A delightfully serendipitous thing happened to me recently on Twitter. A fellow (or should that be a lady twitterer?) mentioned that she had a copy of a 1975 Jackie magazine which had been free with a Saturday newspaper. I tweeted back my memories of Jackie and how disappointed I was not to have known about this give-a-way and she very kindly offered to send me her copy. Wasn’t that a lovely gesture? So, I was very excited to receive it in the post a week later and sat down with a cup of coffee, sweetened by nostalgia.
Jackie was a weekly British magazine for girls, published from 1964 until 1993. The name was chosen from a list of girls names and an urban legend exists that it was named after Jacqueline Wilson who worked there at the time, before she became a notable children’s author. The best selling period was the 1970s, with the best ever selling issue the 1972 edition which was a special edition to coincide with the UK tour of American singer David Cassidy.
I came to the magazine at the end of the 7os/early 80s, in my pre-teen years, when the stars of those centre-folds had faded. But that didn’t matter to me, as I raided sales of work and charity shops for 1p back issues with my pocket money. I devoured its mix of fashion and beauty tips, gossip, short stories and my personal favourite – comic strip love stories, illustrated with line drawings or posed photographs. I would spend hours poring over these stories, daydreaming about growing up and starring in my own real life romance and never having tasted coffee in Ireland of the 70s, that whole let’s go for a coffee thing seemed like the height of romance and sophistication to me. This fascination with coffee romances was only second to my fascination with the “Cathy and Claire” problem page. The problems usually involved a preocupation with spots and periods, both of which I had yet to suffer, so again this seemed very exotic to me. Looking through the 1975 edition the problems seem innocent compared to those being dealt with in teenage magazines now, and in fact the decision by its publishers not to follow the more sexually and high-fashion orientation of other teenage magazines that appeared later on the scene was the reason for shutting the magazine down in the early 90s.
So I am very grateful to Sarah for taking me on this trip down memory lane to a more innocent time, when the imagination of a little girl in Ireland was filled with dreams of sophistication and romance, and the reality of first love and heart-break and a life long love affair with coffee were still to come.