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Down memory lane – Young Times

Posted on 13-12-2011

For a child of the 90s (jesus christ I feel old) there was very little entertainment on hand. There would be re-runs of Mr Bean on TV, or rushing to watch cartoons right after lunch, or for me it would be catching “Martha Stewart Living” right after “Bold & The Beautiful” at 7.30pm.

But every Tuesday I would wake up in the morning and actually want to get out of bed and rush to the front door. Because tucked away in the day’s newspaper was a skinny little magazine that I would quite literally have to fight my sister for. The magazine was Young Times, and it was everything that a kid would need from a magazine – cartoons, feature articles, and of course a few regular columns. Not to mention everyone’s favorite alien Otto (does anyone remember those white and blue laminated membership cards?) And of course, @AshrafGhori‘s fabulous artwork appearing everywhere made me want to be an illustrator when I grew up (something that I have firmly chosen to replace with baking and leave the drawing to the professionals).

There are two things though about Young Times which I now find just so funny. The first was our beloved “Ask Aunt Alice”, who basically would respond to problems that apparently hundreds of kids were facing. She’d answer such gripping queries like “I have so many pimples – what do I do?” or gems like “There’s someone I really like in school, what do I say?” or onto more serious matters such as “I am scared to sleep in the dark – can you help?“. Surely if Aunt Alice was still around, she’s have to tackle more important issues like “Why won’t my parents buy me an iPhone?” or “Is Barbie a slut?

The other fun thing about Young Times was the ‘Pen Pals’ club, with two pages of kids’ passport photos along with their name and post box numbers, so you could basically post letters to other kids, like a very prehistoric version of email. Or match.com even.

But despite its humble beginnings, Young Times certainly won the hearts of so many kids, and it’s really a shame that the magazines for teens and kids these days are all about celebrities and who’s wearing the latest fashions. Maybe it’s time for a brave publication to come out that kids can actually look forward to the same way adults look forward to next week’s brunch recommendations in Time Out.

Until then, to everyone who was ever involved in Young Times, thank you for some wonderful Tuesday morning memories.

Read a little snippit on the history of Young Times from its creator here.

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