I recently received glad tidings from Blighty, a welcome email providing light relief from my solitary confinement. Old friend, Ian and his partner, Matt, intend to join our extended leaving bash at the end of May. Ian was once my regular escort as we tripped the light fantastic across the sweaty dance floors of Europe during our misspent youth. It was he who accompanied me on my first trip to Istanbul in 2003. Our eyes popped at the dark and illicit underbelly of Turkish life. Oh, happy days.

Last year, Ian and I were summer-supping in the Duke of Wellington (the Wellie), our favourite Soho watering hole and pick up joint. He asked me what expat life was really like. This was the conversation.

It’s like Tenko.
Come again?
A great social leveller. People who, in any other situation, would neither meet nor mix are chucked together like prisoners of war.
I see. A bit like this place, then?

*Tenko was a BBC TV series of the early Eighties which dramatised the experiences of British, Australian and Dutch women imprisoned by the Japanese after the Fall of Singapore in 1942. Think ‘Bad Girls‘ in the tropics.

11 thoughts on “Tenko

  1. Exactly so…. I remember the series I have not been back for 6 years now and feel like a bit of a POW My fear is now getting out I am not sure how I will cope ? I have a plan to go back in July for a family birthday bash still not sure if I can actually make it but feel I must as just been such a long time. The jailer locked me here and threw away the key I am happily encased in Turkey.


  2. Tangential, sorry, but I LOVED Tenko! When one of the stars [by then treading the boards in the West End] popped into my branch of the Body Shop [c.1989/90] for some Seaweed and Birch shampoo I had a proper star-struck moment and nearly dropped the – somewhat apt – Japanese washing grains I was stacking at the time.


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