Saturday 31 May 1986

…Got my World Cup wallchart today at last.
Bought a Whizzer and Chips comic…

The arrival of the wallchart was a last-minute coup by my postman. I was over-the-moon, especially as the first match was this very day, live on BBC1 from 6.10pm.

But there was another first today, one – with hindsight – of far greater importance.

I’m pretty sure this was my debut issue of Whizzer and Chips. I wouldn’t have recorded it otherwise. I bought it while in Oxford, visiting my other grandmother (the one who didn’t live in my hometown) and who had just been taken into hospital. I imagine my parents would have encouraged me to get something to read a) to keep me quiet in the ward and b) to distract me from the significance of my gran’s incarceration.

So began an addiction to Whizzer and Chips that lasted at least 18 months. Was I too old to be reading this particular publication? I know I was late to comics, just as I would be late to almost every pop cultural staging post. But I don’t think I sensed, as a 10-year-old, anything out-of-the-ordinary.

I soon asked for it to be delivered directly to our house, which it was, all the way through to April 1989 and long past the point I’d stopped reading it properly. During the rest of 1986 and ’87, though, I looked forward to its arrival immensely and started to build up a collection.

I’ve still got a few issues. The oldest dates from 23 August 1986:

His troubles are behind him - BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
My favourites were always Sweet Tooth, Mustapha Million, Store Wars and Odd Ball. I didn’t like Sweeney Toddler, Sid’s Snake, Junior Rotter or Shiner. Joker looked like it had been drawn in 1936. I never really understood the appeal of the Bumpkin Billionaires, and I hated Mizz Marble. She was a smart-arsed wuss and I feared I was a bit like her.

I’d forgotten whether I considered myself a Whizz-Kid or a Chip-ite, until I leafed through that issue of 23 August 1986 and discovered the answer:

Yay!

Chip-ites may have been tougher, but Whizz-kids were smarter – or so I believed. That’s right, isn’t it? Tell me it’s right.

Meanwhile, in next week’s issue – free Libby’s Um Bongo sticker!

Well, who could resist?

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