In the shadow of Nuclear War

In the eighties there was nothing as real as an entire generation of teenagers dying in a global nuclear war.

In 1984 when i was 17, and therefore at my most political, we were in the center of the Cold War. Russia had nukes pointed all over the place, as did the US, as did the UK.

We had Greenham Common, Riots, and films that made you cry, knowing that one day you would die a horrible death. I remember discussions with friends talking about whether we'd like to be at the center of the explosion, so no memory or pain or anything, or to be on the periphary, alive but suffering.

I remember one vivid dream I had when I looked out my bedroom window and saw a mushroom cloud. I recall Threads, a made for TV drama that scared the bejesus out of me.

I remember Terminator (still in my top ten of all films) and that scene with the swing. I recall staying up late to watch Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Two Tribes" on really late so impressionable kids wouldn't see the violence of it. I rememeber When The Wind Blows which made me cry so hard...

I remember my dad explaining we lived too close to both London, and to High Wycombe, and that it was likely we would be hit first. He was in the RAF, and they had procedures I was never privy too, he'd signed the official secrets act the same as any member of our armed forces, but he would watch the TV and shake his head.

He knew we'd all be f****d if someone pressed the button, whoever went first.

The world had different terrors now (and unfortunately still the old ones), and I don't think I will ever be able to explain to my children (well B anyway!) what it felt like on that knife edge of will they / wont they. Still, I'd find it hard to explain now to anyone the different kinds of threats we all face.

And why am I writing this? Because this article popped up on the BBC website - talking about how people would be reassured if the BBC still managed to keep broadcasting.

Scary stuff indeed.

But I leave you with Two Tribes by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, still one of my all time favourite songs to  this day (particularly the 12" version - and that dates me!)


  1. OMG i was TERRIFIED of nuclear war when I was kid.

  2. And now, the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song Teach Your Children has a whole new meaning. It would have been a perfect fit here as well.

  3. Yes, this was my child and teen hood. The kids, of course, live post 9/11 and terrorism, but for us the threat of nuclear war was very real.