It’s thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall – one of the key events of my lifetime, without a doubt, and the inspiration for my new story, THE VAULT. Even with the distance of time, it’s hard to overstate how monumental the Wall falling felt at the time, especially given what came before.
We are now more connected than ever, via social media and 24 hour news channels, so much so that it seems impossible to escape the stresses and pressures of the world, especially as the news appears to be almost relentlessly hard to process. Maybe I’ve just put it to the back of my mind, or perhaps it’s just that it was at a time where every nuance wasn’t debated and challenged in a permanent news cycle, but I had almost forgotten that there were similar black clouds that hung over other times. Growing up in the 80s, there was one spectre in particular that seemed larger than the others combined: the threat of nuclear war.
I was reminded of this last year when watching Chernobyl, but, for a kid back then, the Cold War (something I perhaps didn’t fully understand at the time) was everywhere. Every movie villain was Russian, every plot hinged around nuclear destruction, and those countries on the other side of the Wall seemed sinister and desperate.
So, when the Wall fell, it seemed to be one of those instances of incredible release, with possibilities and optimism abounding, and a cause for worldwide joy. Of course, it doesn’t always work out like that – in fact, it rarely does – but for that brief period, it certainly seemed that the world was about to move towards a wonderful future.
THE VAULT is inspired by those times – the push for a new world, and a new way of life for those under the boot of those regimes, as well as the culture of the times that took inspiration from the Cold War. I am a fan of Le Carre and Forsyth. I loved the world of George Smiley, and stories of dead drops, and spycraft, and brutalist, grey tenements have always been intriguing to me.
And to conclude, there is one other 80s inspiration that I think of whenever I think of the Berlin Wall. Like any good 80s kid, I watched Knight Rider. So, who else could have been responsible for that last push that saw the wall fell?
Well, who else but Michael Knight himself – David Hasselhoff…
Honestly, YouTube is calling.
Enjoy THE VAULT. You can grab your copy here.