Stephen Brotherstone and Dave Lawrence’s Scarred For Life is not simply a book, it is a profound experience for members of Britain’s Generation X. It is a Ghost Train ride down memory lane (children – please do not play on the tracks). It is a bible for those late night drinking nostalgia sessions between siblings and old schoolfriends … “Why was Top Trump’s Godzilla wearing a velvet jacket and dicky bow tie?” … “Who else was in Tucker’s class in Grange Hill?”.
This book is epic and provides much reflection for both Folk Horror Revivalists and Speculative Horror fans of a certain age. It of course covers many of the wyrd favourites of the era, The Unholy Trinity of folk horror, Children of the Stones, Misty, The Owl Service, Saphire and Steel, Doctor Who, Nigel Kneale’s ouvre, Doomwatch, Phase IV, Pan Books of Horror, 2000AD, Ghost Stories for Christmas and much more besides. In its pages we revisit the trauma of our childhoods via the Public Information Films that remind us to beware of water, matches, farms, fireworks, pylons, strangers and much more besides.
I squealed a little with delight in its reverie of more obscure favourites of mine such as The Clifton House Mystery, Grimly Feendish, Monster Fun and an illustrator who was hugely influential on my own art, though at the time I did not know his name; hopefully through this book Ken Reid will finally get the wider acclaim and recognition he deserves.
There are moments of chills, thrills and raised eyebrows with the revisiting of Backwoods horrors and the Richard Allen Skinhead pulp novels (watch out kids, there is a gang of tooled up boneheads heading for your school!😲 ) and the questionable comedy of such evening treasures as Love Thy Neighbour and The Black & White Minstrel Show, and the star turns of Pan’s People ( <- very folk horror name), Hot Gossip and Legs & Co.
As well as fond memories, in this book I found things which had hidden away in my mind (I Vant to Bite Your Finger, The Green Cross Code Robot …) and things unfamiliar to me (1990, The Guardians).
Flicking through the pages invokes perfume ghosts; wafting to my nostrils were the scents of Dracula and Dalek ice lollies, Bones crisps and via The Sweeney the masculine scent of Brut 33 as another con gets nicked.
For all those Brits who experienced growing up in the 1970’s, Brotherstone and Lawrence have produced a brilliant time machine bound between these covers.
Best viewed from behind the sofa or throught the crystal eyes of Arthur C. Clarke’s mysterious skull.
Available now from ~ Lulu