Being a Teenager in the 80s and why I fear Sheffield


I was asked to post my favourite 5 songs and why they mean so much to me.

I don’t think I could cut it down to 5, so I will do some posts about songs that mean something to me.

This one still puts a chill through me and not because of Midge Ures kincorth Moustache.  The song is such a sad resigned one.  A man going home to his loved one to await the end.  Now my mind has played a wee bit of a trick with me here as I was convinced that the video was about Nuclear War.  However watching it for the first time in ages, I see that it is about a Nuclear power station exploding.  Still horrific but it changes the tone slightly….well for me anyway.

When I was in my mid teens, the BBC screened a Nuclear War drama called Threads.  It was set in Sheffield and for what seemed like weeks before it aired, there was trailers for it and programmes dedicated to the subject matter.

These little clips of people in panic and the dreaded mushroom cloud terrified me.  I imagine now that sounds silly to some people but back then, nuclear war seemed a very real possibility.  I had nightmares about the event.  Somehow my sister would survive while everyone else perished.  I felt awful as I saw her in those dreams, a wee toot, running around a town now devoid of life.

When Threads was aired, I sat in my bedroom, listening to my walkman.  I needed to blot the sounds out as  my Mum and Step dad watched it.

I did not sleep well that night.

Time passed and I kept the fear of nuclear oblivion to myself.  Only occasionally talking about it.  It was difficult to not come across as a raging looney.  Later I heard a song that almost summed my fears up perfectly

The one thing good that did come out of all of this was my fascination with apocalyptic stories.  Zombies, super flu, aliens.  Anything that came, took away our comfortable lives and forced us to struggle to survive.  I was drawn to these stories.  I found a strange comfort is seeing the human spirit struggle with their new reality.  They never quite overcome it though and I think that adds to its appeal to me.  Watching “the Mist” there is a scene where the survivors become so obsessed with religion, that they are willing to sacrifice an innocent to stop the horror outside.  That way that society can just flip from civility to barbaric horror, when written well, can provide enough fear in me to make me feel grateful that life is not like that.  Then you look at what happened after Katrina in parts of new Orleans and you realise that our society is always hanging by a thread.

However as I get older, the way I view the world has not changed that much but I seem far better at dealing with it.  Then something comes out of the blue that reminds me of how I was.  For example, I am re-reading Hellblazer in Trade form and the Grant Morrison written, David Lloyd drawn 2 parter “Early Warning / How I learned to love the bomb” brought back that old fear of oblivion.  The combination of the art and the script just radiates doom from the pages.  I feel like I want to scrub myself clean afterwards.  To retreat back to the light for a while.

A couple of weeks ago, in one of the local second hand shops I say a DVD of Threads.  I was back to sitting in my bed, scared out of my mind with just one look at the cover.  I have never seen it and to be honest, I don’t think I ever could.  While it may not be as bad as I imagine it to be, there is something to be said about going on your gut instinct.

I took a picture of the front cover and placed it back on the shelf.

 

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