A couple of weeks ago I got to listen to The Pretenders 1986 album Get Close. Having not listened to it for more than ten years it sure brought back memories.
The unique thing about the world tour that accompanied this album's release was that they've actually included Israel in their plans. Me and my best friend Haim decided to go and see Tel Aviv's Park Yarkon show, played at the open air venue where the biggest shows in Israel are held in front of tens of thousands of spectators. My brother took me there before to see Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms, and I definitely wanted to reproduce the experience.
Money was an object for us high school kids, but luckily for us Revlon came up with a special deal: buy several bottles of their shampoos and you got a significant discount on Pretenders' tickets! It was a no brainer for me, as at the time I was using Revlon shampoos anyway (or rather, my mother was and I was borrowing hers).
We saved our money, bought our shampoos, and went to the box office near the Cameri Theater to buy our tickets. For a few weeks they were the most carefully guarded pieces of paper on our small piece of earth.
Show day had arrived and we were early to the park so we could put our claim to a good vantage territory. With all the people in there, though, that was not a feasible act; I remember watching the show's opener, Room Full of Mirrors (a Hendrix song whose Pretenders' version became my favorite Pretenders song ever) from afar while it was still broad daylight.
Something had to be done, so Haim and I decided to take the plunge and push ourselves to the very front. Soon enough we were there, pressed between the crowds and the railing just below the stage. We were right below Chrissie Hynde; we could see her fillings, and she definitely had her eyes on us from time to time (especially Haim; she couldn't help his devastating looks). It was actually funny, the things you could see from such a close range: between the general Israeli heat and the strong lighting on the performers you could see the makeup melting off Hynde's face and all of the sweat she had to deal with while playing guitar and singing. The lighting was so strong we were able to see guitarist's Robbie McIntosh underwear through his pants, a vision that managed to make such an impression on us that Haim and I still remind ourselves of good old Robbie's underwear.
The show ended with Brass in Pocket, and suddenly we were free. For over a couple of hours we've had no control of our bodies, being pressed as we were between a whole lot of people. We were just constantly swept away, which would have been scary if we weren't on the taller side of things (for a couple of girls standing next to us it was very scary as they nearly got drowned under people's legs; it was so tight in there I might have impregnated them and a few other girls and boys that evening). As our bodies were released so did the sweat accumulated over the show, and suddenly I felt cold; for a week later I was horizontal in bed with a severe cold.
Yet that's how memories of a lifetime are created.
There can be no doubt in my mind that there is a longing in me for those good old days. The days when I had hardly any responsibilities but did have all the time in the world to do anything I wanted to do.
Yet the reason in me tells me this longing is nothing more than a stupid notion, the same type of a longing for days that were never there that conservatives worldwide share. It is the craving we all have for a simple world with no uncertainties and where all of our needs are being taken are of by some superior agent (for most of us, our parents). Sure, I do have parental responsibilities now, and that means my life is not my own anymore, but was life that good back then? And what is wrong with having a life so important it is crucial to others?
Back then in the good old days I didn't particularly enjoy my life. My high school years were pretty dreary, I was hopeless with the girls, I was lacking in means, and the offerings I could choose from were of a pretty limited nature and scope; when I wasn't doing my homework I was constantly bored. I was even playing D&D with myself. Boredom is a word that does not exist in my vocabulary anymore.
I do miss those days of irresponsibility, but I fully recognize that time is long gone. I am a man of the present now; the one thing I truly miss is the presence of my best friend, Haim.