Friday, December 04, 2009

Near a celebrity

On a red eye coming back from New York, decades ago, I sat across the aisle from Rudolph Nureyev's masseur. The man had just resigned the job and was leaving New York in his rear view mirror - ready to start anew on the left coast. For a couple of hours he told me horror stories about Nureyev. Apparently he was a monster to work for. Horribly demanding and totally inconsiderate of people's time and schedule. If he wanted a massage in the middle of the night, his masseur had to come running or risk being fired on the spot. In the presence of others, he'd order the masseur around like a dog, speak to him disrepectfully and jerk his chain. The poor man poured out all these complaints in half-whisper in the dark, while most of our fellow passengers were sleeping.

Every time I saw Nureyev after that encounter, I couldn't enjoy his dancing nearly as much as formerly, when I saw him sans personality as a blank page with fantastic jumps.

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