Arik was magnificent onstage. He sang whatever it was we all wanted him to sing back in 1970, I suppose a quick search online would reveal what those numbers may have been. It didn’t much matter. What we wanted was his presence, the tantalizing closeness of celebrity on a grand scale, the nearness of the most dense charisma in a region that also featured Moshe Dayan and Jordan’s King Hussein.
When he was done, perspiring heavily and barely standing, I used my connections inside the student council entertainment committee to go backstage. And there was a moment there, when Arik Einstein and I were all alone, he sweating bullets, dying to go home for a shower, and I, just turned 15, with a stack of hormonally induced lyrics. I handed him the pages, dumb with awe.
He gestured for a pen. I realized he thought I wanted an autograph.
I was deeply offended by the most attractive creature in the Near East. How humiliating is this?
Then I managed to whisper, “They’re songs…” and he waved me away with a frown and said, “Not now,” already fleeing into the safety of the parking area and his ride.
That was my 1970 brush with greatness. I hated Arik for a few days. I sulked. Then his wonderfully liberating movie Shablul came out, or maybe his TV show, or maybe it was this or that song which just precisely described my life. I don’t recall the particulars, search the Web. How long could I sulk, anyway? I probably wrote a poem about it. Life seemed so terribly romantic in 1970, three whole years before the war that decimated my generation.
Originally published at RadioHazak.