those who knew better kept their mouths shut. I wanted to do good with my efforts, but I felt trapped by a community I wanted no part of - because as well-intentioned as the majority of them are they are ultimately self-serving - like the lies and spiteful comments they harbour in their groups.
However, if it were not for my belief in general free speech for people to speak their (however fucked up) minds, I was going to take a few people to court for slander. Telling people I stole someone else's work is slanderous. The idea for the story was mine. I started it to try and help a person who had suffered from heartache, as a way to heal, and persuaded them to do a serial.
But the only work - and storylines - used in the book were mine and no one else's. The female protagonist, including her name, I invented. And yet, those who knew this first hand didn't even speak up to defend it, especially the person who supposedly "co-wrote" it!
I make this point now because the book is no longer for sale; just in case people were thinking this is some bleeding heart story to score a few pennies more. I keep its Amazon presence active because I am looking to update the story and extend it one day, and republish it there, but not yet, and I certainly won't be letting readers of my blog know about it.
I don't have to prove my creative ability or output, but worse still, it was over something that I'd never have profited over; the only people going to profit were children with cancer. Say what you like, but to me this is one of the rare occasions that my "forgive-all" policy runs out. I had gone to all the trouble of getting it POD'ed back before the popularity of printing on demand exploded (and rejected a reputable publisher) simply for the reason that I wanted 100% of royalty proceeds to go charity. No publisher would agree to those demands from a first-time publisher. I don't blame them, looking back now. Business is business.
But it taught me a valuable lesson about life. Not just about financial acumen, but about politeness. Sometimes keeping your mouth shut to preserve your dignity isn't worth it. Often it is, but not always. Silence isn't always wisdom, it can be pearls before swine. Silence can be violence, too. Because if you keep letting people throw shit at you, it's bound to stick.
That time it was a charity for children suffering from cancer in Hungary that paid the price, simply because it was a book carrying my name. So much more could have been done with it, but I left it, as I leave it to everyone's conscience (or lack thereof) and karma. Count the bite marks on your ass when the day comes for you to shuffle off this mortal coil. I can personally attest as a lawyer that justice is indeed divine.
The Pearls Before the Swine
But none of that matters now. Had I let it bother me, I wouldn't be here writing this post today. It was like a three second brain fart - apart from the children's charity. That irritates me to this day, and it was time I had my say about it, because although I responded in my own poetic manner at the time, I never responded outright and openly and directly enough about it.
In actuality, it was what helped me to achieve what I had been dreaming for so long. So, maybe I should thank them for their pettiness. It made me raise my game.
It reminded me what I am good at. Being needless. Which means doing it on my own. Ever since I can remember, I have attained my goals on my own. All we need is loving support from the right people, but the rest just takes a roll-up of the sleeves, some hand spit and some elbow grease - and patience. It's what I'm good at.
The great thing is that the lines of communication with my father were always open. I confided in no one but him about this PIG of mine. It was with his support I got back into the legal profession in England after my break, and started to work my ass off. And I mean work.
I had formulated a plan, found a fantastic financial advisor who was like-minded enough to understand and accept that we would be working for free for the next four or five years.
My PIG was to make enough money (and I mean serious money) to put into a trust fund to start a secret charity. That's why it would need enough money, so that it would not need to beg or promote or sell itself to keep going. It wouldn't be at the mercy of idiots who could try to slander it (for helping Muslims for instance), and obstruct it from helping others (simply because it would be a co-shared Christian charity).
It would be self-sufficient in helping women and children all across the world, in the way charity should be given, anonymously and with no payback required. Why women and children? Because it's bad (or injured) mothers, not bad dictators, that will destroy the world. Mothers are not only the givers, but the sustenance of life. We need to help nurture better mothers, who in turn will nurture a better generation of people.
This is what has kept me going
for the last four years :)
Moreover, it will help those in the cracks. The people that normal charities just can't seem to reach out to. It will do it without noise, without fanfare, without anything apart from doing the fucking thing it should be doing.
It won't have anything to do with me. Not my name, or my culture, or anything. But how can it be anonymous you ask, if you're writing about it here? Well, how do you know I'm not making this all up?
Go listen to my critics. There will be those
psychopaths swine who think everyone in the world snorts like them - because it's just what they would do, and they tar the whole world with their brush. They would make shit like this up, and I'm sure will say it of me, too. But you know what, fuck it. No one will ever guess the new charity. I will sign it all away from Friday. That's all that matters.
Statistics and Damned Lies
"There are lies, damned lies and statistics."
Popularised in the United States by Mark Twain (among others), who attributed it to the 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.
Besides who reads this shitty blog anyway, right? And what does it matter who does? It's not like this blog is ever going to change the world.
