Night Flight

It is with great pleasure that I can announce at ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ that, at the ‘karaoketexty.cz’ site, Petr Markov’s lyrics to Zdeněk Němeček’s beautiful tune (composed at just eighteen!) for ‘Malý princ’ (‘Little Prince’) – featured on Aleš Korábek’s site as one of the ‘Top Five’ for which to vote as an all-time favourite Valérie Čižmárová song – have now been published on-line, so, with my customarily suitably adapted ImTranslator translation from the original Czech, here are those lyrics.

Na lůžku skládacím nad knížkou sním,
jak stránky obracím jsem náhle s ním.

On a folding bed above the book I dream,
like the pages turning I am suddenly with him.

Malý princ teď se mnou sklenku sherry
přišel vypít k nám,
díky Vám ho, pane Exupéry, znám,
díky Vám!

Little prince now with me
he came to our place for a glass of sherry,
thank you, Mr. Exupéry, I know him,
thanks to you!

Malý princ, malý princ,
něžný pán hvězdných stád.
Můj malý princ růži svou
mi přišel dát.
Je štíhlý a v dětské tváři má
úsměv zářivý,
jak z jiných sfér, snad hvězdný žár
a já ho ráda mám, i když vím,
že jen pár krátkých chvil
s ním zůstat smím.

Little Prince, Little Prince,
gentle lord of the stellar herds.
My little prince
he came to give me a rose.
He is slim and has in his childlike face
a radiant smile,
as from other spheres, perhaps starlight
and I love him, even though I know
that I may stay with him
just a few short moments.

ša lalalala lálalala
ša lalalala lálalala

sha lalalala lalalala
sha lalalala lalalala

Na loubí točitá dopadá stín,
jak knížku dočítám loučím se s ním.
Malý princ teď v hloubi stratosféry
bude opět sám,
díky Vám ho, pane Exupéry, znám,
díky Vám!

There is a shadow on the spiral arc
as I read the book I say goodbye to him.
Little prince now in the depths of the stratosphere
will be alone again,
thank you, Mr. Exupéry, I know him,
thanks to you!

Malý princ, malý princ,
něžný pán hvězdných stád.
Můj malý princ růži svou
mi přišel dát.
Je štíhlý a v dětské tváři má
úsměv zářivý,
jak z jiných sfér, snad hvězdný žár
a já ho ráda mám, i když vím,
že jen pár krátkých chvil
s ním zůstat smím.

Little Prince, Little Prince,
gentle lord of the stellar herds.
My little prince
he came to give me a rose.
He is slim and has in his childlike face
a radiant smile,
as from other spheres, perhaps starlight
and I love him, even though I know
that I may stay with him
just a few short moments.

ša lalalala lálalala
ša lalalala lálalala

sha lalalala lalalala
sha lalalala lalalala

Malý princ, malý princ,
něžný pán hvězdných stád.
Můj malý princ růži svou
mi přišel dát.
Je štíhlý a v dětské tváři má
úsměv zářivý,
jak z jiných sfér, snad hvězdný žár
a já ho ráda mám, i když vím,
že jen pár krátkých chvil
s ním zůstat smím.

Little Prince, Little Prince,
gentle lord of the stellar herds.
My little prince
he came to give me a rose.
He is slim and has in his childlike face
a radiant smile,
as from other spheres, perhaps starlight
and I love him, even though I know
that I may stay with him
just a few short moments.

ša lalalala lálalala
ša lalalala lálalala
ša lalalala lálalala
ša lalalala lálalala

sha lalalala lalalala
sha lalalala lalalala
sha lalalala lalalala
sha lalalala lalalala

It appears from this that Valinka is taking a metaphorical night flight with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s ‘Le Petit Prince’ (‘The Little Prince’), which is doubly fitting inasmuch as: (a) apart from ‘Le Petit Prince’, another work by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was entitled ‘Vol de Nuit’ (‘Night Flight’) and (b) I had cause to make a contribution to the ‘Night Flight’ site regarding Valinka’s other ‘sha-la’, song, ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ (‘I’ve Not Been Crazy For A Long Time’) since ‘Night Flight’ featured an article about the act behind the original on which ‘Dávno nejsem hloupá’ was based, Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution….hence the title for this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post.

