Retro Reading

I’m pretty much known for being able to read just about anywhere, on a bus, in bed, the beach, in front of the TV, you name it. But is reading in the toilet of a bar going too far? Even I have limits to my addictive reading habits and had drawn a line here…until recently.

I was on a night out with friends in Manchester and we visited Retro Bar, a brilliant venue for music and nights out, but a perfect reading spot? You wouldn’t think so would you? Yet when I went to the little girls room I found the toilets decorated with the most amazing and nostalgic pages from vintage annuals.

 Remember things like the Bunty, Mandy or the Twinlke annuals?  I don’t want to exclude any men here and I do remember my little cousin reading The Beano and Champion annuals.

I used to absolutely love getting Bunty and Twinkle annuals every Christmas and looking back this is probably where my love affair with reading first began. It was when I first realised that reading could be a method of transportation into another world. Reading about the wonderful world of Bunty as a child I remember being engrossed in Bunty’s life and her adventures and I would often lose myself in day dreams where I too lived in Bunty’s world, attending Christmas parties with her and her friends.

From here my love of books took off and even now at 25 I still seek out books that have this effect on. I was surprised then by how easily I had forgotten my love for annuals as a child and their importance in sealing my interest in reading. It wasn’t till I was in the toilets of this bar that I found myself being transported back in time to Christmases as a young girl devouring the pages of various annuals.

Did anyone else read these as children? Perhaps you still have some copies? I’m kicking myself that as a child I didn’t treat my possessions with more care because then I might still have a few copies of these precious items. I’ve turned out rather sentimental so I’d love to get my hands on an original copy.

From my Bunty obsession I next moved onto what I considered at the time to be more grown up reading. I started to read the Disaster with the Fiend books by Sheila Lavelle. Has anyone else read these books? I used too love reading them with my grandfather at the kitchen table, I would pretend that I couldn’t read as well as I was capable off so that my grandfather would read them out to me in a dramatic and entertaining way.

After seeing the toilets at Joshua Brooks decorated with copies of old annuals I scoured my childhood book collection and while I sadly couldn’t find my annuals I did find my disaster with the fiend books and I instantly read one. Magically I was transported back to that same kitchen were I had first read this book. The sense of nostalgia was amazing.

I love that this particular bar chose to decorate the toilets  in such an imaginative way and it’s now sparked my interest in looking back on all of the books that formed important chapters of my childhood. I think this might be the start of a little mission, clearing out the attic, scouring the internet for copies of all of these books that were so iconic in my childhood.

Did you read annuals as child? Do you recognise pages like these from childhood books? Perhaps you have a particular book that started of your reading journey? I’d love to hear your thoughts.