Thursday, December 30, 2010

Butterflies and Starships

The butterfly effect is the theory that a butterfly beating its wings in South America can cause a chain of events that leads to a tornado in Texas. Of course with chaos theory you can imagine something like that as well as that same butterfly’s wing flap causing the most gentle stir of a breeze in Texas that allows a fragrance enough strength to move into a room and someone smells it and it brings back fond memories and lakes their day. Chain of events done.
The story I have about a butterfly effect involves a high school yearbook in 1986 and impulse purchase made eight years earlier. And there is an ironic twist.
The German Disco Group Bony M. was not well known in America. In 1978 they released Their Album Nightflight to Venus. The title track is a percussion dominated song with narration that sounds like Cylons from classic Battlestar Galactica. A grandmother was shopping in Australia for her grandson and spotted the album. It looked science fiction themed and she knew he was fond of Star Wars so she bough it for him. That grandson was my friend, Alan who played the tape for me. We both enjoyed the drum-beats and overall ethereal sound of the song. The opening narration with the Cylon voice welcomed everyone aboard the starship. A name was given and to us it sounded most likely that the Cylon called the starship Olion.
A few years later Maui Youth Theatre was doing the stage Production of Starman Jones. The director asked me to put together a mixed tape of good sci-fi music. So along with Meco’s Star Wars/Cantina band and other sci-fi music I included Bony M. singing Nightflight to Venus.
Our friend Hans was enamored by the song so I gave him a copy. We discussed the song and I told him how Bony M.’s music was hard to find in the U.S. I also told him the Starship’s name was The Olion.
Hans took me for a ride in his Toyota pickup once and he started the motor and drove in time to the music. Then I saw in his senior year book that he wrote a shout out to his truck. He named it Olion.
So the impulse purchase in Australia caused a chain of events that led to the yearbook hat-tip. And what teenage guy wouldn’t name his vehicle? I thought it was very cool. But here comes the twist. I bought the CD in Budapest, Hungary years later. I realized that they were not saying Olion. So I finally looked up the lyrics on the internet. Here is what the Cylon actually says:

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome aboard the starship Boney M for our first passenger flight to Venus.

There you have it. There never was a Starship called Olion. Like Jimi Hendrix kissing a guy, it was misheard lyrics.
So Hans, your truck was even more unique that you knew at the time. Thanks for the memories.

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