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  • CSE Cyprus

    Posted on May 22nd, 2011 No comments

    I have done all the main places CSE visit except for Cyprus, where we still have a large amount of troops and sovereign airfields (currently been used for support in both Afghanistan and Libya). So I was quite excited to be going, especially as I would be being joined by my favourite duo from my last CSE trip to the middle east, Andy and Sam.

    However I wasn’t prepared for what I got to see when I got there. With being on Ghost right up until we left I hadn’t really had a chance to see where we were going in Cyprus and wrongly presumed we would just be doing an airbase show like we did in Dubai and Oman. We were in fact doing a show for British troops working for the UN in the countries highly tensioned UN Buffer Zone, setup to separate Greek and Turkish forces and form the basis for a ceasefire. I was not alive during the conflict in Cyprus but was aware of it happening, but I honestly due to lack of media coverage had presumed it long solved. This isn’t the case, and there is still a lot of work being done by the UN there.

    The show was actually in the buffer zone in the old 5 star hotel where the troops are based, Ledra Palace. I say 5 start hotel, its long since lost a few of those stars! But the history of the area and the buffer zone is fantastic. I unfortunately due to having to setup for the show could not do the full ‘Green Line’ tour, but due to conditions of the buffer zone being setup, nothing here can be changed or altered and as such the area is like a modern day Pompeii, which everything preserved as it was. Car’s are still left in showrooms, tables are still set, it’s incredible! The hotel itself has clear marks of how fierce the fighting was with vast bullet holes and even shell holes. It was amazing to be able to see this type of thing, and made me realise how heated the original conflict was.

    Today though the area is still in tension, although you can now pass through the buffer zone freely (as we did for some lovely Turkish food!). The acts of aggression are now somewhat more petty, with the Turk’s drawing a massive flag on the mountain side overlooking the south, while the Greeks choose to have there ambassador close to the buffer zone so they can legally have a Greek flag. Work is being done to bring the two sides closer together, and hopefully eventually the UN presence won’t be required.

    On the final day they took us to the now abandoned Nicosia Airport, where again due to the fact nothing can be altered or fixed so the terminal buildings, hangers and even one left plane are slowly falling into disrepair. Although I am sure given the chance Ryanair would land here (although say its Paris). The plane (a Cyprus Air jet), was incredible to just see it sat there, have a look at the pictures below.

    The troops we were entertaining were actually a TA regiment. I found it fascinating talking to them about there backgrounds and what they do out here. It’s pretty special that these men and women can work normal jobs back home, training when they can and then be called up service not just here but in Afghanistan as well for 6 months.

    All of this and I haven’t said anything technical about the show. The show went completely fine. Only interesting thing to mention was that I had a brand new (straight from the airport) Midas Venice F24 to play with at FOH. It sounded amazing and I loved the ability to multi track firewire audio both out and in. Thanks to Marios and his crew for getting the gig setup and working, and likewise to Maria for the lovely lighting!

    What I thought would be a ‘standard CSE’ was far from it. Now however I best get my production engineer head on and remember how to fix speakers to walls.

    Photos

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