Bicycle Diaries: 99 Luftballons

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99 Luftballons

Ever get bored just biking in the big city? Why not launch a few balloons then follow them through the streets? Better yet, why not attach a compact digital camcorder to the balloons and record their journey? Some folks did just this with a video project that started with the idea to send a video camera over San Francisco, no strings attached. Just the wind and gravity ... and to get to it wherever it may land by chasing it on bikes.

This immediately made me think of 99 Luftballons, the Cold War-era protest song by the German New Wave band Nena. Most folks here in the States remember the English cover, 99 Red Balloons, from those wonderful 80s.

You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons
With the money we've got
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message
"Something's out there"
Floating in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by

99 red balloons
Floating in the summer sky
Panic bells, it's red alert
There's something here
From somewhere else
The war machine springs to life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky
Where 99 red balloons go by

99 Decision Street
99 ministers meet
To worry, worry, super-scurry
Call the troops out in a hurry
This is what we've waited for
This is it boys, this is war
The president is on the line
As 99 red balloons go by

[Instrumental Interlude]

99 Knights of the airway
Ride super-high-tech jet fighters
Everyone's a Superhero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk
With orders to identify
To clarify and classify
Scramble in the summer sky
As 99 red balloons go by

As 99 red balloons go by

99 dreams I have had
In every one a red balloon
It's all over and I'm standin' pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenier
Just to prove the world was here
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go

Hast Du etwas Zeit fuer mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied fuer Dich
Von 99 Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Denkst Du vielleicht grad' an mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied fuer Dich
Von 99 Luftballons
Und dass sowas von sowas kommt

99 Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Hielt man fuer UFOs aus dem All
Darum schickte ein General
'ne Fliegerstaffel hinterher
Alarm zu geben, wenn's so waer
Dabei war'n da am Horizont
Nur 99 Luftballons

99 Duesenjaeger
Jeder war ein grosser Krieger
Hielten sich fuer Captain Kirk
Das gab ein grosses Feuerwerk
Die Nachbarn haben nichts gerafft
Und fuehlten sich gleich angemacht
Dabei schoss man am Horizont
Auf 99 Luftballons

99 Kriegsminister
Streichholz und Benzinkanister
Hielten sich fuer schlaue Leute
Witterten schon fette Beute
Riefen: Krieg und wollten Macht
Mann, wer haette das gedacht
Dass es einmal soweit kommt
Wegen 99 Luftballons

99 Jahre Krieg
Liessen keinen Platz fuer Sieger
Kriegsminister gibt's nicht mehr
Und auch keine Duesenflieger
Heute zieh ich meine Runden
Seh' die Welt in Truemmern liegen
Hab' 'nen Luftballon gefunden
Denk' an Dich und lass' ihn fliegen

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