Do you know how much a copy of The Beano is these days?
Yes, I know.
That’s £2.50! AND it’s still issued weekly! Way back in the ‘80s when I was reserving a copy at the little village shop (with not a Tesco Local in sight) it was 12p. Even as ‘recently’ as 1991 it was only 26p. I could spend my 40p pocket money on a copy of the Beano, a selection of penny sweets and still have money left over to save. But £2.50 per week?* That’s TEN pounds a month! £10 a month is MORE than the Netflix subscription. It is more than the Amazon Prime subscription. It’s more than the fruit music streaming service. £10, on the face of it, seems to be an awful lot of money. So, when did it get so expensive? Or has it?
I did a bit of research and it appears Steve and I are stingy tightwads and should be pelted with rotten tomatoes. How much pocket money do you give your little cherubs? J is (nearly) 8 and he gets £1.80 pocket money per week and T gets 50p more (on account of being a whole year older – there have to be some benefits!) so as it currently stands neither of them would have enough pocket money to purchase one copy of the Beano. Now we’re into 2018 it is time for the annual pocket money renumeration challenge. T and J have to make a case for an increase in pocket money, how much it should be and why. At the beginning of 2017 it only went up by 20p; it is amazing how conservative the children are in their demands and how well balanced their arguments are in their renumeration requests. This year we all agreed to canvas opinion on how much pocket money everyone else gets, is it weekly or monthly, whether it has to cover all expenses including clothes or just the occasional treat. Please help us out by contributing in the comments below…
Anyway, it appears the AVERAGE pocket money for kids between the ages of 5 and 10 in the UK is £5-£7 per week. OMG people! No wonder the Beano is £2.50 a week, the children of the UK can afford it!
£5-£7 per week?!?! What do the kids spend it on? What on earth are we doing people? Kids aged between 5 and 10 don’t go to the pub, or the cinema, or even the soft play centre, they don’t hang out with their mates drinking ropey cider or smoking contraband fags. In fact, with our paranoid helicopter parenting, they don’t even go to the park on their own to buy an ice cream. Even if they did make it to the ice cream van we’d still give them the two quid needed for a Mr Whippy because they deserve a treat every now and then; and we all have ‘MUG’ written across our foreheads when it comes to our darling cherubs.
I purchased a copy of the Beano a few weeks ago on a whim, spotting the bright paper in between the stacks of polythene bagged marketing merchandise of other children’s magazines (all of which tie in with TV programmes or toys). For £2.50 you buy a brightly coloured paper package of pure genius.
The Beano encourages reluctant readers to, well, read. It is far less daunting to read a few pages of a brightly coloured, amusing comic than to pick up a book with chapters and black and white text with the odd line drawing. The Beano allows creative kids to appreciate creativity, the attention to detail in every picture, the story being presented even before the text is added. The Beano also presents parents with an opportunity to share the footnotes to their own childhood with their own children. Listening to J chuckling over his Weetabix (other cereals are available) at the antics of Ivy the Terrible and Billy Whizz brings a smile to my own grumpy morning face as I remember doing exactly the same
over 30 a few years ago, Beano delivery day always being the high point of the week.
Having bought a recent copy of the Beano I have re-discovered some of my old favourites; Minnie the Minx, The Bash Street Kids, Roger the Dodger, they are all still there. And what is more they are still just as amusing as they once were. This is where the Beano is truly remarkable, in the fact that this comic appears, in this day of mass marketing, vapid character development and throw away culture, it appears on the shelf weekly, packed full of humour, design and content that is bang up to date. The Beano appears to have retained its authenticity. It has kept its target audience firmly in its sight and produces a comic that still feels fresh and relevant for today’s 7-11s.
My kids read a lot, and the fact they are now reading a comic rather than a novel well, bloody great. They are revelling in a new art form which is showing a new way for them to communicate, appreciating attention to detail, and finding humour in something other than The Simpsons and You’ve Been Framed. Finally my house isn’t turning into a ball pit of cheap plastic toys which snap as soon as they are used and which single handedly keep the Chinese manufacturing industry in business. Comics like the Beano are a dying breed, they are under attack from cheap American imports with no content, no heritage and no class.
But is the Beano worth £2.50 a week? Hmmm, let me think about that one. In my opinion, the Beano is worth every penny of that £2.50 per week. In the opinion of my kids, when asked if they would buy the Beano every week, they replied: “well, yeess probably. But you’d have to give us more pocket money.” Yes, my son you are right I would.
The pocket money renumeration challenge has just got interesting.
*Subscriptions for the Beano are available with the cheapest being a Direct Debit payment of £17 every 3 months which works out at a bargain £1.36 per issue! prices are correct as at date of publication (January 2018).
Disclaimer: I have not received any product nor financial payment in return for this article. The views expressed are purely my own.