Words by Sam Haddad | Photos by Tristan Kennedy
“People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.” Cormac McCarthy, The Road
I’m wearing a gas mask for the first time, yet I’m not sure I’ve ever found it so hard to breathe. Whatever bad stuff this military-issue piece of kit is meant to filter it out, it feels like it’s cutting out the vital stuff like oxygen too. It’s super-eerie. My mind wanders; I feel trapped.
How the hell am I supposed to run from the apocalypse, in whatever guise it arrives, nerve gas, ISIS, zombies, giant blob forms…, while wearing one of these? If this is what survival looks like I want out. Then the photos are done. I take the mask off and instantly feel fine.
“On the paranoia scale I’m barely at entry level…”
I watch too much end-of-the-world telly and read too many dystopian books. It doesn’t take much to set my over-primed imagination off. Though judging by the healthy sales of the UK’s only preppers shop I’m not alone. In fact on the paranoia scale I’m barely at entry level. They sell three or four of these unused, ex-army gas masks a day, often with full hazmat (hazardous materials) suits. When the Ebola news stories peaked in 2014 they were selling 40 a day.