It's partly for this reason I don't usually add hit counters and its like to the blog, because I believe it to be counter-productive. It doesn't signify anything (as if a few hundred more people reading my shit is going to give my posts more artistic value than they already lack) and it's just not me.
Plus, I get inundated with people emailing me to endorse this product or that website on my blog, and I've got finger ache from continuously directing these people to the blog's manifesto to tell them that this blog hasn't made a penny (by choice) for the ten years I have kept it open. No Adsense. No paid links. No flashing adverts.
It's also amazing how people can't believe I don't have a social network account, either. Because like, we all need to be on Facebook, right? Or I've got nothing better to do with my time then fucking lurk on social media accounts and religiously check comments, or link backs to this blog.
Bitch, please. I mean most readers now realise how tight my schedule is, and that I'm not some acne-ridden teenager doing this in some basement for lack of a social life.
The reason I keep up my blog is because I want to, and since meeting my girlfriend, it has become a vehicle for me to stay in touch with her in another way than just the phone call, or text. A lot more private than shoving our relationships down people's throat with a barrage of selfies.
And she has been very patient with me, not to say supportive, because I wanted to kill this PIG before I settle down. And I have waited a lot longer than most men to start a family, because this had to come first before my needs. I've had to do without a lot, to put most of the pennies I earned into this project. I couldn't ask a wife and child to go without just because I was tripping off on some dream.
But it's no longer a dream. Helping people - even if it's just to help them understand something they enjoy - is a privilege to me. I felt privileged that I was given the opportunity via Tarkan's undeniable talent to get people closer to a different language and culture. I felt privileged whenever someone understood a translation, or it got them closer to the song.
It's the same with kindness. If we've been allowed in this world the opportunity to be kind, then we are truly blessed. Kindness shouldn't be about being showy, it's something we should do that comes naturally, a part of being human; like a roar is to a lion, so kindness is to being human.
To have the opportunity to be kind isn't a burden, so it isn't something we should expect gratitude for, or thanks, or non-stop adulation. It's a privilege because being kind is much easier than receiving it oftentimes. The opportunity to be kind - provided by whatever fate, chance or circumstance you happen to believe in - means we have been put in a privileged position, one we must be grateful for.
For a long time I felt so embarrassed and guilty by my privilege, I took to the streets for a while. But I realised living amongst those in need wasn't going to help them in the long run, or the men, women and children in war torn countries across the world, or people suffering from diseases like cancer - two areas that have touched my life. I did what I did, I do what I do, because it's the human thing to do.
The Privilege of Being Kind
We repay the good things in our lives by investing in the goodness of someone else. It's what my father taught me. As with my posts, my shares, my translations, it's all been a privilege to do. If they have helped, it's been an investment. Naturally, I have to prioritise as I have more important obligations these days, besides which translating isn't my main thing - it never has been. But as a lover of words it's been a privilege to serve on that score.
Were I looking for some kind of affirmation (and who is that empty to need a digital wank off by some group majority?), if it were what I really wanted I wouldn't have made my blog feed private - since September 2013. I refuse to tell people not to share my posts, I want to leave it to their own good conscience, but if a person has no media share buttons on his blog, has closed down his feed, and is not even asking you to comment or link or like - then most intelligent people, I would hope, get the picture. Besides the twenty or so hits that's going to generate is not worth the servers Google get off on.
And for those that trawl Google looking for ways to somehow discount my posts, get a life. It's you that obviously has secret media accounts and go lurking about the place, trying to hack into people's lives - as though it were as easy to do as a Blogger account.
My father always told me that the truth only needs one person to speak it, the lie needs many. So if for that reason you see someone screaming and shouting trying to rally people to say the exact thing they are, then know they're the fucking psycho. It's what triggers the mob mentality.
Whereas my blog speaks for itself, by itself. Google results don't speak for it (especially since my source code is scripted to stop crawling, and archiving and my feed is set to nofollow, too), and stats that anyone can manipulate certainly don't speak for it, either. And even if they did so what? People that have to rely on such useless number crunching to get themselves off won't understand how to get to me even if they lived for another fucking hundred years.
They wouldn't understand what I'm about. Because it's not just about reading the books I've read, or speaking to the people I have met, or sharing my experiences, it's about being truthful. The "look you straight in the eye and tell you as it is" truthful. End of.
I've put Tarkan Deluxe on the back-burner for years now. I began my main goal with my "Surrender What You Carry" post; this was what I was intimating as the "big" things to come, and so I disbanded the team working on the blog and closed it to channel all my energies into it. They were not happy about it, but that was the only reason, and they understood. I didn't need support from anyone to achieve my private dream, but I wasn't going to do it by tapping at a keyboard. All the idiocy had served its purpose in showing me that wasn't the way it was going to be. I just needed what my father reminded me of: myself and my talents. I am good at the law. I thought it would take me seven, eight years at least - my independent financial advisor and I did it a little under four.
