Rolling Stones

They finally made it. Mick, Keith, Ron, and Charlie . I last saw them live in Melbourne at Kooyong Tennis Stadium in 1973, when I was a groovy  15 year old. The impression they made on me that fateful day was indelible, and confirmed my allegiance as a lifelong Stones fan . There was something magical about their raunchy rock and roll way back then . Tonight, 41 years later, the spindly legged Lizard King aka Mick Jagger, was at his best, Keef ( Keith Richards ) was clearly enjoying himself belting out the song ” Happy”, Charlie kept them all ticking over with his hypnotic drum beat, and Ronnie strutted the stage like a demented marionette . It was loud , it was funky , it was visually stimulating, with back-screen graphics flashing throughout all of their songs .


Rod Laver Arena, hosted an intimate crowd of 5,000. Not for us the big stadium affairs like the Adelaide Cricket Ground where they paid host to 40,000 fans. It was the spectacle of the greatest rock and roll band in the world, and I wanted to be able to see them, not gaze at some big screen where they appeared as a far off speck on the horizon .

It was worth the wait . The show was dynamic with  Mick gyrating his way around the podium with his accomplices also playing their part. I loved it and danced my way through ” tumbling dice ” like I was that 15 year old teenager again .

Thanks Mick and the boys for giving me a great night out, rekindling old memories and reminding

me you’ve still got it !

13th Istanbul Biennial

vintage clothes
vintage clothes

The mighty Bosphorus, is a vibrant and turbulent River, as unpredictable as the seething Turkish City of Istanbul. Bobbing along on the commuter ferry, clutching a fish roll that cost AUD $1.50, I crossed the imaginary line from East to West, or Asia to Europe. Istanbul is a city of contrasts, medieval turkish bath houses, and gigantic, iconic shrines of Hagar Sophia proportions . The Grand Bazaar is a labyrinth of streets, a maze of stalls, and a brash collection of hawkers all exhorting you to enter their shops. Turkish Delight, stuffed camels, brass, garishly coloured ceramics, and handicrafts abound. Its a vibrant, alive, city summed up perfectly by the Whirling Deverishes, a local iconic, folk act who twist this way and that in their exuberant, native dance .Home to myriad stray cats and dogs ,homeless and itinerant locals, Istanbul has a pulsating energy, and irreverent view of life .

Selale,s shop
Selale,s shop

Stumbling down the main street, I chanced upon the Galata Greek Primary School, one of the venues of the 13th Istanbul Biennial. Titled ” Mom Am I Barbarian “it included many artists, exhibiting in a diverse range of mediums spread over the entire six floors of the venue, including a roof top terrace . The space included short films about abandoned dogs and african miners, intricate drawings, installations and a whole lot more. The exhibits were free, the catalogue a measly $5, and the entertainment priceless. One of my favourite presentations was a series of altered books by a Portuguese Artist, Carla Filipe, who used books damaged by moths to create her altered book series. I spent many fruitful hours gazing at the exhibits, and gleaned a lot of visual stimuli. It ended my visit to Turkey on a high note and I hope, one day to return.


Spring’s gentle caress touches my face,

its time to put winter in its place,

rain is gone , squall and sleet,

now I want sun and blossom at my feet.



The grey, unforgiving, bleak streets, will be replaced by sun dappled, sweet smelling, welcoming greets.

I want spring and all its warmth, no more reference to winter henceforth.

Horse-racing, Cracker-Night, hedonistic joy,

A giddy round of comforts and delights,

Entice me from winters long toil.



Budapest is a city of contrast. Divided by the Danube River,Buda is the West Bank and Pest, the East. Originally begun as a Celtic Settlement, it has endured many historical, cultural,ethnic and religious upheavals to become one of Eastern Europe’s most beautiful and enduring cities,  and certainly one of its most interesting.



Where else can you buy $2.50 tickets to the Ballet Giselle at the Budapest Opera House?  of course the 22 year old daughter and I  had to enter via the back stairs, so the patrons in expensive seats could be seen making a grand entrance, via the front stairs! A night time ghost walk around the cobbled streets, revealed a bloody and gory past, buried beneath the grandeur and opulence, of old Budapest.

Taking a commuter ferry ride down the mighty Danube, revealed the olympic training school of the Hungarian rowing team, a mix of old and new high rise housing, and ended at a defunct shipbuilding yard, and abandoned, industrial estate.

A favourite memory was shopping at the local flea markets. Most had good quality goods, and were keenly priced. One, in a far flung suburb, revealed old folk art pattern rubber rollers, genuine nazi war badges,  vintage tin toys, and a jumble of retro clothing. It was cheap, musty, and housed some dilapidated merchandise, but was worth the complex trip out of town to get to it.




