Tuppenny Blue Butterfly

Tuppenny Blue Butterfly

Tuppenny Blue Butterfly, A Portrait of Şükran Moral – Ian Robson 2015

In June 2015 I posted the blog: Turkish Contemporary Artist Sukran Moral, in it I said. “My next sculpture will be a portrait of the artist Şükran Moral.”

What is the Tuppenny Blue Butterfly?

When I was twelve I collected stamps and butterflies, as did my friends. But there was one stamp that eluded me and one butterfly that fascinated me. Strangely and what was so mindbogglingly stupid, I muddled them up. It didn’t matter which one I was thinking about, the other was there in my mind too. The Tuppenny Blue stamp and the Blue Butterfly had morphed into one very rare object.

Tuppenny BlueThe Two Penny Blue or Tuppenny Blue. The world’s second official postage stamp 1840.

Blue ButterflyThe rare Silver-Studded Blue Butterfly. It’s small, the wingspan is about 30mm.

Oddly, as soon as I had thought that I’d make a portrait of Şükran Moral, an image of the Tuppenny Blue Butterfly mounted on the cross came to mind.

Symbolically, I’ve no idea what the Tuppenny Blue Butterfly mounted on the cross means? Maybe: transition, elegance, vulnerability, preciousness, sensuality and soulfulness?

This mini sculpture was made with love; created from a Turkish stamp, sent to me by my wife in 1997, the year we married. I have given the Tuppenny Blue Butterfly artwork to her.

Has the Turkish rebellion, that never was, produced a Silent Generation?

After reading the Turkish author Elif Shafak’s The Silencing of Writers in Turkey (The New Yorker 10 December 2016), I was hit by a tidal wave of indifference – Not because of Shafak’s article, but because of my growing frustration with Journalists! Who gives a flying fuck about the bloody journalists, especially the tabloid scumbags, lock’em all up; I’m sick of hearing about kim kardashian’s oily arse and celebs’ nip slips, underboobs and toned beach bodies!

I was surprised however that Shafak opened her article by quoting the writer Arthur Koestler, “If power corrupts, the reverse is also true: persecution corrupts the victim, though perhaps in subtler and more tragic ways,” mainly because Koestler was a corrupt, misogynistic, predatorial git who, allegedly, sexually assaulted Jill Craigie and many other women. Craigie was partly responsible for the removal of Koestler’s bust from Edinburgh University in 1998.

Having got that off of my chest, I’ve got to say that Elif Shafak writes a very good article.

Aslı Erdoğan

Aslı Erdoğan (no relation to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) is a prize-winning Turkish writer and human rights activist. Imprisoned August 2016, released on probation 29 December 2016 – image courtesy Muhsin Akgun [awaiting reply]

Turkey is now the World Leader for imprisoned journalists. Aslı Erdoğan was just one of approximately 140 Turkish journalists who are said to be in prison as of 1st December 2016. However, following on from Shafak’s Koestler quote, that number (140) pales into insignificance compared to the ticking time bomb that is strapped to the back of the elephant in the room, which is: the Islamification and dumbing down of Turkey’s education system, which in the future, WILL subjugate and imprison millions of Turkish people in ignorance and fear.

Freedom of speech isn’t just for the Turkish Journos and MSM

The Iconic Lady in Red Taksim Square Gezi Park 2013 Protests

The Iconic “Lady in Red” Taksim Square, Gezi Park Protests 2013

We could all see this coming though, couldn’t we? It is now about three years since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey and head of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), got away with calling the Gezi Park protesters[1] ayyaş (alcoholics) and çapulcu[2]. What has happened to those protesters today (February 2017)? Did they run out of steam, get disillusioned or were they suppressed? Ordinary people must have the right to express their feelings, without being called alcoholics and looters and worse, water cannoned and tear gassed – freedom of speech isn’t just for the Journos and mainstream media. Freedom of speech is for The People.

I believe the people of Turkey are being suppressed and brainwashed and it’s producing a silent and ignorant generation. And BTW Journalists are not Terrorists!


  1. The Gezi Park protests (27 May 2013 – 20 August 2013) were about: freedom of the press, of expression, right to assembly, the government’s encroachment on Turkey’s secularism, environmental issues, and government corruption. The protests spread throughout Turkey.
  2. Çapulcu [Eng pron. chapulju] is a looter, a pillager and a plunderer! The then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used the term to describe the 2013 Gezi Park protesters. The Turkish protesters adopted the term, verbified it (Chapulling) and changed it’s meaning to “fight for your rights.” A chapulcu is a protester!

