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Time-traveling from the U.S. to Israel to the U.K. and Back
What a great world that I can have on cross-country skiing, white-on-black, silver reflective gloves, a gray and raspberry wool hat, tortoise-shell sunglasses, a raspberry down ski jacket, and be mounting the foothills of the Watchung Mountains in Montclair, New Jersey while listening to Israeli music from the '70s that I used to play in our living room in Stamford, Connecticut from my older sister Deb's records...and it's coming to me from Cambridge University on a podcast of a show called Kol Cambridge!
"Yo Ya" by Poogy began as I reached Pat's and my garage door. I entered the code, tossed my sunglasses onto the front seat of my car and felt like an eight-year-old dancing around the house again. Never really knew what they were singing, but felt cool just by listening, and dancing to it. No one had coined the term "air guitar" yet, but they were the right group to pretend to play with had I been at all inclined.
The album was "Sipurey Poogy"/"Tales of Poogy" and I've just looked up the group on YouTube. I'm listening to "Hamakolet"/"The Grocery Store" now. When I was a kid, and now, I thought they might be singing "Kita Gimel"/"Third Grade" at one point in that song, and Kita Gimel was the grade I was in then. I loved the rest of how the tune sounded. The lead singer had a deep, sexy voice -- and for much of the song simply told a mesmerizing story. It was rap of a sort.
"Yo Ya", though, really transported me. I have tears in my throat as I listen to it again. I had no idea how life would be nearly 40 years hence when I first heard the song. The only really sad part is that my dad (z"l) is gone. Otherwise, I'm happier altogether than I was then, if a little bit less uninhibited. Then, my dad was unemployed and we nearly moved to Tehran, so that my dad could build a toy factory, but fortunately, that didn't work out. I felt unsettled during that period in any case, other than escaping into great music of the day, including Poogy.
During my hike, today, in 2012, Kol Cambridge played another song by a group that was popular when I lived in Jersualem in 1985 and '86, at 20, Mashina. The song differed from the hit I knew, which was "Rakevet Laila Le-Kahir"/"Night Train to Cairo". When I hear "Rakevet...", I think of the on-campus club, Bar Aton, where we danced on Friday nights; it was all that was open on Shabbat, and I've written here before that Arab townies routinely asked us to let them come in to the club with us, which we did, since anyone without a Hebrew University student ID had to enter as a guest. It was pure fun every Friday.
During the last blocks of my walk this evening, I was thinking that love and power are complicated, that is, my love of Israel is complicated, and power is a potential corrupter in anyone's hands, including in some bored Israeli soldiers' at checkpoints and a number of rich Palestinians who live in Ramallah; an author I met on a plane back from Dallas confirmed so in her book, which I read after meeting her, *Fast Times in Palestine*. I never knew how unconcerned a number of upper-class Palestinians were about their less fortunate comrades, according to the author. Her name is Pamela Olson and she may still be in her '20s. She's a Stanford Physics grad who happened to land in Palestine after a jaunt in Jordan during a post-college trip to see the world. And we agreed that whatever one's politics, that part of the planet is somehow addictive. It just is.