Originally from Exeter, Sean explores his thoughts and feelings about Turkey in his new book Salt in the Milk – Ten Years in Istanbul on Kindle Direct.
“I was published in Time Out Istanbul, Cosmopolitan, Turkish Daily News, Louder Than War and many others while there, writing on music and culture. I was also a musician, releasing four albums there.
“I had a lot of Turkish friends on my MA course, and so I went out to Turkey for a holiday –
and stayed. I started writing out there, and then eventually I came back because I had had enough of the place and the place had had enough of me.
“Coming back to the UK has been quite a culture shock. It is so calm and so refreshing and so ordered after living with 20 million people on top of you. I started to become run ragged. When you are living somewhere so culturally different, you start to become a different person and you start to behave in a different way. I started to lose who I was.”
The title of the book refers to the Turkish drink ayran, a yoghurt-like drink to which you add salt if you want to make it stronger. When he first saw it, he mistakenly believed people were putting salt in milk: “And then it started to seem like a metaphor, that I was this foreign body in this glass of milk!”
The book is a collection of prose from a character that Sean invented, a posh ex-pat “who abused the Istanbul around him like the old colonial types did, but it is a bit updated. He is only part of it, though. I am a reviewer and a music writer. I have also got interviews in there with people that I have done.”