I had my first-ever panic attack during a school visit to the Imperial War Museum in London. I absent-mindedly followed my classmates into The Trench Experience and quickly rushed out to be sick in a bin and had a rotten night’s sleep.
There was the time David Soul – Hutch, from Starsky and Hutch – walked past the Kerrang! offices. Even my IMDB knowledge of his appearance in Johnny Got His Gun was enough for my brain to go into the archives and serve up a cracking nightmare the following morning.
In October 1992, I saw Metallica play at Whitley Bay Ice Rink during their Black Album tour. There was no support, just a 20-minute documentary with a live link to Lars Ulrich backstage. Oh, look there’s Joe Bonham banging his head on a pillow, begging his generals to end his miserable existence. Cheers. It’s also the same reason I’ve not really watched the videos that were part of their Live Shit: Binge & Purge box set.
Even the final scenes of Blackadder Goes Forth can trigger a bad dream, for fuck’s sake.
I can recall the shot list from the One video in detail despite seeing it three times. I’ve attempted to get to the root of this fear and have read Johnny Got His Gun twice to try and piece together the whole story without watching the actual film. I’ve listened to podcasts discussing the story and interviews with its star Timothy Bottoms. So two years ago, empowered by vodka, I found a link to the film on YouTube and felt brave enough to watch it with my wife. I managed to watch 10 minutes of the film before admitting defeat and sheepishly closed my laptop. It’s as bleak as you’d imagine.
Maybe I’ll watch it one day. But probably not. Yeah, I definitely won’t.