Tuesday 25 November 1986

…Today at school we wrote about the firing of nuclear missiles at our country…

I know this sounds naive, but I’m quite proud of the fact we covered this at school.

Here was a class of young children being educated in what I’m sure was a very matter-of-fact way about mutually assured destruction. It certainly beat multiplication tables.

Unsurprisingly, the 10-year-old me was obsessed with the Cold War. I’ve written about some of these obsessions before. I’m pretty sure that map stayed on my bedroom wall until the day the Berlin Wall came down.

I miss certain aspects of the Cold War to this day.

I miss the romance, not so much the reality, of the paranoia. I miss the concept, not so much the consequences, of people “defecting” to “the other side”.

And I miss the iconography. Octopussy is the best official Bond film of the 1980s because the Russians are the baddies and they have giant maps which show big red arrows moving unstoppably across the continent.

Like everything else in the Soviet Union of the 80s, its public art and propaganda hadn’t evolved beyond that of the 1930s. But unlike everything else in the Soviet Union of the 80s, its public art and propaganda was actually good. More than that, it was gorgeous.

Now excuse me while I go and listen to Sting rhyme “biology” with “ideology”.