Saturday, 9 August 2008

It Used To Be Cold

Before all sorts of weird things used to be cold here, and we used to wear huge coats, big black ones, with zips central and side, with fake fur hoods and necks: we called them parkas. They were the hallmark of a sort of cool geek in the early to mid 80s, while we were still not quite sure if we'd ever see 18, if the clowns who ran the world would one day make all those alarm games and practice routines real. You see, if you were four, five or six in 1981 then you might have the echo of an air raid siren as part of your bored thoughts, or even dreams. Yes - they did test the sirens then, the same rising and falling intonation as was used in WWII because a) people knew it and b) it was easy to make and c) it was as scary as fucking hell. It made kids shit their pants, and adults think "what the fucking fuck?" and made grandparents shit their fucking pants. Of course it did.

No fucking about ends of the world in 2080 or 2100 or some other bullshit time:






Now plus four minutes.

Nineteen Eighty Four.

No really, they did test air-raid sirens in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, and so on. It was a sound we heard, in shadow, in darkness. We only heard it as fear as we grew with our Transformers. But we did hear it, we did know the world would end: we did know it. I challenge anyone of 30 or more to tell me they really did not know the world might at end at now + 4 mins.

I certainly did.

And I was born in November 1976.

I always knew it. Cruise missiles hovered in my dreams from 7 onwards: the fear of total destruction from a year or so later. I did. I did think of it - people think that I am lying (they always think that I am lying).

We heard it as the sun went down. No wonder all those twats with dope and stuff made no impact on us.

"No, really, mate - it's the end of the world."
"Ah..don't talk shite, ya fooking bastaad, yey"
"No. Really. Four Minutes. That's it."

And so on. I was only seven or eight.

And they tell us modern kids are less innocent. How much less innocent can you get than knowing the world might end at 4 minutes' notice?? And - fuck you, you arrogant cunts, yes we did know it, we really did, we did know it, or I did anyway, I did know it.

How much more guilty were we, clinging onto childhood, at the end of childhood? We were the last, when the tunnels were built and the film of 1984 was being made amid the shattered remnants of the Docklands. Jesus, man, we were all going to die, and we knew it: they knew it: we all knew it.

We just never talked about it.

About nuclear fusion and prompt neutron radiation, and uranium tampers and high kiloton range yields, and, worse, megaton yields from massive uranium tampers in frankly minor fusion devices where the yield turns out to be basically fast fission.

We don't talk about it now.

Just as well.

Or we'd never have got this far.

The innocence of childhood - oh yes, I knew nothing of cunts, or disease, or abortion: but i knew a fair amount about the end of everything. How it would happen. How they would tell us. The rising and falling intonation.

Is it healthier to know how to get an abortion or to know how the world ends, at the age of 11?

Are my endless weird thoughts just oddments of subatomic strangeness in my head (poor electrons!!!)? Is there a non-world? Is there a this-world, where i never did exist? Do I exist in a trillion odd worlds, where I -and the world -took different decisions at each nano-second of my life?

They claim to be less innocent: it was we, who now teach them, who knew that the world might end. We who went home and played in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984. We played. We knew it.

You never get over childhood anxieties.

You never do.

Freud never examined a generation born and brought up in such a world. If he had -he'd've diagnosed us all as mad as fucking cunts.

Now we run the world. Or the brightest and maddest of us all do. The rest of us just get pissed. Like me. It's the best i have to offer this world. My getting pissed. Yeah! It's the least harm my nuclear-anxieties offer.

Ruth & Jimmy out of Threads - yesterday.

edited a little because the alternative was to delete the whole thing! I have lock my computer away when I have had a few jars, I really do. Especially if I've spent part of the previous day looking up nuclear weapons on wikipedia. I saw a really good video last week about the Valiant by the way, which showed Operation Grapple in colour - fascinating stuff.


Shades said...

I moved down to a place near Crowthorne in the mid 80s and whilst not at work one day for some reason I was surprised to hear an air raid siren wailing, followed by an all clear a few minutes later.

On enquiring down the Pub, I was told it was Broadmoor

The Tin Drummer said...

Nicely done! "Broadmoor siren driving me mad, won't leave me alone!" (Sound of the Suburbs, The Members).

Crushed said...

It is true in a sense.

I grew up thinking WWIII would happen.

I think I always thought I'd somehow survive to the Planet of the apes world that would emerge...

The Tin Drummer said...

Well, cbi, you were more optimistic than me. I just had this vision of the end.

Still do, in fact.