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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Piecing Together the Tarkan Jigsaw

Editorial by Mark Mayhey reporting from London, UK

The Tarkan jigsawWho is Tarkan, really?

Is Tarkan the Cliff Richard of Turkey? It's been in the news recently that Sir Cliff, Britain's very own "Bachelor Boy", picked his musical career over love a long time ago. I can see Tarkan becoming Turkey's most well-known bachelor in another three decades or so.

No. Wait. Tarkan is the Malcolm McLaren of Turkey - the former manager of punk group the Sex Pistols who died in Switzerland aged 64 recently. McLaren had a tremendous influence on British culture, sticking two thumbs up at the musical establishment in the Seventies. Who can say Tarkan did not do the same in the Nineties in Turkey? There's even a trivial link; musician Jah Wobble who knew McLaren at the height of the punk era remixed Tarkan's "Şımarık" for Holly Valance.

No. No. Wait. Surely Tarkan is the Susan Boyle of Turkey, even before Susan Boyle became SuBo, as the half-arsed pap media call her. Take a look at the tabloids in the UK. SuBo is at the airport. Continually. It's always at the airport where Boyle is spotted. Is the airport the only place the tabloids can see her in public? It reminds me of Tarkan twittering (but sadly not on Twitter) from VIP lounge to VIP lounge.

And let me take this opportunity to drop another note on how important Twitter is becoming. Whether we like it or not, micro-blogging is finding a large niche and helping to predict the next big hits. Tweets are being used to predict the future box-office takings of blockbuster films, and it doesn't take a great leap to translate that into music. Anyone who is anyone is tweeting - and more importantly - being tweeted about.

In looking at what Tarkan is about, maybe he is all three. It is in no doubt that he will be the mainstay of Turkish music - like Sir Cliff, and indeed he effected a change in his own country's culture, like McLaren. He is also still a magnet - and dartboard - for the paparazzi. Enter the SuBo part of the equation.

But Tarkan is really none. Tarkan could get married tomorrow, or confess that he is bisexual at the very least, and bring out a horde of male lovers from the closet. Or he could have a secret love child hidden somewhere. Let the gossip columns go crazy. With Tarkan what we always get is an element of surprise.

Tarkan is a mystery, because he will always hold a missing piece of the media puzzle, tightly held in a silent grip. The only time he really lets loose is when he releases a record, but recently from a sure-fire success - for whatever reason - his domestic media have for the last few years painted him as a musical underdog.

But underdog or no, it is no secret that his industry waits with anticipation to see if an old dog has any new tricks still up his sleeve.

And having once so successfully challenged the music establishment, and then become the establishment, now outside it once again, is this a chance for Tarkan to now come back greater than before? Has he come full circle?

Arguably, he will have to do what he has done with his most successful albums, and slot in a part of the missing piece of the Tarkan jigsaw puzzle that has been confounding his fans for nearly two decades.

But to do that, Tarkan will need to loosen up. And speak out.

The views in this article are those of the author alone.
Read more Mark Mayhey articles on Tarkan >>

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