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How I met your Aunt Amy? by bayripley
24/07/2011, 14:02
Filed under: event, music, the city | Tags: , , ,

Or another summer gloom…

“When Amy Winehouse died, I was in New England, suffering from a severe lingual crisis.”

This is what I will tell my children when they ask about the beautiful voice they are very familiar with. However, they will have to do some Internet archeology to find out what she really meant to me. I am writing this entry mostly for them.

My summers are never exciting. I can actually say that I never enjoyed a single summer. I don’t remember one I was completely happy. When I was a child, and a teenager, which means for at least 10 years, I had to stay in Izmir during the summers while every single friend of mine escaped from the town. As a Mediterranean city, Izmir gets extremely hot in summers. You can’t get out of your apartment between 11.00am and 7.00pm. The humidity makes it impossible not to sweat while sitting at home and watching TV without AC, a technology we could not afford until I was 21. Some poets have written about İmbat, a special breeze from the sea, but it was just an urban legend for those of us who had to live behind a huge, cement wall of 7-story apartment buildings right on the seaside. The poetic breeze belonged to the habitants of those expensive apartment buildings, who ironically were never in Izmir during the summers. Those who could afford those apartments could also afford a summerhouse in Cesme or Foca, towns not very far from the city, with beautiful beaches and at least 7-8 degrees F lower temperature.

Growing up, summers meant limitless boredom, constant sweating. It was a life behind a huge wall, a life without the soothing power of the sea.

When I was 19 years old, in Galatasaray University, I made a life choice of becoming a dedicated member of a very demanding student club. For three years, the club became my life. Until then, I was a cinephile who saw in movie theaters at least 50 movies a year. I used to know which TV show was worth watching and which Internet site was lately in high demand. I was a home person, thanks to my summers in Izmir, and I was doing good in catching up with the trends. I also used to know who was getting popular in music sector. I never was one of those indie listeners, and I got to know Lauryn Hill or Norah Jones after they got all those Grammies. But I knew what was going on, I was on top of my interests.

When I finished my years at the club, I was left with two-year old songs in my iTunes. I didn’t have a clue about which movie won Oscars last year or what the heck was that “How I Met Your Mother” show everyone was fuzzing about. I was completely lost in my indifference to my former areas of interest, and summer was approaching, with nothing going well in my life.

In 2007, a terrible summer started with moving from Beyoglu to Uskudar, a drastic change of habitus for me. I left the “life” on European side and moved to so-called “calmness” on Anatolian side. It did not help. I was restless because of many unspoken things, many intended heartbreaks, and a huge ingratitude. I went to Amsterdam; it didn’t help. I knew it, Summer of 2007 was going to be another hell. When I came back from Amsterdam, I had to start my internship in an academic NGO in Etiler. It meant at least one hour commute everyday. I needed music, I needed new, popular, good music.

I remember exactly how I got to know Amy. I had noticed the fuzz about her, just like that meeting the mother show, but I didn’t pay attention. I had never felt the urge to type her name on YouTube or download at least one song of hers. None. Klum.

A boring weekend, I was zapping through channels in my decadal summer position and I found a black and white video clip on MTV. A woman with a big mouth and some tattoos was singing a song of a great pain. She was so intriguing that I could not notice the lyrics at the first time. I could not take my eyes off of her, and I felt that I finally found the voice for my summer. So hurt, so self-intolerant, so conscious, so deep. Later, I would find out that the song, Back to Black, actually described my summer before that, Summer of 2006, word by word.

Amy became my companion that summer. She told me that she knew what was going on, and she even wrote that song for me. I survived Summer of 2007 thanks to her, but four years later, probably around the same time I got to know her, she passed away.

Now, I am sitting in my hell-like dorm room, in the middle of New England. I am here to learn an extremely hard language, and going through a lingual crisis. My “mais”s became “aval”s and I am not liking it. On top of that, I am struggling with the loss of a huge talent. I wish it was as easy as another artist, but this time, maybe just because it is summer, it touched a lot. She punched a hole on that great wall for me, and her voice meant the soothing power of the sea. Now, she is gone and I will have to wait for my next black and white angel to save my summers.

So, kids, this is the story of how I met your Aunt Amy.

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