It was the late 60s. Every Sunday during term time a small group of us would take the bus into Bristol, to a small coffee bar with a jukebox.
We would buy the latest Italian coffee and settle down at a corner table with our packet of Disque Bleu cigarettes, a collection of six penny pieces for the jukebox and a copy of the Guardian which we had pinched from the masters’ common room during the week.
With the heady smell of fresh ground coffee, French cigarette smoke and the Animals growling out the House of the Rising Sun, we would discuss the world and the mess it was in and how we would change it. Taking our cues from the Guardian gave us a sense of agency.
Chris Alexander, 71, Cumbria, UK
When I was growing up in the 50s, my mother wanted me to get into the habit of reading the newspaper; I resisted on the grounds of her usual newspapers looking too difficult and boring. One day, she brought the Guardian home. It immediately looked more interesting with a big heavy masthead and a more modern-looking typeface, as well as more pictures. I was hooked.
My mother went on reading the Guardian daily, on paper, from then until her death, at nearly 95, last year.
Sue Shutter, 70, London, UK
In 1976, when I was 16, I had an English teacher who asked me to go out to the local shop and buy him the Guardian. At home my parents bought broadsheet newspapers and I was used to reading them, but living in rural Ireland I never had access or any reason to read an English newspaper. I delayed my return to class to browse this “foreign” paper, got lost in it and was so late back the class had ended; I had to find the teacher to deliver the paper. When I explained I was late because I was reading an article and could discuss it, he started giving me his day-old paper. I have been reading it in hard or soft copy ever since. Thank you, Mr McGrath, for the introduction.
Pat Lambe, 61, Dublin, Ireland
I was doing a practical training as a librarian in 1996. And I spent three wonderful months in several libraries in Glasgow. I shared a flat with three men who introduced me to Red Stripe beer, awful techno music, Tony Blair, topless darts (don’t ask!) and the Guardian. Ian my flatmate read the Guardian and gave it to me afterwards. When I came back to Germany I switched to the website. It’s a habit to check the site each day and I enjoy it.
I still fondly remember my summer in Glasgow: Kelvingrove Park, Mitchell Library, the lovely cinema in Ashton Lane and reading the Guardian.
Kathrin Brümmer, 44, Lübeck, Germany
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