One of the (many) reasons I have been running round like a headless chicken recently and not getting any work done, was last weekend's overnight lock-in at a nuclear war bunker.
|It's Bigger On The Inside. And not in a good way.|
This is Kelvedon Hatch. In the event of a nuclear strike, they were going to run the British government from a reinforced hole in the ground, just north of Greater London. It is three floors deep, with huge air-filtration devices, and has enough space for 600 people to live for 3 months, packed in like battery hens, before emerging into the radioactive devastation and anarchy above.
I'm old enough to remember the fear of nuclear annihilation. I was actually a member of CND so I'm probably still on an official file somewhere. I remember this:
|Possibly the worst-received publication in history. Worse reviews than Fifty Shades.|
|This is a joke ... right? Right?|
Kelvedon Hatch is open to the public most days, so I did the audio tour before the main event of the weekend. It brought it all back, in horrible creepy detail. I felt physically sick at points.
|The entrance tunnel, down toward the interior blast doors.|
|Accommodation - an 8-hour shift in a bunk before giving way to the next person|
|Operations: there were desks for each government department, including the Post Office. Not sure they'd have a whole lot to do, given that pretty much everyone in the country would be dead or dying, and second delivery could not be guaranteed.|
If you're too young to recall the era, you've no idea what the pessimism was like. In fact, I don't even know the worst - I'm only old enough to remember the tail end of the Cold War. My parents were there for the Cuban Missile Crisis and say they went to bed each night literally not knowing whether they'd be alive in the morning.
Some things get better.
I'd rather live with the War on Terror.
What was I doing there? Well, we were taking part in a Cthulhu-themed horror LARP set in the 1950s.
|Genuine army surplus uniform, concealed firearm, heart of a ruthless and batshit-crazy cultist.|
And we all died.
But that's okay. It was only a game.