The balloons are not red, and there is no toy shop. The narrator doesn’t dream of red balloons either. But, like its English-language counterpart (“99 Red Balloons”) Nena’s “99 Luftballons” (1983) is about an accidental, apocalyptic war triggered by 99 balloons. Luft means air, and ballon means balloon. So, literally, a luftballon is an air
1 There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. – John Cage, “Experimental Music” (1957), in Silence: 50th Anniversary Edition (Wesleyan UP, 2011), p. 8 Philip Nel, guitar and vocal, Manhattan, Kansas, 26 July 2020. 2 John Cage’s 4’33” was first performed
Back by (not especially) popular demand! It’s the fifth and final episode, in which I share five things keeping me going during the pandemic. As noted previously, what works for me may not work for you, and indeed may not be available to you. If you feel so moved, do share what’s keeping you going!