‘Nor do the wind, the sun and the rain’

At like 12:30 at night, when I’m zonked in front of the computer putting off going to bed, I’ll be startled out of my gourd to hear a certain set of guitar chords blaring out of CBC Television. I look up in shock only to watch two full minutes of beauty shots of condors gliding through the air, letterboxed on top and bottom by weird Chyrons about how this species is endangered. Only at the end is it clear that this is a PSA for a conservation authority trying to save the Andean condor.

The guitar chords? From “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult. (iTunes; Amazon.)

And this is what I’m listening to right before I turn in for the night. Morbid. Completely fucks me up the next day. Though I do think back to the TV miniseries of The Stand, which used “Don’t Fear the Reaper” over its opening credits – a sequence of travelling Steadicam shots that made for a stunning five-minute music video.

Yesterday I was trying to get out of the house and was actually reaching to turn off the television when the same goddamned chords started up. Andean condor? Nope: Faceplants, crashes, and wipeouts of Olympic athletes.

Swimmer barely holds himself up by the edge of a pool. Caption: ♪ DON'T FEAR THE REAPER ♪

They played the whole goddamned song. Morbid! (I’m sure they cleared the rights, or at least will pay for usage under a compulsory licence.) And the last shot was of a gymnast who landed on the base of his neck. He got right up, but what’s the message here? Don’t fear the Reaper, so a permanent spinal-cord injury should be a trifle by comparison?

China’s goriest home videos: Good for a laugh? Add an extra dollop of bathos for the soundtrack.

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