Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The dude he shot down

NPR's World Cafe did an interview with Widespread Panic earlier this month and lead singer John Bell told the story behind Saint Ex, the first track on the band's latest studio album, Dirty Side Down.

I transcribed a bit of the interview:
Saint Ex is the short title for the guy who wrote the book The Little Prince. He did a bunch of other stuff, too. Wrote incredible books that weren't just children's stories. ... But he was shot down, theoretically, because for a while - they didn't find his body 'til like 3 or 4 years ago. Or, not his body, but evidence that he was shot down. But he was shot down in the mid 1940s, during the war.

There was a German pilot that read the story of him being - that it was discovered, hey, this is the remains of his plane, this is some evidence he was here. And this 80-something-year-old German pilot came up and said, "I know I was the guy, because that was the air space I was in. And I just came across him, shot him down."

... But the freaky thing was that Saint Ex was his favorite author. He was a much younger pilot than Saint Ex was, and so his books were already out and he had a lot of influence on his life. ... So that's the dude he shot down. So that's a part of, you know — chalk it up to war.
Chalk it up to war. I can't improve on that.

The German pilot's story ran in newspapers around the world a couple of years ago. This is from The Telegraph in Great Britain:
"If I had known it was Saint-Exupéry I would never have shot him down," said Mr Rippert.

"He knew admirably how to describe the sky, the thoughts and feelings of pilots", he added.

No comments: