Déjà vu

Is anyone else here who lived through the 80s (or earlier relevant epochs) experiencing a sense of history repeating itself, with the invasion of Ukraine and all that entails, and the consciousness that there’s nuclear weapons in the hands of madmen?

When I was a teenager, there was a painful awareness of this. Here’s a song from the time that expresses it, and the whole insanity of it, so well; and sadly its theme has never dated:

As a child/teenager of the 80s, we were growing up with a nuclear cloud over our heads, so this was my favourite protest song of those times.

In follow-on to the song Seconds, to give people of other generations an idea of what it was like to be a teenager in the mid to late 80s, I pulled out a poem written as a classroom exercise at the time. I was 15; we’d read a poem which was about a romantic relationship falling apart, and a bit twee. The exercise was: “You’ve got 25 minutes, write a poem of the same title, structure and rhythm as this poem, but about a different subject; use the refrain throughout.”

Well, there was Seconds, which I can see really influenced that poem, and at school we’d just seen Threads (cheery movie but one all of us should be aware of), and Pink Floyd’s The Wall, with Bob Geldof shaving off his eyebrows and sausages coming out of machines. So this is what came out. Brilliant English teacher, by the way!


Don’t worry
About what the paper says
Don’t be such a mess
Everything’s going to be alright
Just trust me
And every bomb I make will have your name on it
Don’t worry
If the rocket silos cover the countryside
Everything’s going to be alright
The molecules you’re made of
Will happily return to the atmosphere as vapour
Don’t worry
If your hair falls out
Everything’s going to be alright
Soon the biomass will be replaced by a dustcloud
And nobody will complain anymore
Don’t worry
About the stupid Communists
Everything’s going to be alright
They too are made of molecules
Which can’t resist our great invention
Don’t worry
If your skin peels off in great chunks
Everything’s going to be alright
You’ll be stuck in your fallout shelter
Eating jellybabies to remind you of how the world used to be
Don’t worry
When you see a child’s face all ploughed up
And it has no strength left to cry
Everything’s going to be alright
If things get too bad try euthanasia
But don’t let us catch you, suicide is illegal
Don’t worry
About radioactive rain
Everything’s going to be alright
The streets will be covered with refuse
If any streets are left, that is
Or if there are unblinded eyes
After that skywide lightning
Left to see them
Don’t worry
About your baby
When it is born with one leg
And goes into convulsions after delivery
Even your milk will be radioactive, but
Don’t worry
About what you will do with the bodies
Of your brothers and sisters
When they have safely died in the shelter
You won’t have the strength to bury them anyhow
So don’t worry
Ultimately the pain will cease
Why worry darling
Why should people survive anyway
So goodnight darling
Dream of the sky
Everything’s going to be alright
Don’t forget to say goodbye
Everything’s going to be alright  

To people who say teenagers are overly dramatic and emotional, I say many adults are overly anaesthetised and have neural grooves worn so deep by continued use that they have trouble seeing the limitations of their favourite viewpoints, making new paths of thought, and thinking from several steps back, from outside a situation, from another person’s perspective. I always enjoyed the flexibility and openness of the minds of teenagers I worked with, in contrast to the set patterns and lack of curiosity of many adults.


I think the best advice for coping with times like this is not saying, “Ignore the dark realities and pretend they don’t exist,” it’s saying, “Don’t be engulfed by the dark realities, or the light in you will be swallowed too.”

And recognising that we can’t fix everything that’s wrong with the world, but that we can play our own part, in our own circle, and if collectively all of us did that…

It’s saying, don’t let the darkness put out your light – keep your candle flame going, it’s important.

You’re responsible for what you do with your own life – not for everything that’s going wrong in the world. And if you realise that, letting go the impossible will free you up to do what’s possible.

Be the change you want to see, etc. Make sure you wear an oxygen mask before you assist other passengers, because it will help more people, yourself included.


Personally I’m no longer looking at news more than twice a week, it just endangers the little candle I have and lets the evil (no overstatement) out there sap my energy and depress me on top of all the other horrible things it does already. I need to be my best self, and that is the best I can do for myself, fellow suffering people, other critters, and the planet. Love to all out there who are sick to their stomachs and trying to keep sane and useful.

For many years I media fasted and First Dog on the Moon was all the update I needed. When the pandemic began I watched news for a while, and read a lot of Guardian, ABC, Crikey etc articles online, because suddenly it was sounding like an encore to the 60s and like we might just collectively stand up to the rot and make better decisions. Sadly, that didn’t last long before the emphasis became business as usual – so the Titanic is still heading for that iceberg. And I am back to just letting the Doggie do the summaries for me.

Got any strategies for coping, and hanging on to your light? Let me know. ♥

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