Where have you been?

March 29th, 2017 Sections: ianbek

imagesI can’t say that I know that much about either Rihanna or Merle Haggard … apart from the fact that they are both – among other things – singers … and that, even though they represent different genres, they both have songs called “Where have you been?” in their repertoire.

It’s a question that friends and acquaintances have posed to me several times over the last few months … and it’s a good question …

To be honest, there have been several reasons for my absence … (and, maybe, some time in the future I ‘ll go into more detail and explain about some of them) … but, fortunately, it hasn’t been anything serious such as ill health – or any of the other, more worrying, suggestions that I have heard.

Basically, it boils down, simply, to a ‘broken routine’.   

I was writing and posting a postcard every day … but that didn’t necessarily mean writing one every day.  Some days, I actually wrote two … Some were written in response to contemporary events whilst other were planned and prepared in advance, in order to appear on a particular date.

For example … I had planned and started work on a number of postcards featuring a variety of themes, such as:

  • The incidence of Hepatitis in Kyrgyzstan …
  • The use of Foreign currency for transactions here in Kyrgyzstan
  • Volcanoes – to mark the anniversary of the eruption of Vesuvius … and tracing the once commonly held view that the Tien Shan mountains were – volcanic in origin … which the explorer Semyenov showed to be untrue … or did he?
  • The history of the State Archives
  • The potential of Wind Power and other forms of alternative energy
  • The Dietsky Mir (Children’s World) chain of stores
  • The IATA code, FRU, for Bishkek’s Manas airport
  • Places like Kurumdu and Sheker
  • The monuments known as Bishkek’s ‘city gates’
  • Swan Lake and other examples of Kyrgyz ballet
  • Billiards in Kyrgyzstan

Maybe, someday, I will finish the drafts I had started and post these …

Once a week, on Saturdays, there was also a roundup of what had been happening in Kyrgyzstan during the previous week.

That weekly digest was, perhaps, the most difficult as I tried to keep to a regular timetable … and it just so happened that, due to various pressures of work, demands on my time, I ended up missing a week … and also the next week … and as time progressed, things cropped up to occupy my time and distract me from writing postcards, (and not just the weekly ones), the routine that I had established was not just ‘interrupted’ … it was broken.


It’s not as if nothing has happened in that time … there’s been quite a lot going on … in my own life, here in Kyrgyzstan, or in the wider world, (thanks to the internet I have been able to keep up with developments in Brexit, the election Trump, and so on … but I don’t think it would be fair to lay the blame for my lethargy entirely on the despondency that they daily news bulletins have brought me).


One of the standard bits of sage advice that is often proffered to help people get over difficulties is that the best things they can do after falling off a horse is to ‘get back into the saddle’ as soon as is practically possible. Unfortunately, I didn’t do that … I didn’t start writing postcards, and so get back into the routine.

However, people have been asking me if, and when, I plan to do so … and as a result I have decided that, perhaps, it is time that I did so … although I am not sure how frequently I will post … .


Interestingly, the number of visitors to the site swiftly dropped off … from a couple of hundred a day down to single figures … and several days zero … itll be interesting to see how quickly, if at all, the numbers recover.

Rihanna’s song is a mix of styles, from dance-pop to hip-hop, from techno house to trance and R&B.  The lyrics are “unashamedly sexual” and is about the singer’s search for a man who can satisfy her needs …”



where-have-you-beenThe song’s underlying theme, “Where have you been all my li-i-i-i-i-fe“, didn’t really really reflect what I had in mind when composing this postcard … whereas Merle Haggard’s song fits the bill better … with its emphasis on ‘your being missed by your friends  … so pick up the pieces and start over again.



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