Other memories include, walking across the Liberty Bridge spanning the mighty Danube, using the funicular ( cliff railway) running up to Buda Castle, visiting the Budapest Art Museum, and feeling chagrin when the student daughter was invited to a private viewing of Warhol pieces. Watching the same daughter get her hair cut for her 22nd birthday. Me agreeing to a haircut by a non english speaking hairdresser, at the same salon. Drinking vast quantities of home made limonetta ( lemonade) for $3 a litre in local restaurants, and visiting Margaret island, to ride bikes, and eat ice cream and fairyfloss, as part of the birthday celebrations. Friday night saw us floating around the Rudas Baths, a thermal hot springs with magical restorative powers, needed for two world weary travellers, and trying to avoid gazing at the plump male, tattooed, ponytailed, patrons.

Istanbul Vintage

Selale Gultekin owns a Pied de poule ( vintage shop )in Istanbul .

Her beautiful turkish name means waterfall .

Appropriate , as she is quite literally surrounded under a waterfall of clothes.

Meandering around the cobbled lanes of inner city istanbul we chanced on her cache of nostalgia .image

The tell tale sign was a 50 ,s lace wedding dress stuck to the door , nestled beside it a pleated chiffon party dress in neon lemon shade .

Two stone steps led to narrow glass doors , and a sign imperiously instructing the bell to be rung to gain entry.

I pressed a clammy finger to it as instructed .
The doors were flung wide , the heady smell of plastic and mothballs escaped , as did two startled blonde , 20 plus Nordic types , looking like startled deer.

A dimunitive , brown skinned lady with wild , frizzy , dyed red hair , and heavily kohled eyes , greeted us .
She was dressed in top to toe modern clothing from her american apparel cotton chinos , double layer topshop singlets , leather esprit loafers , and Blue leopard print gstring clearly visible , above her rounded brown hips .
I am Selale she announced and had clearly scented fresh prey as she beckoned us in gleefully to her cornucopia of earthly delights .
What enfolded was a display by a woman in love with her esoteric collection of finery .
It was also a history lesson of her life , as she recounted events by what each piece was worn to and by whom .

Selale,s shop
Selale,s shop

” Oh this is the dress I wore to the ballet ” , holding aloft a magnificent , hand tailored evening gown , with a brown silk top , and green cotton hand worked , lace skirt .
This was my grandmothers, Selale shrieked , as a plastic cover was wrenched asunder to reveal a 30’s flapper dress , the top velvet encrusted eau de nil flowers on sheer bodice , the full skirt a symphony of swirling sheer green silk .
The sweet carnaby st swinging 60’s short green cotton jacket , embellished with large round hot pink buttons , and sweet Peter Pan collar revived fond memories.
Copies of the 50″s two piece suits of fitted jacket & skirts , were used in mad men.

Each garment was lovingly produced and its story told .
This was my mothers , as she proffered a demure , white and brown polka dotted voile , full skirted , sun frock.
She proudly and haltingly shared her history with us in broken English .
My grandmother was the first teacher in Turkey.
My mother was the first nurse in Turkey.
Clearly a milestone in male dominated Muslim turkey ‘s society.
Black and white photos of two impossibly beautiful sultry dark haired beauties were proudly proferred.

Her treasure trove consisted off a tiny room , hall and entry all stuffed with clothing , most encased in plastic & suspended from ceiling hooks . The full length viewing mirror , was through a truculent door , concealed in a dusty lane way.

Every surface was covered in hats , bags , shoes , gloves & jewellery dating from the 30″s to the 70’S .

Selale lovingly chronicled each garment whilst imploring us to try each .
Alas many were too tiny , not belonging to the classical tiny fifty,s era body shape. Unfortunately, our large head and feet , denied us the many dainty offerings on offer.
Eventually a 50’s sculpted jacket , and marching silk shirt plus a sheer nylon 60’s blouse were entrusted into our care . A fair price was reached without much haggling . Selale was happy to release them to a good home .
Sadly she turned her tragic dark eyes skyward and said so many pieces , already I am 60 and still taking more .
Doubtless her only child , a son , shares no interest in her collection and she can only fervently hope for a daughter in law , or granddaughter to take up the reins .
A photo taken , us both emitting the catch cry of 50 plus women everywhere ” let us take our glasses off first ” and we were emitted out into the street , our finery incongruously packed into a cardboard Tommy Hilfiger carry bag .
We had chanced on something special in a back street of Istanbul .
Thank you Selale , we,ll be back for that special occasion dress .