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News article

Scarred for Life - the darker side of children’s entertainment 

Published: 11 May 2022

  •   Events
3 people sit on a park bench unaware of a spooky hooded figure in the foreground

Image shows (l-r) Dave Lawrence, Steve Brotherstone and Bob Fischer.

York St John University hosts an exploration of the disturbing pop culture of the 70s and 80s.  

Did you spend your childhood being traumatised by Worzel Gummidge, Chocky and the Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water? Were you terrified of the Usborne Book of Ghosts in your school library and did Horror Top Trumps haunt your dreams? Well, you’re not alone!  Show your scary memories who’s boss with a Saturday night of laughing at the stuff of your childhood nightmares.   

The York Centre for Writing at York St John University is hosting Dave Lawrence and Steve Brotherstone, authors of the acclaimed ‘Scarred for Life’ books. The Scarred for Life event takes place at York St John Creative Centre at 7:30pm on Saturday 21 May 2022.   

Children who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s were placed in the unenviable position of being scared by virtually everything, and these decades shaped a great deal of our contemporary cultural landscape. In this show the Scarred for Life writers will be giving a hilarious talk about the TV, films, music, comics, board games, books, adverts and even crisps that blighted many a childhood. There’ll also be a Q&A discussion, with the audience invited to share their own tales of terror.   

The Scarred for Life performance follows a free one-day conference at the University.  Horrifying Children: Hauntology and the Legacy of Children’s Fictions includes keynote speakers, a screening and readings of original creative work from York St John University creative writing students’ Reaper Press.   

Fortean Times author Bob Fischer will be hosting the Scarred for Life event. He said: “We can't wait to bring the show to York. The whole Horrifying Children project sounds very much up our street.  

“It's been fascinating to share memories with audiences across the country. We've met people who were terrified by everything from The Hammer House of Horror to the title sequences of their local news programmes. We're intrigued to discover which programmes left the kids of 70s and 80s York feeling they'd been scarred for life... come along and tell us!”       

Dr Robert Edgar, Associate Professor in Creative Writing at York St John University said: “Dr Lauren Stephenson and I are honoured to be welcoming Dave, Steve and Bob to York St John University for the Scarred for Life live show. Their Scarred for Life books and Bob’s Haunted Generation website represent exhaustive research into everything weird, eerie, creepy and horrifying from the 1970s and 1980s.  

“We’re really pleased that they will be joining us after our Horrifying Children conference happening during the day on the 21 May. It’ll be a fascinating day topped off with a unique celebration of vintage terror.”    

Scarred for Life event ticket booking  

Horrifying Children: Hauntology and the Legacy of Children’s Fictions information and conference booking   

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