One of the leisure activities in which I participate is a weekly French evening class. A ‘regular’ of this class is the French-language novel, where the class members follow a spoken recording of the text with the aid of their hand-outs. By a remarkable coincidence, one of the novels the class has read was the aforementioned ‘Le Petit Prince’, to which I just had to treat myself, in view of the Valinka link, the cover of which has an illustration which was also by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

'Le Petit Prince' cover

As an adjunct to the current French class novel we usually delve into the life stories of the authors, so it was quite fascinating to learn that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry had been a World War II aviator – WWII aviation being a particular interest of mine, certainly at the time ‘Malý princ’ was recorded (9th July 1973) – who had met his demise during the conflict off the South Coast of France while flying photo-reconnaissance in a Lockheed P-38 ‘Lightning’ (31st July 1944).

While getting together the background research for this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post my thoughts have inevitably strayed in the direction of the Japanese Aichi D3A naval dive bomber of WWII. Japanese types had code names to the Americans, the fighters having male first names and the bombers having female first names. The Aichi D3A had the code name ‘Val’, the short form of Valerie. In view of Valinka’s curvaceous figure I think that the Americans could not have picked a better type to call ‘Val’. With those Spitfire-shaped wings and sumptuous fixed undercarriage fairings it was a real beauty – the antithesis of its German equivalent, the spiky, angular, un-cuddly Junkers Ju 87 ‘Stuka’. Who said dive bombers had to be ugly?

It occurred to me that there must have been an instance of the type in which the author of the novella that inspired a song by Valinka met his end meeting, in combat, the type that was ‘named after’ Valinka.

This led me to the remarkable tale of Richard Bong: Ace of Aces, who clearly opened his account as an ace with a ‘Val’, on a Valinka Recording Anniversary – 27th December, as in ‘Spousta příběhů’ (‘Lots Of Stories’)/’Zrzek’ (‘Redhead’). Furthermore, his birthday was also a Valinka Recording Anniversary – 24th September, as in ‘Láska na dlani’ (‘Love On The Palm Of Your Hand’)/’Náhodou’ (‘By Chance’). His date of death was also highly significant – well, I suppose rather more significant, even as an ardent ‘Valinker’, than a Valinka Recording Anniversary! – as a jet test pilot on the very day that the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Returning to the ‘Val’, some time ago I was looking into the action in which that type was involved and was taken to the days on which, for the one and only time during WWII, the British and Japanese fleets squared off against each other, particularly that other Valinka Recording Anniversary – 5th April, as in ‘Za sluncem, za vodou’ (‘In Sunshine, In Water’), when the ‘Val’ was very much demonstrating that she might have been pretty, but she had serious ‘claws’, certainly in the hands of that ‘Val’ ace, Takashige Egusa. (A meeting between him and Richard Bong would have been quite something!)

To tie all this together, Zdeněk Němeček has been, at times, in a band paying tribute to the work of the classic 1970s Rock band, Deep Purple. If we are thinking 1973 thoughts here…and thoughts on Japan, too…how can we avoid that track off their 1973 album, ‘Who Do We Think We Are?’, ‘Woman From Tokyo’…as here demonstrated by another tribute act to Deep Purple, a member of which is the author of the book I ordered because it had a (small!) section on Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution, ‘Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed in Pop Culture’, Mark Voger.

That’s ‘Val’ for you! (Very!) pretty, but full of ‘attack’…and from the East (of the Slovak part of the former Czechoslovakia, in Valinka’s case!)

I note that the lyrics make reference to sherry, which must be the only mention of that word, outside of The Four Seasons’ ‘Sherry’ and J.J. Barnes’ ‘Sweet Sherry’ I have hitherto encountered in a Pop song.

A great ‘Taste of the Seventies’ for me would be Emva Cream Cyprus Sherry, which takes me back to my Nan’s house (my maternal grandmother)…and what would you know but that this story, too, has former Eastern Bloc connections! “Sherry for the people!”

Unfortunately, Emva Cream is no longer with us, or, indeed, any other ‘almost-but-not-quite-proper-sherry’, but I have found a bottle of ‘Fortified British Wine’ to strike the appropriately ‘Ersatz’ note to toast this ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ post!

Finally, I have been wondering if ‘Le Petit Prince’ has ever inspired other musical productions apart from Valinka’s ‘Malý princ’ and around the same time as Zdeněk Němeček and Petr Markov were getting that together, Frederick Loewe and
Alan Jay Lerner were filling their respective roles for the movie musical, ‘The Little Prince’.

Might there have been a revival in interest in ‘Le Petit Prince’ coinciding with the 30th Anniversary of the publication of the novella on both sides of the Capitalist/Communist divide?

That would surely have suited our main protagonist, who was constantly bemused at the to-him ridiculously petty matters that appear to divide humans from each other.

Let’s all raise a (fake!) sherry to that!

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