Sunday, November 16, 2008

In the Shadow of The Bomb

One of the weird things about being alive in 2008 is that people don't seem to fear the Bomb anymore. When I was a teenager in Cheadle I sued to have nightmares about it, and just to make sure you had the right amount of fatalism there were films like 'Threads' which made you feel that you absolutely didn't want to survive if the bomb ever did get dropped. I nearly joined CND, but then worried I'd be blacklisted by the BBC, so I decided to be an anxious bystander.

But people seem to be cool about fission devices now. I can't remember the last time I discussed nuclear weapons with anyone. Folk seem to have forgotten they exist. They're just not brought up in polite society.

But exist they do, and can I have been alone in being transfixed by an adaptation on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday night of Nevil Shute's novel 'On the Beach'. In Shute's story the world has engaged in a nuclear conflagration and everyone is dead - except the Aussies, who people presumably forgot to press the button on. But the levels of radiation are rising and even in Brisbane people are going to die within a matter of months. Then, from Seattle, a radio signal is heard and a US Navy submarine sets out on a desperate mission. I listened to it on the way home , then sat there in the street as it finished. It's here for seven days, but then the recording reaches it's own half life and dies away.

No comments: