Istiklal Caddesi is a large, mostly pedestrianized thoroughfare that runs through Beyoglu district in downtown Istanbul. It’s wide, and especially loud at night, with groups of young men walking together, arm in arm, girls in shorts and clothes only to be worn with impunity in places like this street, and religious, conservative families out for a night on Istiklal, which is lined with store after store selling a multitude of things that I’m not in the mood at this time to describe. I will say that it’s got everything from baked potatoes stuffed with a most bizarre and freakish array of goodies to head spinning Turkish desserts, major clothing retailers both local and international and kebabs. Lots and lots of kebabs. And one other unforgettable (and to my mind unfortunate), presence: that of the “polis”….police. Lots and lots of those, too…..young, skinny guys with trendy boy toy haircuts who carry two things every time I see them: either an AK-47 (and something else equally intimidating that I don’t know the name of), and a young guy swagger that is reminiscent to me of an impersonation of some kind. It is not possible to photograph them, at least for me….I regularly receive hard looks and long, distrustful glares from these guys who I expected to make me feel safer in a place that’s been suicide bombed, but the reality is that I don’t feel comfortable being anywhere near them. It’s overwhelmingly obvious to me that they aren’t anything like the police force that I am accustomed to in other places, and that I can’t go to them for help, or look too long and curiously at them.
So one night, in this crazy mix of disparate clamor these two little boys materialized, chattering to me in Arabic, trying to sell me a packet of tissues for one Turkish Lira. Many kids sell tissues, and my bag is stuffed with these little white rectangles. They were sweet, one appearing to be no more than five, the other close to eight. Both were shoeless, and alone at a very late hour, weaving their way through large groups of adults who paid little attention to them. Their hands, faces and clothing were stained deeply with Istanbul’s uniquely centuries old grime, but despite this the older one was gentle and questioning, curious about me and my camera. They were excited at the sight of it, and made it clear that they wanted to see themselves in a picture. Quite a few kids on the street ask me to take their pictures because it’s a first time for them, or a second….and deeply exciting for them, seeing themselves in a photo….and a pleasure for me. I get nervous, trying hard to do it just right in what are often poor lighting situations, requiring some Lightroom fixes later, fixes that will make a slightly flawed and backlit image pleasing enough to be acceptable to me. But they only get to see the image as it appears just afterward in the viewfinder, because moments later they disappear into the night, and I never see them again.
505- Arctic monkeys
Life is simple in the moonlight- The strokes
Chocolate- The 1975
Face it- Beach fossils
Tyrants- Catfish and the bottlemen
Coming of age- Foster the people
Read my mind- The killers
Got no love- The kooks
Thread the needle- The griswolds
Stand on the horizon- Franz Ferdinand
Afterlife- Arcade fire
Weight of love- The black keys
Hold back the river- James Bay
Anna sun- Walk the moon
Undercover Martyn- Two door cinema club
Step- Vampire weekend
Spanish sahara- Foals
My love- Circa waves
Isabel- The wombats
Miracle aligner- The last shadow puppets
Tides- The xx
Clearest blue- CHVRCHES
About you- San cisco
Ace in the hole- Saint motel
Slow life- Of monsters and men
Single- The neighbourhood
Waves -Sundara karma
A rush of blood- Coasts
There are mouse traps in the Fake AH Crew’s penthouse. Old school, spring loaded mousetraps right out of a cartoon. It takes everyone a while to see them, and even then no one really takes much notice; there’s nothing particularly abnormal about mousetraps after all. Except that the penthouse has never had mice. Except that for all they are bloodthirsty criminals no one in the crew really has the stomach to crush a rodent to death; the Lads short lived plan to keep a pet snake to terrify Geoff ended not because the man in question caught them but instead because none were willing to handle feeding the bloody thing.
So the traps are weird then. The traps no one uses. The traps no one claims. The traps that seem to be multiplying. Not quickly, slow enough to slide under the radar, but month by month the boxes grow until suddenly one of the spare rooms is completely filled.
Which, understandably, is noticed. Geoff calls a meeting and the crew wastes an afternoon squabbling over who and how and why but nothing is resolved. Everyone knows it must be a trap of some sort, someone setting up for a prank or a hilarious stunt, and no one wants to be the target. The culprit does not identify themselves, and there’s more than enough secondhand glee and trepidation going around to muddy the waters and keep the guilty party unknown.
No one is prepared to brave removing the mousetraps themselves, unsure if some trap will be sprung simply by entering the room, so the boxes remain. It’s an uneasy sort of acceptance, no member of the crew wanting to complain and single themselves out, so the threat lays dormant long enough that everyone has to move on, has to stop actively wondering. Even subconsciously they still pass the room gingerly, cautious, but as the months go by and the bedroom remains closed the fact that the boxes continue to multiply is pushed out of mind.
And then Dan flies over to pay Gavin a visit. As usual he’s greeted with a celebration, drink in hand before he’s through the front door; the first of many as the night predictably devolves into something raucous and messy and seamlessly fond. It’s late by the time the teasing and story telling dies down, by the time Dan finally trudges up the hall with his bag, so it takes the crew a moment too long to remember that Dan’s usual room was already occupied. They thunder down the hall just in time to see - nothing. The boxes are gone, the room is immaculate, like nothing strange has been growing there for almost a year, like the crew’s fears were entirely unfounded.
Or so they think, until dawn breaks with Dan screaming the house down, waking everyone up way too early as they scramble to arm themselves and drag their hungover bodies towards the apparent fight taking place in the living room. The fight between Dan and what turns out to be literally thousands of mousetraps, laid out in concentric circles around the main room ready to catch Dan on his usual jetlag-early, half-awake stumble to kitchen.
The culprit would be obvious even without Gavin’s distinctive squeaking giggles ratting him out, perched on the kitchen counter and filming the whole scene on his phone, the areas around him lined with its own little wall of still-loaded mouse traps. Unfortunately, regardless of whatever protection Gavin thought they would buy him, Dan charges right through to tackle him screeching to the ground anyway.
The video winds up on youtube, because of course it does; Gavin is an asshole and sees no reason why the whole world shouldn’t enjoy his endless efforts to torture Dan. By the time Gavin gets the video together, including a time lapse of the set up, various angles from a handful of go pros placed strategically around the room, a slow mo replay of the dawning horror on Dan’s face as the traps go off and the angry bodyslam to close it out, it has all the elements of an excellent video. So of course it goes viral; passed around the internet at lightning speed, shown on various news programs, racking up millions of views before the day is over.
It doesn’t take long for the internet to point out the handful of infamous criminal lookalikes edging into frame at the end, obviously too soft and rumpled and hopelessly entertained to be the real deal, but still a funny comparison all the same. Even more amusing when the blurry footage almost makes them look armed, so-called guns a startling juxtaposition against the silly prank and cutesy patterned pyjamas everyone seems to be wearing. Combined with the obvious opulence of the room, and the kind of cash it must take to buy so many mousetraps just for a stunt, there is no shortage of people joking about the video being a candid episode of MTV Cribs featuring the Fake AH Crew.