Just in time for Valentine's Day, herewith the latest from Egyptian superstar Amr Diab. The subtitles go with "You Own My Heart," but literally the title - "Maak Alby" - is "My Heart is with You."
It's a pretty, noodly little tune, sentimental but engaging. One thing struck me: in how many Western music videos do we get such an intimate glimpse of private lives, and moreover ones in which both the male and female leads are sketched as having rich creative interests? He's a musician, she's an artist, and they live in a vast and deeply enviable flat with Nile views. I hate them.
Oh - and he's 55 (at least - I firmly believe that most Arab stars engage in games of age-deflation that would put a Gabor to shame). He consistently looks younger (and certainly buffer) than he did decades ago, when he burst onto the pop scene as a cheerfully pudgy local-boy-made-good. He's deeply beloved in Egypt and popular across the Middle East; he survived mostly unscathed the political upsets of the past decade. Although he was for a while seen as a little too pro-Mubarak, that now seems almost a virtue, as what's followed since has made that difficult era seem almost nostalgia-worthy. In any case, he soldiers on and continues to deliver music that's almost preternaturally middle-of-the-road and yet still rather likeable. Sort of a Billy Joel with a better figure.
If nothing else, it's appropriate for the day, this song, even if it's a day we'll likely spend fairly quietly. Mr. Muscato flew back last night, at last forsaking the considerable charms of Palm Springs, much to the delight of the dog and, of course, to me, even if my transports at 1:30 a.m. were markedly more restrained than the Yorkie's. Making things even more than usually sedate is the annoying fact that I'm down with yet another round of bronchitis, my second so far this year and this one much more unpleasant. Fortunately, a strong round of antibiotics and a nice inhaler seem to be doing the trick, but I'm still achy and grumpy and not terribly hearts-and-flowers on the whole.
That said, we still have much to celebrate - not just the whole usual "I've Got You, Babe" sort of Valentine's thing, but also that this holiday now marks the annual passing of another year since my little cardiac issues two years back. On that front, passing bugs aside, I feel terrific. I'm on the whole still pretty compliant with the not-terribly-onerous regime of diet and exercise that keep me slim(mish) and active, and while an upcoming appointment with the Dishy Cardiologist will tell the whole tale (and possibly let me know where I need to do a little fine-tuning here and there), it continues to strike me as nothing short of miraculous what good things can come even from trials on the order of a heart attack, quadruple bypass, pulmonary embolism, and protracted invalidism. Even more than in usual times, it's nice to remember that the best things can result from bad times, don't you think?