“Where’s the Weekend magazine?” I asked myself. I had just bought Karen her print copy of The Guardian, and wondered if I’d picked up an incomplete copy of our favourite Saturday paper.
I hadn’t. A quick online search told me that the paper had ditched the supplement, launched in 1988 in response to The Independent’s very popular Saturday magazine. I hadn’t noticed because I read the Guardian in the daily app rather than in print, where it is less obvious.
It made me nostalgic. I’ve been reading The Guardian for over 40 years, but was seduced by The Independent’s Saturday supplement in the late 1980s. Edited by Alexander Chancellor, it was the perfect Saturday morning read. The Indie was a good looking but rather dull paper in its early days, but its editors were clever to see the potential of Saturday in an era when that day’s edition was typically the worst selling of the week. It was famous for its photography, which was arguably the best of any British newspaper at the time. The Guardian recognised the threat and launched the Weekend magazine – at first as a low cost print effort, upgraded to a glossy magazine in 2001.
I enjoyed Weekend, especially the often quirky readers’ letters and Stephen Fry’s witty reviews of the latest text gadgets, such as this essay on the Canon 1000D. (The camera with which I recorded Owen’s early years.) Not to mention Let’s Move To…, which offered a quirky take on places around Britain. (Though not always accurately – the feature on my mother’s hometown of Penarth was a sour piece.) The Guardian’s supplement suited my mood in a way that the Sunday Times’s far longer-lived colour supplement didn’t. And Blind Date was a winner, an often laugh-out-loud account of two people going for a … blind date.
We’ll see if the new Saturday print section Saturday lives up to Weekend’s fine reputation. Despite the paper’s puffery about Weekend’s replacement, The Guardian has ditched its colour supplement for print to save money. Ironically, it all looks the same in an app – which was why I hadn’t noticed Weekend’s demise. Thanks for the images and the memories.