The Dark Room: “1978 Bedroom Floor” by Keith Seatman

Floors! Huh! What are they good for?

Well, lurid 1970s patterned carpets, obviously. And, in the case of the teenage Keith Seatman, assembling your entire collection of books, magazines, comics and horror action figures for an exclusive photo-shoot. Keith is now a hugely accomplished musician whose album Time To Dream But Never Seen was one of my favourite releases of 2020… but, in the late 1970s, he was a schoolboy in Southsea, permanently clutching a slightly incongruous Manchester City school bag. Still, City were a decent side even in 1978, and still had Colin Bell and Dave Watson in the team.

Sadly, the bedroom floor photo-shoot didn’t turn out quite as successfully as he hoped. Over to you, Keith…

“It was 1978, and the 13-year-old me would, after tea, head up to my bedroom to play my selection of punk singles (courtesy of my slightly older sister) on my rather good-looking Fidelity record player.

Whilst listening to ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’, ‘No More Heroes’, Weller shouting “Youth Explosion” and Strummer singing “We didn’t want it on the label” (and wondering who exactly Sheena the Punk Rocker really was) I would sit on the floor wading through my collection of horror and sci-fi books, comics and magazines.

Star Wars had arrived in the UK and us schoolboy punks had embraced it, already spending lots of pocket money on it. I really cannot remember exactly when my interest in all this started. It was probably in the very early 1970s when my Dad bought me the Aurora Dracula Model kit after we had watched the Bela Lugosi film.

Early one evening I decided it would be a really great idea to take a picture of all my horror and sci-fi models, books, magazines and Star Wars stuff. I spent an hour or so putting them all on the floor, then took a photo with my old Kodak Instamatic X15 camera. I remember feeling very pleased (“well chuffed” as we used to say) with myself… unfortunately my skills with my old camera were not that great. I snapped away, and – at the weekend – went along to Tremletts Chemist to get the film processed. Seven days later (you had to be patient back then) I went back to get my photos.

To say I was a tad disappointed is an understatement. If only I could have lined the shot up better. The Aurora Dracula Model kit is in front of Wolfman, next to Issue One of Starforce magazine, but much of my collection was missing – including the Doctor Who Target Books, Aurora Spiderman, Orion Space Shuttle, Marvel Avengers Treasury Editions and Planet of the Apes figures. To add to my sadness, I managed to get my Freeman Hardy and Willis school shoes (nicknamed “Churchillians” in the playground) in shot. Just below The Star Wars Special Edition is the pink cable of my super unsafe ’70s electric blanket and just above the shoes is my Manchester City school bag. The wonderful old carpet was still present in that room until 2003 when we finally sold the old house.

I still have all the magazines in this photo, including the Marvel Dracula Lives seen above the Photoplay ‘Devil Movies’ magazine. Sadly, my Transporter, Dracula and Wolfman are all long gone.

Strangely, my Mum and Dad were very supportive of my interest in all these things. They would occasionally contribute a strange old horror paperback or horror/sci-fi magazine to my collection, whilst also introducing me to many films and serials from those genres. Another big read for us was the mighty Readers Digest Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain book. There’s much more on how much we loved that book here…”

Thanks. Keith! The Dark Room is a collaborative effort. If anyone wants to contribute their own childhood photos from the era, I would be utterly delighted – please drop me a line using the “Contact” link at the top of the page. Thanks so much.

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