Monday, 25 August 2014

Jazz Cafe. Past and Present.

I've been very lazy since returning last week. It's been too hot to do much other than read or swim but we did venture out once and this journey took me on a trip down Memory Lane. 
We set out to meet Simon, who had been in Turkey for the 2 weeks that I was in Scotland and Dorset, and was just about to leave.  Simon was my first "proper" boyfriend  - "proper" in that we were teenage lovebirds and even endeavoured to set up house together in a miserable two room flat in Selly Oak, Birmingham some 37 years ago.   (Brutal reality soon punctured that young love's dream). Neither of us is entirely clear when we last saw each other but it was a long, long time ago. Simon was with friends in Gümüşlük, so I suggested we have a drink in the Jazz Cafe.  We had a lovely afternoon gassing and promised to meet up again in the not too distant future as we only touched on the reminiscences of life in Rugby and Birmingham in the 1970s. 
The venue was an apt choice for reliving old memories.  In 1982, The Jazz Cafe was located in Tepecik in Bodrum, a 5 minute stroll from the Marina  (a 10 minute drunken meander back). It was where all the yachties hung out and where a lot of the foreigners living and working in Bodrum got together. Opened by Cengiz and Mete, it was a bar where the beer was always cold, the music always good and the company entertaining.  You could meet people who had just rowed in from the harbour and occasionally a few who had just rode in from Anatolia on two wheels or four legs.  Every other punter seemed to be a poet, writer, artist or musician  and, as it was just down the road from Ahmet Ertegün's house, occasionally those signed to Atlantic records would pop in.
It was the venue for my first organised (as opposed to just happening to be in the same place at the same time) date with my husband to be.  It was my last night in Bodrum after a season as a boatbum, farewell dinner and drinks were planned and I invited Teo to join me at 8pm.   He did eventually turn up. At 10pm with two women in tow, which was an interesting start to 32 years together. 
Towards the end of the 1980s, The Jazz Cafe moved to bigger premises on the other side of Bodrum, less handy for the marina, but good for a late night bop for those of us not enamoured with the commercial Halikarnas Disco. Eventually Cengiz and Mete moved the business to Istanbul, where it is still open in the winter months, but for those of us who remember the old Bodrum Jazz Cafe, we can still grasp a taste of days past on Gümüşlük beach in the summer.  Pity the beer isn't still 4 for a quid. 




Flapper Swing in action.  As we weren't staying for the evening concert, we were entertained with an impromptu performance. 



Nice to see the boss, Cengiz in the background. 




21 comments:

  1. Hello,

    It is rather sad when venues such as your Jazz Cafe move on. These places and the people who frequent them are products of their time and it is great to be part of it when it is in full swing and rather sad when it comes to an end. But, endings are inevitable as change must happen and there are, we feel, always new adventures to be experienced.

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    1. We move on, but I'm happy that Cengiz and Mete are still operating and our children's generation can have their own Jazz Cafe experience.

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  2. . . having recently driven around the ring road the thought of turning in towards the centre terrifies me . . even for some decent jazz!

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    1. Even a lover of Bodrum like me has to limit the number of visits in July and August. 20 years ago, on rougher roads, I could drive from the village to Gumusluk in under an hour. It took us nearly 2 hours to get back last week.

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  3. Dave remembers his evenings in the Jazz cafe fondly. Good music, cheap beer, chickpeas in bowls, raw kofte, PWT playing backgammon, the tiny toilet behind a curtain, then buying bread from the bakery next door and consuming it on the way home .....is his memory serving him well?

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    1. Perfectly well. I remember the glass tables. Once Brian (our dog, not the mechanic) was sitting under one of the tables. He suddenly stood up and the glass table top flipped to the floor taking everyone's drink with it.

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  4. A great memory from the Annie annals.

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  5. A beautiful description of a beloved memory. Although we've never been to Bodrum, let alone Bodrum of the '80s, you put us right there. Very nice.

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    1. Are you still coming for one night in September?

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  6. Oh, Annie, would love to have been there in the old days. Sounds special.

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  7. As a musician married to an author you would have fitted right in there.

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  8. Such s special memory, how I wished to be there with you guys. So sorry to miss you in Bodrum, determined to meet up next time : ) Cok sevgiler

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    1. My fingers are crossed for next time.

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  9. Dear Annie, it's so good to stroll down memory lane with you. I've been posting about life in Dayton, Ohio, in 1967 and just yesterday I wrote about the music that was influencing my life then! Peace.

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    1. Now I'm back, I am looking forward to catching up on your recent posts , Dee

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  10. What a lovely, reminiscent post, Annie. A shame that the original Jazz Cafe has moved on, but the replacement looks like a good place to catch up with old friends and talk about old times.

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  11. I too remember the Jazz Café in both its downtown Bodrum incarnations. However, I didn't realise it was still in existence in Gumusluk. Thank you for a sweet nostalgic read and some good information.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Patricia. Are you related to Ayşe and Okay?

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