Appen I've been atomised

‘Threads’ is a 1984 film in which Sheffield, a largely negligible city in the north of England, gets wiped out in a nuclear holocaust by the Russians. I saw it at school and it traumatised the living marrow out of my phalanges. Subsequently I have come to regard it in a different light. Here is a summary of its contents:

Sheffield, 1984. The electro-pop craze is in full swing, or rather, full beep. The casual observer is confused by the strange combination of thick, flat South Yorkshire vowels and chrome, polyester outfits. Has the planet been taken over by Hovis-based cyborgs? Have the cumbrous metal machines that ceaselessly whirr in the inner-city steelworks come to life and hit the nightclubs? ‘Nay, pal, nay’, as the Sheffielders say. ‘Appen young ’uns are gooin dahn tahn ferra futuristic discorr’.

Fastforward twenty years and the scene has altered. Out are the shiny robotic jerkins and synthesisers. In are twangly guitars and wry observations. Pustulent gawkers with muffin-top hairdos and sagsome anoraks stand around uttering aphorisms: “She were bangin mate, I’m tellin thee, reight, I bought her a tropical Reef, and a pound of beef’”. Another retorts: ‘Summat’s not reight, me skin-teight trousers are too teight’. In the gutters, old men shod in brothel creepers and embalmed in pomade shout encouraging slogans. The situation has not much improved.

Unbeknownst to most laypeople, in 1984 the leaders of the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. had access to a portal wherein they could view the future. Unfortunately this device could only offer a very partial view of the future: specifically, the future of Sheffield (the magical artefact was bequeathed to the premiers of both nations by an enchanted cutler from Rotherham). Both President Reagan and Chairman Cherchenko were naturally alarmed at the direction that music in Sheffield was taking at the time, and so they met in a secret underground supermarket to discuss what should be done.

“I sink vee should yoose the portal” said Cherchenko, strangling a kulak.

“Fuck yeah” said Reagan, high-fiving his own face.

The rest is history. Cherchenko and Reagan gazed upon the horror that was the future of Sheffield music and swore a solemn pact to obliterate the city for good. A million megaton H-Bombs were promptly unloaded on the city. People in Sheffield were sad and, largely, atomised. People elsewhere weren’t.

This is a sobering and thought-provoking film that offers a lesson we should all heed: to wit, if Sheffield does get nuked, its inhabitants have only themselves and their predominantly substandard music scene to blame.


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8 Responses to “Threads”

  1. oldrope Says:

    I have it on good authority (his mam) that Cherchenko loved Pulp. How does this fit into the films Nuclear-Than-Thou framework? Also, was this South Yorkshire apocalypse in fact welcomed by the council, who knew it would strenghten their application for European funding to rebuild the city centre an build a giant metal urinal outside the trainstation (either as the mos practical way to deal with pisheads on a saturday night or as some sort of totem offered up to a great toilet deity…)

  2. johnlebaptiste Says:

    No, no, you’ve got Cherchenko mixed up with Chegwin (Keith). Though Cherchenko did used to have a music show that was very similar to Cheggers’, called ‘Cherchenkers plays pop’.

    Sheffield has never had a council as such. It is run by a Wicker-Man-esque pagan druid whose executive powers are limited to wearing a rabbit’s head for a hat and sexing goats.

    The giant metal urinal ( has thus far proved unsuccessful in the campaign to toilet train the natives of this unreconstructed metropolis. The shininess makes them bladder shy.


  3. Banjo Fett Says:

    Incisive stuff. But there are two films about Sheffield. (Threads is known locally as ‘That Freds’, incidentally.) The other is a film about unemployed steel-workers dancing in the dole office. Sort of a cross between Flashdance and Last of the Summer Wine.

  4. johnlebaptiste Says:

    Compo in a posing pouch! Phwoooaaar!

  5. spicyeggnog Says:

    It reminds me when I first went to Sheffield – JLB and his dad, the Silver Surfer, met me at the station. On exit, I noted a half torn down block of flats which permitted uninterrupted views into the remaining flats. “That’s where you’ll be staying” beamed his Silveryness.

  6. johnlebaptiste Says:

    That’s right. How we laughed. Right up until the mayor put you in a Wicker Man-style man made of wicker and roasted you in an offering to the South Yorkshire gods. They do, like a bit of Welsh Rarebit, them S.Yorks deities.

  7. spicyeggnog Says:

    Who doesn’t?!? I’m scrumptious!

  8. oldrope Says:

    I hear that!!! Full of eggy goodness! And some of that tasty nogg shit an all

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