Threads

If you remember the 1980s, you’ll remember how the threat of nuclear war was as scary as hell.

There was an educational segment in the local newspaper on what would happen if Invercargill was nuked (its risk was as a food production area) and I did a bunch of computer calculations on the half life of various radioactive materials for school.

I read about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Was fascinated by radiation. Watched The Day After, the American blockbuster (I remember seeing a horse’s skeleton lit up at the moment of the blast). I read The Greenpeace Book of the Nuclear Age. Don’t forget the plutonium fuelled Edge of Darkness with Bob Peck.

When the wind blows by Raymond Briggs broke my heart as an old couple endured nuclear war.

Threads came out in 1984. It was a BBC programme that showed nuclear war, and the leadup to and its effect on Sheffield, England.

1980s – I remember the sheer horror of it.
1990s – at Otago University they had an AV room, and I rewatched I Claudius. And Threads.
2000s – after meeting my bloke, we went on a dystopian movie bender. Day of the Triffids. The Stand. Survivors. And Threads – Alice in Videoland has it.
2010s – S. was watching it a couple of nights ago. I sat and watched. Had forgotten how skilfully it blended the banal everyday, with the menace of imminent war in the background – on the news on tv, on the radio, in the newspapers. Then the speed at which everything unravels, and war comes, B52s fly off, and the government and authorities go to the bunkers. I watched the bomb go off, the dad is on the loo with his pants around his ankles. Nana is being escorted down the stairs into the cellar. A woman on the street turns this way and that, puts her hand to her head. Another woman in the street stands there and the camera pans down to her feet and a pool of urine floods out across the concrete.

I stop there.

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