The age of Covid is a conspiracy-tastic time as people try to make sense of the Black Mirror-esque dystopia in which we find ourselves. So it’s hardly a surprise that folks are tuning into a podcast that concerns itself with a conspiracy.
What might be surprising is that the conspiracy is that the CIA were responsible in some way for Scorpions’ early 90s anthem Wind of Change. For me, it instantly evokes my mum’s excitement at freedom spreading across Eastern Europe. If anything it’s a shock that it was released in 1991 as, in my head, it’s the soundtrack for the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Given the real-life events depicted in the film Argo, it’s not a huge surprise that people wonder if maybe the CIA had a hand in a song that spoke so clearly of a desire for a peaceful freedom. But is there enough in this to sustain eight hours or so of podcast?
The series is produced by Crooked Media, makers of Pod Save America and its myriad spin-offs, so it’s a well-resourced globe-trotting affair as the trail goes from Virginia to Germany via Moscow and Panama.
There are some scintillating revelations along the way, particularly regarding CIA’s antics in the Congo. Also, we are introduced to some very curious characters including Scorpions’ rather enigmatic manager. For me, though, the compelling piece is the evocation of the optimism I felt in the early 90s. This was a time when the certainties of my parent’s adult lives were changing, seemingly for the better.
Listening to this now in a time of great uncertainty, it is a reminder that things can improve. The travel, even those trips that Scorpions made into Communist Eastern Europe, seems somewhat exotic in a modern world where international travel is typically only allowed if essential.
This I think, as well as the compelling production, is at the heart of this podcast’s success. It’s a story with digressions, possibly too many of them. Are there more important podcasts? Yes, undoubtably. Though it’s an entertaining and, occasionally, thought-provoking way to spend some time. What’s more, you can binge it all on Spotify so you don’t need to wait for it to arrive piecemeal on other platforms. Below is one we prepared earlier…