Batumi on my Mind

All this lovely warm weather and ice cream is making me feel exceedingly summery, and I can’t help but think about my summer plans and escapades. At the weekend I am off to Batumi to work on my travel book about Batumi, and to meet with some people I plan to work with for my Oceans project at school next term. Its an incredibly busy time for me right now, but a lovely balance of busyness and projects, enough to keep me out of mischief, but still time for some relaxation and reflection on life so far in Georgia.

Soon I will be moving to my new apartment, and also making plans to visit Latvia and to bring my pets here, so I feel like I am starting to have a base again and am settling into a nice routine and into the local community. I will also be back in latvia in time for the Liga Festival, and all its craziness, but I will tell you more about this another time.

The important thing, is that I am really, really excited about getting back to Georgia after my short trip to Latvia, because I will be going to Batumi again, but this time for a special concert, on the 3rd July. The concert is with Chris Boti, an American composer and trumpeter, and huge fan of jazz music, who happens to be from Portland, Oregan, home of my favourite band in the world Pink Martini, who happened to make it to the UK for one night, on my birthday two years ago, and who were absolutely amazing! Here is one of my favourite tunes by them:

The concert will also feature the Georgian National Symphony Orchestra and British musician Sting (Lead singer from ‘The Police’), and as a Brit, that also makes me really excited, and in what better location than one of my favourite places in Georgia, Batumi!

I actually met Sting, once before. At the film premiere in Leicester Square, London for the James Bond film ‘Casino Royale’, my first Bond Film work wise. Sting was at the premiere with his wife and son, and also got to meet and bow to the Queen who was also watching the film in the cinema! It was an amazing evening, with a huge red carpet and an Aston Martin on a platform, Bond music, and lots of Black Suit and Ties and ladies in fancy dresses. I usually avoid such events, because I hate dressing up, but it was a special occassion, not just because it was a Bond Film, but because it was the birthday year for Pinewood Film Studios too, where most of the film was made. Bond is also special to me, because Ian Fleming (writer of the Bond stories), is from the same town as myself, and so I grew up with his work ‘Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang’ and the Fleming family, who now run the local post office, and who I have worked with on other film productions.

At school, we are doing a film project based on the Roald Dahl book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, on of my favourite stories, by my favourite author, and which was made into a film by Tim Burton and filmed at Pinewood Studios, with actor Jonny Depp as Mr Willy Wonka. The film also features Tim Burton’s wife, Helena Bonham-Carter, a relative of the Fleming family. So, not only was Sting involved with the James Bond ‘Casino Royal’ film premiere, but he has also sung and worked with Jonny Depp.

After his second Pirates of the Caribbean film, Jonny Depp was inspired by the world of pirates, sailors and sea shanties and decided to record a series of songs about the sea with producer Hal Wilner. Sting is one of Jonny Depp’s favourite artists, and in my humble opinion, Sting was a great choice for the songs.

Here is a clip of one of the sea shanties sung by Sting. It has different meanings, and no one is 100% certain about its origins. Some believe it is about the blood red roses or blisters that the sailors acquired on their hands, some believe it relates to the uniforms and character of the British Naval men, and some believe it is about the last breaths of the whales who were killed with a harpoon through their lungs, and with their last sprays throw their blow holes, reminded the sailors of pink and red roses. Not so pleasant either way!

Here is another sea shanty with Sting that I also love:

But if you still don’t know who Sting is, or why he is such a great artist, then I suggest you listen to two of his other, more popular tunes. ‘Fields of Gold’ is one of my all time favourite tunes, because it is about feeling joyous, but knowing that one day that joy will come to an end. It was inspired by the barley fields around Sting’s house near Stonehenge (Stone Circle) in England. Its about a couple who meet, fall in love, have children, are jealous of each other. When the husband dies, he asks his wife to remember him everytime she walks through the fields of gold (barley)…..a similar theme to many Georgian songs I think!

And finally, a real classic, that feels so very appropriate for me as a foreigner or alien in Georgia!!

Roll on Sting, Batumi…..and summer time!

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About Sarah Rows Solo

British YouTuber and Founder of Environmental and STEM education charity Oceans Project, preparing for a solo row around the coast of Great Britain.
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