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What the posters you had in your teenage bedroom say about you

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As you settle into adult life, you’ll have made some changes to your surroundings.

In an effort to look like a grown-up in the most hassle-free way possible, you’ll have bought some art to furnish your new abode.

It’ll be stylish enough to reflect well on you as a person, but subtle enough that people won’t judge you too much for it. Which is more than can be said for your teenage years.

We’ve all done things we regret when we were younger, some of which can’t be rectified. But others, like the artwork on your bedroom wall, door and – if you were being adventurous – ceiling can be literally thrown away to never be spoken of again.

So, without further ado, here is what the posters on your wall say about your former self. And we’ve compiled the list in the full knowledge that people can change. Not you, though. You’re too far gone to be redeemed.

‘Keep Calm and...’

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Look, we all make mistakes. Some of us have smoked a cigarette the wrong way round. Some of us have eaten ice cream too quickly. Some of us have gone on first dates with people who get onto the tube without letting people off first. Some of us have applied pre-war motivational propaganda to cups of tea, video games or, weirdly, Hitler. Yes, there’s literally a ‘Keep Calm and Heil Hitler’ poster in existence, which might be the one and only time white British people have been the victims of cultural appropriation.

Anything involving an Anonymous mask

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Probably best to leave this one in the attic with your ‘offensive comedy’ DVDs and that essay you wrote about International Men’s Day not getting the coverage it deserves.

Bikini model

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Your mate Sean had a bunch of bikini model posters at his house when you used to go there to play Tekken. He uses words like clunge and quotes lines from South Park that you’re pretty sure he doesn’t actually understand the meaning of.

He bullied you into getting one of the posters yourself because, in his words, “you’re not, y’know…*trails off*”. You cover it up with an oversized Guns N Roses poster which you only remove when Sean comes round to visit. You’ve been trying to spend less time around him since you both started college because, well, Sean’s a bit of a dick.

Fight Club

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You’re probably one of those people who says the book’s better too, aren’t you? You’ve told people “No, you don’t get it, it’s satire” every time they’ve told you it’s shite, but didn’t have an answer the first time someone asked you to explain what it was satirising. Normally the conversation doesn’t get that far.

Sepia print of Marilyn Monroe

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It’s classy so it can’t be objectifying, you think. Women were treated with much more respect in the 50s, weren’t they? What? Really? Well what about…? Still, it makes you feel better than having a bikini model there, and only one person complained so how bad can it really be. If someone else says something you can just blame all that time spent hanging around Sean when you were younger.

Scarface

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If you’re being honest, you didn’t get all the references in the film. You really liked that “first you get the money…” line and the idea of cocaine appeals to you far more than actual cocaine. You definitely tried putting on a Tony Montana accent to say “Say hello to my little friend” at your friend Ollie’s house party and somehow offended people of about seven different nationalities, or at least it would have done if everyone there wasn’t white and from Buckinghamshire.

‘Take Me to Your Dealer’

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Smoking weed, like cycling and not owning a television, is something you have a moral obligation to tall everyone you meet that you do. Wordplay you’d otherwise consider pretty rudimentary gains some levity when it allows you to let strangers know you take illegal drugs.

Have you ever stopped to think how odd it is that no other drug – with the exception of alcohol – has such a presence in the £3.99 poster market? Guess it’s because you can use band posters as a proxy for the class A of your choice. Lou Reed? The Libertines? Pink Floyd? We know where you’re coming from.

Trainspotting – Choose Life

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Do you like films? Do you like drugs? Maybe you like both. A solid choice for anyone looking to keep an air of mystery about them, until one of the guests at your house party notices there’s no Trainspotting DVD among your 150-strong collection and the stuff in those baggies is just table sugar.

But hey, it’s not as bad as that ‘Babespotting’ one, which has to count for something.

Abbey Road

A genuinely iconic photograph for a genuinely good album. It’s not your fault that it’s also a lot of boring people’s poster of choice, but surely you knew that when you picked it out. Either you’ve got a uniquely high opinion of yourself and think you can rise above what Abbey Road represents, or you’ve accepted you’re boring and decided to just lean into it.

Che Guevara

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There’s a sliding scale of attitudes toward Che Guevara. On one end you have the standard Guevara poster, replete with the word ‘Revolución’ depending on where you bought it. On the other end you have people who belonged to the Facebook group entitled ‘Che Guevara was a murderer and your t-shirt isn’t cool’.

Guevara posters will paint a picture of the age divide among our readers. Well, it’ll span ‘people who watched The Motorcycle Diaries’ right through to ‘people who watched Che parts one and two’. So that’s about a five-year span. Generally reserved for folks who approve of communism in principle but go quiet when it emerges that they might have to part with material objects under such a principle.

Beers of the World

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You’ve never actually drunk a full beer, save for that bottle of Hoegaarden your parents let you have with a meal when you went on that skiing holiday in Val d’Isere. But you took a mirror selfie while wearing your Jack Daniel’s t-shirt and it looked kinda pensive so you kept it there. You have also never tried Jack Daniel’s.

A Marlon Brando or James Dean film

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One of those rare examples where you probably have seen the film in question, which earns you some bonus points in our book. Unless it’s The Island of Doctor Moreau, in which case you lose any goodwill and then some. In fact, you’re worse off than if you had no posters at all on your wall. Sometimes you can be guilty of trying too hard.

New York cityscape

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You know the one. New York in black and white, except the yellow cabs are still yellow. That’s how you know it’s New York, you see. Not the Empire State Building. Not the Statue of Liberty. The yellow cabs.

Among the best of the bunch, purely because it’s not actively offensive and seems fairly non-discriminatory in nature. We’ll give you a pass on this one.

Characters from The Simpsons

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My dentist had this poster on the ceiling of his surgery, so when he was removing your teeth, anaesthetic in full flow, you could distract yourself by trying to locate Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie in a vague estimation of ‘Where’s Wally’. It’s vaguely diverting and won’t leave you with a bunch of regrets 10 years on.

Golden era only, obviously. We’re not savages.

Dogs playing poker

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Now we’re talking. Animals doing people things is always good. We would also accept ‘dogs playing snooker’ or ‘dog smoking cigarette’ or ‘dog posing for portrait to be painted by second dog’.

What’s more, you’re allowed to keep this one into your 20s and 30s, letting it sit alongside ‘Le Chat Noir’ and everything else that randomly appears unannounced on your walls when you slip into adulthood. Congratulations.

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