Smoke on the Water
The Kansas City Star
Probably anyone who’s watched TV in the last 30 years knows the opening riff for the song “Smoke on the Water”. It’s been used to sell everything from cars to cough syrup. But, after an informal survey among my friends and acquaintances, most people don’t know the lyrics. And among the people who know at least some of the lyrics, no one knows what the song is really about.
“Smoke on the Water” was written about a fire in 1971 in the Montreux Casino on Lake Geneva. The usual story says the fire was caused by an idiot with a flare gun. Gee, someone used pyrotechnics of a sort inside a building caused a major fire.
That should have been a lesson to people that pyrotechnics should not be used inside buildings. But did we learn? Apparently not.
Fast forward to 2003. 100 people were killed in a nightclub fire in Rhode Island because the band was using pyrotechnics inside a building. But did we learn then? Apparently not.
Fast forward again to January, 2013. At least 233 people killed inside a Brazilian nightclub because the band felt they needed to use pyrotechnics inside a building to keep the audience entertained. Will we learn from this that pyrotechnics should not be used inside a buildig? Probably not.
Three thoughts occur to me. One, if the band needs pyrotechnics to keep the audience entertain, they’re probably not very good to start with and should go into another line of business.
Secondly, if they really feel that they need some sort of visual display, they should use a laser light show. I’ve seen some really awesome light shows and, as far as I know, barring electrical shorts, laser light shows don’t cause fires.
The third thought I’ve had is that, although these bands are usually made up of relatively young people — teens to twenties — who usually have more creativity than good sense, the nightclub owners, who are usually older, should have the good sense to nix the indoor fireworks.
My husband came up with a fourth idea. If the band members and/or nightclub owners survive the fire, they should be charged with manslaughter.
We need some sort of international law making indoor fireworks illegal. However, I have no idea how to get an international law enacted. If anyone else knows how, please let me know. Maybe we can get something done before another group of idiots cremates an audience.