Halide Edip Adivar & The Summer Cottage

My wife went to Halide Edip Adivar High School in Üskudar, so when I read Irmak Yenisehirlioglu’s tweet, I was very intrigued (BTW @Irmak_Ye is no longer on Twitter):

“In 1925, as Halide Edip Adivar (1884-1964) was writing her memoirs on a farm in England; not far away, Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was working on ‘To the Lighthouse’. Halide wrote directly in English and Virginia was intimate with Vita Sackville-West.” paraphrase quote @Irmak_Ye 19 Jun 2016.

Halide Edip Adivar

Halide Edip Adivar (1884-1964) was a Turkish novelist, educational and social reformer, nationalist, and political leader for women’s rights. Best known for her novels criticizing the low social status of Turkish women and what she saw as the lack of interest of most women in changing their situation.

On what farm did Edip write her memoirs in 1925?

My journey to answer the question, “on what farm did Edip write her memoirs in 1925,” starts with Halide Edip Adivar’s book: ‘Memoirs of Halide Edib’ With a frontispiece in color by Alexandre Pankoff and many illustrations from photographs. Published: 4 April 1927? (exact publication date unknown) by The Century Co., New York & London.[1]

It was when I was skip reading Halide Edip’s memoirs that I realised I had opened up a can of worms of names and dates. But the first significant name to spring out at me was Miss Isabel Fry.

Isabel Fry (1869-1958)[2] was an educationalist, social worker and reformer. Born into a famous reforming Quaker family, she was one of nine children. She taught at Roedean (1891-95) with Constance de la Cherois Crommelin (later Mrs John Masefield (important)). In 1895-ish she moved to London with Constance Crommelin, and eventually founded a school in Marylebone Road.

In 1908/1909 Halide Edip Adivar stayed with Isabel in Marylebone Road, London. And subsequently, Isabel visited Turkey for the first time herself in 1908/1909, and stayed with Halide Edip for three weeks.

For me, the whole story of Halide Edip in England revolves around her enduring friendship with Isabel Fry. My God, how the rich and famous flit around the world – even in the early 1900s!

rectory farm

This is the house that I believe is Rectory Farm, Great Hampden

In 1909 Isabel Fry bought Rectory Farm, Great Hampden, Buckinghamshire as a ‘summer cottage’ with her friends the poet and novelist John Masefield and his wife Constance. “It’s a lovely little farm in Buckinghamshire, high up on a chalk hill surrounded by beech woods and common land, a very fresh, pretty, but rather bare and cold country like most chalk hills. Said Masefield in 1909.” Forever England: The Life of Rupert Brooke By Mike Read[3]

John Masefield wrote ‘Gallipoli’ 1916.

Rectory Farm is the farm where Masefield read to Halide Edip: “One is a scene of Mr. Masefield’s ‘Pompeii,’ which he read to me in Miss Fry’s farm-house at Hampden. It was not published then, and I have not read it since, but it impressed me as most forceful.” Memoirs of Halide Edib 1909

Clearly Halide Edip was strongly influenced by her visit to England in 1909. She had met Edward Granville Browne (1862-1926)[4], Henry Woodd Nevinson (1856-1941)[5], obviously John Edward Masefield (1878-1967)[6] and I would have thought Isabel Fry’s brother Roger Eliot Fry (1866-1934)[7], who was a member of the Bloomsbury Group[8], to which Virginia Woolf[9] belonged.

Just to say, Roger Fry lived just down the road from Isabel’s home on Marylebone Road at 33 Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia, London W1T 6EU.

In June 1912 Halide Edip visited Isabel Fry again. Halide took a flat in Cambridge Terrace, Regents Park, London. Here she wrote ‘New Turan’ (Yeni Turan – 1912). And Isabel started to take deprived children to Rectory Farm, for holidays and teaching.

Cambridge TerraceCambridge Terrace a row of terraced mansions overlooking Regent’s Park, London Borough of Camden, London, England.

In 1914 Isabel Fry paid her second (and last) visit to Turkey, she sayed for one month. And John & Constance Masefield gave up Rectory Farm and moved to Lollingdon Farm in Berkshire.

In 1917 Isabel Fry founded The Farmhouse School, Mayortorne Manor, Wendover, Buckinghamshire. It was an experimental school in which training in farm and household duties were emphasised – She left in 1930.

In 1926 Halide Edib ‘and associates’ were accused of treason in Turkey! She and her husband escaped to Europe. They lived in Paris, London, the United States, and India from 1926 to 1939 when they returned to Turkey.

18th Century Mayortorne Manor, Wendover Dean, Buckinghamshire

Were the ‘Memoirs of Halide Edib’ (1926/1927) written here at The Farmhouse School, Mayortorne Manor, Wendover, Buckinghamshire or at Rectory Farm, Great Hampden? Image: courtesy Paul Buck via: Chiltern Way 8: Saunderton to Cow Roast

The Farmhouse School Children

The Farmhouse School children with goats. Image: © All Rights Reserved Ewart White (deceased 21 May 2013) – seeking permission.

Halide Edib’s ‘The Turkish ordeal: Being the further memoirs of Halide Edib’ published: The Century Co., New York & London 1928.

Halide Edib is the first Turkish author to publish a novel written firstly in English: The Clown and His Daughter (Sinekli Bakkal) published: Allen & Unwin, 1935 London.

Halide Edip Adivar returned to Turkey (1939), and became professor of English literature at the Faculty of Letters in Istanbul University. In 1950, she was elected to Parliament, resigning in 1954.

It is my view that Halide Edip (and maybe her husband Adnan Adivar – but I doubt it) spent time with Isabel Fry between 1926 and 1930 at The Farmhouse School in Buckinghamshire; and ask yourself this: did Isabel Fry leave Rectory Farm at the same time as the Masefields in 1914?


  1. Memoirs of Halide Edib – the book
  2. Isabel Fry
  3. Forever England: The Life of Rupert Brooke By Mike Read – Google Books
  4. Edward Granville Browne (1862-1926) on Wiki
  5. Henry Woodd Nevinson (1856-1941) on Wiki
  6. John Edward Masefield (1878-1967) on Wiki
  7. Roger Eliot Fry (1866-1934) on Wiki
  8. Bloomsbury Group on Wiki
  9. Virginia Woolf on Wiki

If you are out there Irmak, send me a message.

Boris Johnson wins President Erdogan Offensive Poetry competition

boris johnson

Boris Johnson wins The Spectator’s President Erdogan Offensive Poetry competition.

Boris Johnson and Sirs at The Spectator, that really was such a massive stitch-up, or to quote the man himself, who recently criticised David Cameron by saying, “This is a bigger stitch-up than the Bayeux Tapestry.” However, let’s be realistic, I’m sure the choice was ‘semi-political’, and anyway, I wouldn’t want to be ‘named’ and summoned to the court of the Turkish Sultan Erdogan, like poor old Jan Böhmermann and be given a turkey slap.

Anyway, I thought I’d write kindly riposte (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the President of Turkey is unable to do this because his time is being taken up designing and building a new petting zoo in Ankara. Oh, and he has absolutely no sense of humour):

Boris Johnson

The glamorous politician Bo Johnson,
Like a Minoan he can leap over oxen,
However, his rhyme was a crime,
And he should do some time,
That glamorous politician Bo Johnson.

I wrote about five limericks for the competition, two of which I sent in to The Spectator. They’re far too rude for my website folks. Send me a Twitter message, and I’ll send them to you :-) xXx

Is It Safe To Visit Turkey

galata towerCrossing the Bosphorus between Üsküdar and Eminönü and passing by Galata tower – You’ve Got to do this.

Because of my close connections with the beautiful Turkey, all my clients talk to me about it (especially those about to go on a golfing holiday in Antalya), let’s face it, Turkey is in the news and not for all the right reasons – Of course they ask me, “is it safe to visit Turkey?”

Well, is it safe to visit Turkey? Here’s my reply:

Obviously, statistically, yes it’s safe to visit Turkey! Not only is it a most beautiful country, but the Turkish people themselves are lovely, friendly and extremely hospitable and the food, well don’t get me started on that, it is unbelievably delicious.

However, there are warnings, there is some risk. And it has got to be said (we all know the issues with Daesh and Syria), there is an extremely high threat of terrorism in certain areas – for instance, in the South East of Turkey and especially along the Syria/Iraq/Iran border, and it’s not just bombings or shootings, but kidnappings too (the British government don’t pay ransom).

The reason I pour doubt on the question, is it safe to visit Turkey: Partly due to a number of political problems over the past year or so, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party, headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan) has resumed conflicts with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK – Kurdish separatists). This brings to an end the Kurdish–Turkish peace process, confirms Erdogan’s anti-Kurdish nationalist stance and ‘may’ open the door to future acts of PKK terrorism similar to the 2005 Kusadasi bus bombing on Turkey’s western Aegean coast?

