The last time it felt like this was when Ronnie Reagan was playing a terrifying game of calling the Soviet bluff over nuclear weapons. No one knew at the time whether he was pushing too hard, whether an infuriated Politburo would respond with a pre-emptive launch. In Suffolk, the air was drenched in kerosene vapour as F4 Phantoms screamed across the sky at low level in a constant procession; the TA were getting ready to be sacrificed on the North German Plain to gain an extra ten minutes to get Bridget Bardot to a Channel Port when the T74s rolled, and the government issued a leaflet advising us to hide under the kitchen table when attacked with nuclear weapons. With a bucket and a roll of bum wipe.
The financial freefall is a funny old thing, though; firms (with the exception of banks) are generally healthy, lean, cash and asset rich, and in good shape to face the coming storm. The UK banks, still with $10 trillion of worthless derivatives hidden in the numbers, and the daft governments that have attempted to keep them propped up, are both looking distinctly ill. I've frequently said here the tonic is to let them all fall, write off those toxic negative assets and have a plan B in place to keep the ATMs full and allow business transfers.
Last time, when faced with instant incineration before we'd even been to Uni, I recall a moment of perfect calm, at Iken, possibly one of the most ancient and holy places in the Realm, as a late Summer Sun sank low in Suffolk's vast skies, and with Fleetwood Mac playing quietly on the car cassette. It was a moment of Buddhist-like insight; to quote that Austrian general's signal, the situation was desperate, but not serious. After that I ceased to worry about the bomb.
And this is from an album I've been listening to recently; her voice has got something that reminds me a lot of a young Stevie Nicks;