I have a new best friend, in my dreams. In my dream he is rich and famous, enormously (suprisingly) talented. He lives in New Orleans (surely that should be Memphis) and he wants to be my best friend. In my dream he is Justin Timberlake. Oh woe is me. I have a teenage crush at 41. Last night I joined an assorted crowd of JT fans in a park in Tel Aviv to see my new best friend in concert. At the end of the concert I was shocked by the talent and professionalism. I had enjoyed bobbing up and down to the music, I even raised my hands above my head at certain moments. He can sing, play guitar, play piano, dance and lets face it he is easy on the eye. He wasn’t however my new best friend.
Then I went home to sleep.
By 7am he was my best friend. I was enjoying myself so much, hanging out in a cafe with him, introducing him to my family, being introduced to his friends that I asked my 3 year old to let me sleep a little more rather than admire the art work she had done for me and wanted to be stuck on the wall, This surely is a mid life crisis. I am already looking forward to going to sleep tonight so I can hang out with him again.
In very recent years the major acts are starting to add Tel Aviv to the concert circuit. Slowly, slowly they are returning after the 2000 intifada and the fear of being accused of political/religious bias kept them away. Now the instagrams of stars at the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock or floating in the Dead Sea are appearing on a weekly basis. Rihanna liked the Dead Sea so much she was still floating in it when she should have been on stage.
My first job in Israel back in 2005 was for a music promoter. I was in charge of looking after the ‘stars’ from the moment they landed their private jets until we breathed a sigh of relief when they climbed back on. It was still too soon for the really big names to come so unfortunately I didn’t meet the Madonnas and Elton Johns of the world. My first band was Faithless who were actually very nice. Their lead singer was a little demanding but by the time they left I was quite a fan. The other bands were famous but I had to look them up before they arrived (I ain’t no music officinado). Some were more demanding than others, ‘I want the tent dressing room to be swathed in white silk and filled with white lilies’ – the “star” in question was one of many acts at a festival, had a 3 song set and was in the ‘dressing room’ for precisely half an hour. When she left I picked up the lilies which had been thrown on the floor and trodden on.
These backstage riders are actually negotiated before the arrival of the acts. The promoter and the manager thrash out whether the stars will get French champagne cooled to a certain temperature or not. In true Israeli fashion we agreed to everything and then provided a version of the requests.
My personal favourite moment was when Phil Collins arrived. We had a police escort to the
hotel from the airport (why?) which was very exciting. We weren’t allowed to address ‘Mr Collins’ directly and there were to be no tip offs to the press and no unauthorised photographs. When the cavalcade arrived at the hotel the entrance was packed with the paparazzi (I was confidently assured that they had been tipped off to boost ticket sales). The hotel manager came to greet Mr. Collins and the hotel photographer was summoned to take the official hand shake photo. Collin’s manager was turning puce. The piece de resistance was the cake the hotel had prepared and presented to Mr Collins so he could cut it – again, why? The cake was decorated with a life size sugar paper photocopy of Phil Collins’ face which he then proceed to stick a large knife into. Classy. Collin’s manager then demanded that the whole band, techies, entourage, et al be moved to another hotel.
So back to my bezzie mate. I have tried to online stalk him just so I know where he stayed and I have wondered what was on his rider. As I know him so well I think he would just ask for water – he’s no diva. The one surprise is the fact that my crush is purely platonic. That’s what age does to you. I wasn’t the oldest at the concert I am happy to report but my friend’s 9 year old shattered my idea that I was doing something vaguely young and cool by asking,’who is Justin Timberlake?’. Even Justin is too old for da kids. Back to dreaming then.