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Friday, 29 October 2010

Protect And Survive


We had a family day out yesterday to Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, near Nantwich in Cheshire. Let no-one say we don't show our kids a good time. The bunker is not so secret any more, there are signs for miles around, but this lump of concrete and underground passageways and rooms would've been where parts of north-west England were run in the aftermath of a nuclear attack. It's all quite spooky- press offices and a radio room for broadcasts, early warning systems, horribly dated computers and phones, desks for top ranking civil servants and ministry officials, decontamination suits and areas, geiger counters, a dormitory with bunk beds. Chilling posters, wall charts and documents about casualties, food dumps, walking wounded, death rates. That Protect And Survive film playing. Gives you a shiver. In the shop you can buy Cold War relics and artefacts, Hack Green pencils, the Protect And Survive leaflet from 1980, and Hack Green snowdomes with the snow replaced by fallout. Yep, we bought one. The place was deemed redundant in 1993, sold off, and has become a macabre tourist attraction. Recommended if you're in the area.

One of the displays was the exact piece of equipment that Thatcher used to order the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falklands War. The Belgrano was sailing away from the Falklands exclusion zone but was sunk regardless. I remember this clearly at the time as an eleven year old, knowing at some level this was wrong, one of the first events that began to politicise me (followed fairly quickly by the miners' strike a year or two later).

It all made me think of this track, by an obscure Creation act- Jetstream by Pacific. It was on the cut-price Creation sampler Doing For The Kids from 1988, which I've bought on cassette and vinyl (twice). This song has some sweet acoustic guitars, some polite electronics, boy-girl vocals and samples from parliament about the sinking of the Argentine ship. I know little about them, and the net doesn't turn up much. I think at some point a friend taped their album for me, but it's long gone, leaving us with this indie anomoly- one part of the 80s which hasn't been revived recently.

11 - Pacific - Jetstream.mp3#2#2

4 comments:

drew said...

I once got lifted for trying to build a fallout shelter in our high street on a Saturday afternoon to the instructions included in the Protect & Survive booklet ie using a couple of doors and other bits and pieces. The polis let us off when they realised wee were all under 16 at the time.
Those were the days.

swiss adam said...

My leaflet says that type of shelter was the inner refuge. I'm sure we'd all have been totally safe inside a door against a wall with a load of binbags on top of it.

drew said...

The very same Sa. My problem was the 32 degree angle, you know you can never find a protractor when you need one and when you only have four minutes, well

davy h said...

Jumble sales to stop the arms race? Torbay CND circa 1981, I was there.

Lovely track, one of faves from a real 'moment in time' comp.