Just to say, the PKK are considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union! Since 1978 they’ve been involved in a campaign against the Turkish government to create an independent nation state of Kurdistan. Personally, I stand by their cause, but not by the violence.

Then of course there’s Daesh!

Over the last year (2015-2016), there have been number of terrorist bombings and terrorist incidents in Turkey- not all attributed to Daesh. They make very sad reading:

  • 06 January ’15, Sultanahmet, Istanbul: suicide bombing: 1 + bomber killed, 1 injured.
  • 05 June ’15, Diyarbakir rally bombing: 4 killed, 100+ injured.
  • 20 July ’15, Suruç bombing: 33 killed, 104 injured.
  • 10 October ’15, Ankara railway station bombing: 102 killed, 400+ injured.
  • 01 December ’15, Istanbul metro bombing: 1 killed, 5+ injured.
  • 23 December ’15, Sabiha Gökçen airport, Istanbul bombing: 1 killed, 1 injured.
  • 12 January ’16, Sultanahmet, Istanbul bombing: 11 killed, 14 injured.
  • 17 February ’16, Ankara, Military Convoy: 29 killed.
  • [edit] 13 March ’16, Ankara bombing: 37 killed, 125 injured.
  • [edit] 19 March ’16, İstiklal Ave, Beyoğlu, Istanbul: suicide bomber: 4 killed, 36 injured.
  • [edit] 07 June ’16, Vezneciler district, Istanbul: car bomb: 12 killed, about 36 injured.
  • [edit] 28 June ’16, Ataturk Airport Istanbul: suicide bombing: 41 killed, 239+ injured.
  • [edit] 15 July ’16, Turkey: coup d’état: 294 killed, 1,500+ injured, thousands arrested.

And I’m wondering if Turkish tourism is about to go tits up?

After the downing of the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 and the subsequent diplomatic fallout, Russian tourists are saying ‘HeT’ and are staying well clear of their favourite beaches in Antalya. Couple that with the Sultanahmet bombing, which killed ten German tourists and injured a many others, and it could mean the Germans are about to say ‘Nein’ to holidaying in Turkey too? And if that wasn’t enough; only weeks after the Tunisia beach massacre (26 June 2015), where 38 (mainly British) tourists were killed and 36 injured, Turkish hotel workers at: Grand Yazici Mares hotel, Icmeler and Club Hotel Pineta, Marmaris posed as Daesh terrorists in ‘poolside pranks’ scaring British holidaymakers shitless – Turkish workers showing what they really feel about their EU guests and their precious tourist industry?

HOWEVER, as I’ve already said, Turkey, it’s people and cuisine are wonderful; (YES I would recommend) think about it before you go on a Turkish holiday especially in Istanbul, my favourite destination.

Three Things We Always Do In Istanbul

Turkish coffee Ethem Tezcakar Grand BazaarHave an outstanding Turkish coffee at Ethem Tezçakar Kahveci in the Grand Bazaar. Address: 61/63 Halicilar Cad. Grand Bazaar.

Sehzade Erzurum Cag KebabiEat at one of Istanbul’s best kabab restaurants, Sehzade Erzurum Cag Kebabi 3/A, Hocapasa Sok. Sirkeci, Istanbul. cağ kebab – we’re talking donner kebab on a skewer.

Hagia Sophia | Ayasofya | Aya SofyaVisit Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya or Aya Sofya) and see the Viking graffiti. This awe-inspiring former Byzantine church of the Holy Wisdom, first built in 360 AD by Constantine the Great – it’s now a museum.

Enjoy your trip, let me know how you got on xXx

[Edit: 30th June 2016: Things are getting worse, Please seek travel advice. The Foreign Office advises that British tourists visiting Turkey should be alert to their surroundings and remain vigilant in crowded places – which is pretty fucking obvious!]

Turkish Contemporary Artist Sukran Moral

Sukran Moral - ArtistThe Artist – Şükran Moral 1994
Photograph courtesy of Sukran Moral

The Lovely Irmak Yenisehirlioglu tweeted a link to Sukran Moral’s ‘My Pain My Rebellion’ exhibition at the KODE Art Museums of Bergen (30th October 2015 – 28th March 2016) (wish I could afford to get there and see it), I followed it and I was enthralled. And I searched Google and I read and I was held captive by Sukran Moral’s art.

As a hairdresser I am interested in feminism, I’m a feminist! There is nothing odd about that, I’ve been working with and for women for many years – Those of you who know me very well, will also know that I’m a keen artist: my themes being: change, religion, feminism, misogyny and memory.

