Mar 02 2008

99 Decision Street

Published by at 8:54 pm under Music,Politics,Russia

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red balloon.gif24.

Perhaps it’s coincidence, but I seem to have met a disproportionate number of people over the past week who are 24. Born in 1984, ten years after me.

One of my favourite songs is also 24. 24 years ago this week, 99 Red Balloons was just finishing a week as the UK’s Number One. I have vague recollections of my sister and I listening to its fall from grace on the Capital Radio Chart Show, courtesy of David ‘Kid’ Jensen. Nena, lead singer of the eponymous German rock group, was 24 at the time.

If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go

I gave the song a blast this afternoon to see what my daughter, now the same age I was in 1984, made of it. Lately she’s been asking a lot about recent history so I even had a go at explaining the dated-sounding Cold War lyrics. I spared her the video, though, with its ’80s fashion and bad hairstyles.

Incidentally, whilst looking up the links for this post, I came across the original German lyrics to Neunundneunzig Luftballons. Rather more protest going on there than in the almost comedic English translation, and perhaps more contemporary relevance too.

Neunundneunzig Kriegsminister
Streichholz und Benzinkanister
Hielten sich für schlaue Leute
Witterten schon fette Beute
Riefen “Krieg!” und wollten Macht
Mann, wer hätte das gedacht
Daß es einmal so weit kommt

Oh, and for anyone who’s expecting a ‘Russia election’ post, this is as close as you’re going to get.

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