An Interesting Day Out

19 02 2009

The 1980s are held up as some kind of classic era for television, music, clothes or anything by ironic wee scamps. You can’t move in today’s pubs and nightclubs for day-glo leg-warmers and Frankie Goes To Hollywood-esque T-Shirts. The 1980s were classic in some ways; Adidas, Rush, Platini, Maradona, Pet Shop Boys, Militant et al but not in every way. Whereas youngsters have the threat of terrorism to face nowadays we had the omnipresent threat of Nuclear Holocaust.

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All of this came back to me when we decided to venture out to leafy Cheshire today. Our destination was the Hack Green Nuclear Bunker. This tourist attraction was such a good aide-memoir that I can honestly say that it was one of the most unsettling places I’ve ever been to.

First of all it was bloody cold. Then, of course, there’s the bunker’s raison d’etre; we went into a room that simulated a missile explosion, it was claustrophic and I nearly shat myself when the flash happened. Then we got to see The War Game, a film considered so potentially upsetting for the general population that it was banned by the government.

The most disturbing thing about the bunker was the clinical nature of it all; estimates of the rations needed for pricisely 3 months underground, maps of estimated casualties, the calm clipped tones of the official announcements; “We have 3 Minutes to Detonation”. How someone would manage to keep calm under such circumstances is a moot point.

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It reminded me that some people, the exulted bunker dwellers, had the idea that if there was nuclear war somehow everything would be ok after a bit. It took me back to “When the Wind Blows”.

I’d recommend going.

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