Two Tribes go to War

>>  Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"When you here the air attack warning you and your family must take cover immediately."  (Frankie Goes to Hollywood, 1983)

When I was at my most impressionable, Thatcher was systematically raping the working class and we were watching Threads at school (1984) and When the Wind Blows (1982/1986).

It was a common turn of phrase to hear "What will you do in the 3 minute warning?"  My father had already decided that we would all take pills and die together rather than face the appalling aftermath of what we all thought was the inevitable nuclear strike.

The IRA bombings had tailed of after the Brighton bombing of 1984, but towards the end of the 80s, as the cold war ended,  a new fear of terrorism in the highest extreme started to take hold as PanAm 103 hit Lockerbie.

The 80s were a frightening time for a teenager starting to become aware of the world around her, realising that parents can't protect you from it all, that the world is a dangerous place.  That the world you thought you lived in could change dramatically at anytime.

This fear was reignited in me quite intensely the day we went to Kelvedon Hatch, the secret nuclear bunker.  The rush of those dreadful teenage fears, the vivid images from Threads, the rat coming out of the toilet in When the Wind Blows and the silly people sitting in deck chairs in the radioactive fallout waiting for help to arrive.  The bunker brought it all back and the new anger I felt as I realised so much of the safety advice I had read carefully and absorbed, the Government knew was utter rubbish, aimed at keeping a nation busy instead of panicking uncontrollably.

Looks like somewhere quite normal doesn't it.  Underneath there is a huge bunker that wasn't closed down until 1992.

I remember watching the film Protect and Survive and getting a leaflet at home. It scared me witless.

"If any member of the family should die whilst in the shelter from contamination,  
put them outside, but remember to tag them first for identification purposes.
Mine is the last voice that you will ever hear, do not be alarmed."

This week's Gallery theme is The Eighties


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