My next sculpture will be a portrait of the artist Şükran Moral (pronunciation Shukran), there will be reference to the crucifixion, FGM and how I feel about the way women are being treated by Islamic State (IS) – which in my humble opinion, reflects much of what Sukran Moral is about, I’ll do some research first ;-) x

Şükran Moral (Wiki) is a Turkish contemporary artist, she’s powerful and political, thought provoking, edgy and comes with a parental advisory warning label – I like that!

A Contemporary Caliphate

It was a BBC Asian Network documentary by Catrin Nye – @CatrinNye and Athar Ahmad – @AtharAAhmad entitled: Caliphate? What an Islamic state means to British Muslims that sparked this blog post, A Contemporary Caliphate. Seven British Muslims of different sects debated on air whether a Caliphate is needed in the twenty-first century – also, it just so happens that I’m currently reading T. E. Lawrence’s “Seven Pillars of Wisdom.” BTW, I agreed with Mina Topia’s opinion!

You should be able to hear it here: Islamic State: Young British Muslims debate Caliphate

The Caliphate of the Turkish Ottoman Empire ended in 1922 with the last Sultan and Caliph, Mehmed VI, being exiled to Malta. And thus the Republic of Turkey was born! Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of modern day Turkey, attempted to Europeanise Turkey! He: liberated Turkey after world war one. founded the Independent Republic replacing Sultans and Monarchy. secularized the overall state. created a modern bureaucracy. created a modern secular education system and abolished non-governmental educational institutions. introduced the Latin alphabet (from Arabic). created a base for modern industry. gave women the right to vote. banned the Fez and set up many governmental institutions. To say that he was totally-fucking-awesome is an understatement. I love Atatürk’s motto, “peace at home, peace in the world.” I am a Kemalist.

The Islamic State (IS), formerly known as: the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), formerly known as: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s homies, formerly known as: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi’s Bitches, formerly known as: al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), are a terrorist group of barbaric murdering and raping bastards. They will fail in their quest to set-up a Caliphate because of: modern world thinking. religious differences within Islam. oil. And, national sovereignty – IS are living in an historically obsessed, idealistic dream world.

Muslims in Whitechapel, East London

Muslim ladies in Whitechapel, East London – Via: Mehdi Hasan: We Mustn’t Allow Muslims in Public Life to be Silenced

Nuns from St Joseph's Convent, Leeds. Photograph: Marcin Mazur CCN

Nuns from St Joseph’s Convent, Leeds. Photograph: Marcin Mazur CCN – Via: Young nuns go for life with the vow factor – The Guardian

If I was to walk down the high street of our small Berkshire village, here in the U.K., and bump into a Muslim woman wearing a hijab (a veil/headscarf that covers the head and chest), or a Catholic nun in traditional habit, I would smile and nod and think kindly of their religious commitment. However, should I be walking through the beautiful streets of Üsküdar (on the Anatolian side of the Bosporus and my wife’s home town in Istanbul, Turkey), where most woman are wearing at least a headscarf, I would be thinking, “these women are oppressed.” …Maybe I’m wrong to be thinking like that? But it seems like Atatürk’s vision of the future, a secular modern Turkey, is slipping, sliding back into the past?

I’m a Feminist – yeah, guys can be feminists too you know! In fact, I’d say all blokes should be feminists. A male feminist can be a lot like a reformed smoker – FERVENT (maybe that should be: religious – ha ha) ‘holier-than-thou,’ hypocritically virtuous! And then again, maybe sex gets in the way, or we realise that people are not equal in many ways and that it’s not just about gender! Maybe, actually, I’m a Humanist? Anyway, I believe that everyone should be treated equally. So what pisses me off is, when I see a woman who’s wrapped up like an Eskimo, walking behind her husband who’s dressed like a fucking gigolo – where’s the equality in that? – “It’s time to burn the headscarf” quoted from: Fashion, Politics and a Turkish Rebellion.

Turkey’s president: Erdogan on top | The Economist

Turkey’s president Erdogan on top – Erdogan is the real New Sultan/Caliph – Via: It would be better for Turkey if the presidency remained mainly ceremonial – The Economist

It seems to me that the real Contemporary Caliphate is Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vision of Turkey? And that the Muslim Brotherhood is the inspiration and driving force. However, the Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed in Egypt – and that’s my point really, it’s that old Shia Vs. Sunni nut again!

I’m an Atheist. In what holy scripture, written by God, does it say that it’s okay to kill, especially children? Surely humanity itself is our leading source of morality; at what point in our world’s history has God ever intervened (to stop any slaughter)?

It’s time for peace in our time.