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Sadiq Khan with Time Out magazines
Photograph: Jess Hand

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan reflects on Time Out’s print magazine

‘I don’t want to think about a parallel world where I didn’t have Time Out’

Chiara Wilkinson
Written by
Chiara Wilkinson

In the mid-eighties, I was a sixth former with a weekend job at a shop. On my lunchbreak, I’d go to the WHSmith on the other side of Streatham High Road and go through Time Out with a pen and paper because I couldn't afford to buy it. The magazine was my passport out of Tooting: it told me there was a world north of the river and opened up the city for a born-and-raised Londoner.

It was transformative. It gave you options of things that took place for free, and the reviews told you what was rubbish so you didn’t waste your money. I discovered Camden, where I saw some great Motown gigs. I found out about the great views from Primrose Hill. I knew about the Wag Club on Wardour Street. I saw plays at the Bush Theatre in Hammersmith. To discover what was going on, it was either word of mouth, or it was Time Out. 

You have to be careful when talking about legacies, because when you talk about legacies, you talk about retiring. Time Out is not retiring. A part of me is sad that the magazine is going digital – but people want easy access to what’s going on. The great thing about online is you don’t need to be in London to get a copy, you can be anywhere in the country or around the globe. I think there will be huge opportunities.

I don’t want to think about a parallel world where I didn’t have Time Out in relation to the gigs I went to, the plays I saw and the friends I made going to them. You can feel the rhythm and pulse of a city by its cultural life and London’s USP is our ecosystem – live music, theatres, museums, galleries, festivals, parks, food and our diversity. Unless we continue to have a place where people can see all of that, we’re going to have difficulty attracting people here. Cities evolve and change, and if we look at the history of Time Out, it’s always kept up. That’s why its legacy is enduring.

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