Working day and night. Taking every brief that came along. No country was far enough. The only break I had during that time was a short trip to Cyprus to bury my father.
He didn't live to see today, but I sometimes think he knows. I don't subscribe to the namby-pamby belief that dreams are anything but the brain working itself out, so dreaming of my father the night before I got the call, I notch it up to my subconscious somehow sensing I was about to get the good news.
In my dream I'm a kid of three or four maybe. I'm in my father's arms. He's holding me tightly to his chest. Carrying me. A phone rings in the distance, and he puts me down to answer the call. I wake up. Then the next day I get the call. Sock half off my foot as the call is put through. To be told that putting in every available penny (and my faith) earned since 2010 into my financial advisor's talented hands paid off high risk dividends and then some - he had beaten his own projections.
Hot Off the Chest
I could have lost it all, in a way I thought I would. And that would have made some people very happy, not for once thinking of all those who would lose out. But now we're about to both sign off on the project and leave it to better people than ourselves, to help even better people than you and I will probably ever know.
Because you cannot call an act kind, unless you've seen a starving person willing to share the only plate of rice they have with another hungry soul. I have experienced that. Nothing prepares you for it. It can overwhelm you as much as people who have nothing, getting together to scrimp enough money to buy you a pair of glasses. My heart was broken in all kinds of pieces that day.
It can't be repaid. But they understood they were privileged enough to be kind to me. I will never have that privilege to repay them, (it's a regret I will take with me) but at least the PIG I had in mind as repayment in their name is coming to fruition.
As I said, overall it's been a privilege. Heck, just being alive is a blessing. Until you experience what some people struggle with daily you just can't know the humanity we're all capable of... maybe I'll revise that "it changes nothing" spiel I gave at the beginning of this. We can all effect change; big or small. The only thing that matters is your bottom line.
And my bottom line is to have achieved something that no one can take away, or sully. No measly, small-minded gossip with an axe to grind. No liberal cynic with a hidden agenda. No psychotic ranter who has never actually met or spoken one word to me apart from a few emails and the fantasies in her own head.
But there is nothing these members of our human species can do to stop goodness. People can bring me down, but they can't bring down what I have worked for. It will come what may. It's already done, as a two-fingered salute to all those who disbelieved. So, if any of my rantings have caused offence, go look in the mirror. You must be one of them.
Let me use some reverse psychology here: It's as if I can hear all the poisonous comments swirling about in poisonous minds even as I sign off my post. Well, everyone's got a mouth, and everyone is free to use it as irresponsibly as they like. Illustrated well by my difference in tone just to drive the point home. Meaning you can fucking say anything, as long as your conscience allows it. But can you prove it?
Next time you read a comment from someone spout shit about me, tell them to prove it. I can prove every single sentence I have ever written on this blog, and not only because time bears my opinions out, but because I archive correspondence. Anyone who thinks they know me over a few emails, can't separate the shit that comes out from their asses and their mouths. Talk is cheap. Put up, or shut up.
Oh, and this isn't a "I'll just have my say once and politely go back to my silence" - as before. That was then. This is now. Now, I have the time to get a lawyer to go through any comments about me and start taking legal action, out in the open. You see, I don't do slinking, or lurking. Because my name - the one you think you can chew off so easily - is my father's surname, and I'll be fucked two ways to heaven before I let anyone mess with it.
To the large majority of others, this isn't a shout-out for support, or money (which I have NEVER done). As I say I don't go in for censorship, but if there was a way I'd deny anyone reading this blog a chance to purchase any book I ever felt like publishing again. If for the only reason that I don't want to give anyone even the slightest possibility to say I have used Tarkan's name for private commerce.
Had I known that the blog would grow in this way back when I opened it in April 2004, I would have never used his name at all. But as it is, I'm stuck with it, and if I'm honest, it's been more of a hindrance as the years go on. However, to that silent majority: there's nothing you need do. Continue to remain silent, and take advantage of my gentlemanly conduct about not badmouthing ladies. Or should I say enjoy it while it lasted. I need nothing off you, either. Zilch. Zip. Nada. It's done. Unless you want to go out and do what I did in the same spirit of kindness. But then, it does take balls. Each to their own.
As for me, I am in England until Friday. I've been walking about the streets of my old home town Northampton. Taking one last look at the properties being sold off in the portfolio. A few auctions. Two signatures, then it's done. Then back on a plane. Back to work. Maybe I'll treat myself to a stopover? Why the fuck not? Istanbul, here I come."