My nephew Nikita came to Israel to spend the summer with his grandparents – my parents. It was all fun, until two days before his flight back to Moscow he was hospitalized in Rambam with a bad case of peritonitis.
So his flight is postponed, of course. A week after the operation he can still hardly eat and walk. My parents sit at his bed in the hospital twenty-four seven and they are terribly tired, so i came to help them.
Today i sat with him for a few hours. He mostly slept. The TV was on with a low volume and i watched Music 24 (nonstandard1), the Israeli music channel.
The golden age of the music video has ended in about 1996. Back then MTV was the undisputed Master of the Universe and local videos, although very low-budget, aspired to the international big brother and had a lot of character. These days, however, nearly all Israeli music videos can be grouped into three sets:
- The singer is walking around the streets of Tel Aviv. And it’s the same couple of streets in all of them.
- The singer is walking around his rented apartment in Tel Aviv, makes coffee, watches TV, talks on the phone or goes down to the street to buy cigarettes.
- A huge close-up on the singer’s face. Obviously, this group is the most disgusting. I guess that too many video directors fell in love with Sinéad or – worse – with Alanis (Flash2).
By a rough count, nine out of ten videos falls into one of these, which is quite astonishing and depressing. It can ruin even good songs. But there are exceptions.
Eviatar Banai‘s video for “Yesh li sikuy” (Flash) is a quiet little masterpiece of music video making. The song itself is one of the all-time masterpieces of Israeli music; It is from Banai’s debut album. It’s black and white and it shows people in a bar lip synching to the song, subtly conveying the mood of the line they are singing. (Can you spot Banai himself there?)
Somewhere in the middle of the song there are those lines:
אמא שרה לבן בלילה,
אמא כאן לידך כל הזמן.
Mummy sings to the son in the night,
Mummy’s here near you all the time.
In the video a pregnant woman is singing the last line. You can hardly notice that she’s pregnant until she touches her belly. This subtlety is pure beauty.
I guess that it would make me cry even without the unfortunate circumstances, but sitting there in the hospital near sleeping Nikita while his mother was far away in Moscow did put things into a perspective.
I started writing this entry a few days ago. It was a pretty crazy bunch of days since then.
Nikita’s mother – my sister – Olga finally came to Israel today after fighting with travel agencies for a few days. His health became better.
Yesterday i bought him Gossip’s Standing in the Way of Control, a CD for which he was looking for months, in Moscow and in Israel. Finding it wasn’t easy. He was particularly happy to receive it, which may have contributed to his slowly improving health, too. Despite his current condition, i envy him; i don’t think that i shall ever be as touched by music as i used to be when i was his age.
Anyway, for the night he put it in a drawer next to his hospital bed and in the morning it wasn’t there. There is a slight chance that with all the fuss around him the CD was just misplaced and will be found, but everybody is sure that it was stolen.
I’m amazed. What a terrible scumbag someone must be to steal a rare CD from a sick child. I mean, i would at least understand the motivation if it was something famous, but even i hardly know this band, so what kind of a low life would want to steal it? He can get – what? – 20 NIS for it in a used CD store? Fukker.
1 Actually, the site seems to be mostly functional, but the videos use CastUp technology, which is IE-only. I never managed to install the Firefox plugin they offer, and even if it would work, it would only work on Windows. By the way, i (still) work for the company that recently announced the acquisition of CastUp. What do you know…
2 Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” is not on YouTube. Alanis’ Head over Feet video is still there…