Header overlay

Popular categories

Explore our library

The Prince, the Showgirl and Me | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

The Prince, the Showgirl and Me | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

Introducing the latest addition to the Slightly Foxed Editions list, No. 61: The Prince, the Showgirl and Me It is 1956, and through a combination of chutzpah and some useful contacts (he is after all the son of Lord Clark of Civilisation), the young Colin Clark has got himself a job. He’s now a ‘gofer’ or general dogsbody on the Pinewood Studios set of The Prince and the Showgirl, a light comedy starring Sir Laurence Olivier (abbreviated in the diary Colin is beadily keeping to SLO) and Marilyn Monroe (MM) as the two leads. This unlikely combination proves to be a disaster. Marilyn fails to turn up on time and can barely remember her lines, while Sir Laurence is completely out of his depth with both her and her entourage. Marilyn is a troubling enigma – impossible to deal with, yet possessed of some indefinable magic that made her irresistible on screen when the ‘rushes’ come through, often upstaging Sir Laurence. The film does eventually get made and sinks without trace, but fortunately Colin Clark is there to record the agonies of its making in this sharp and hilarious diary.
Ronald Blythe | From the Slightly Foxed archives

Ronald Blythe | From the Slightly Foxed archives

Greetings from Hoxton Square, where we’re raising a glass to the nature writer and Slightly Foxed contributor Ronald Blythe as he turns 100. He lives at the end of an overgrown farm track deep in the rolling countryside of the Stour Valley, on the border between Suffolk and Essex. His home is Bottengoms Farm, a yeoman’s house once owned by John Nash, and from here he has spent many decades observing, in a series of lyrical diaries, the slow turn of the agricultural cycle, the church year, and rural change and continuity. A new selection of these writings, Next to Nature: A Lifetime in the English Countryside, has just been published to celebrate his 100th birthday. Please join us as we return with pleasure to Maggie Fergusson’s article from Slightly Foxed Issue 11, written in praise of Akenfield, Blythe’s famous portrait of an English Village.
The Young Ardizzone | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

The Young Ardizzone | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

There can be few author-illustrators whose books are remembered – and still read – with such affection as those of Edward Ardizzone. And affection is the keynote of this charming memoir, The Young Ardizzone, which brings alive in words and pictures the comfortable Edwardian world in which Ardizzone grew up. The creator of the ever-popular Little Tim and Lucy books begins his story in 1905 when he was 5 and his mother brought him and his two sisters home to England from Haiphong where his father was a telegraph engineer. Left in Suffolk in the care of their grandmother, the three grew up with a full complement of young bachelor uncles, great-aunts and eccentric family friends – all beautifully and often poignantly captured in Ardizzone’s deceptively simple prose and delicately humorous drawings. This classic memoir is a must for fans of Ardizzone, young and old, and a perfect introduction for those who haven’t yet discovered him. We’re delighted to announce that it will be available to readers once more, published in a Plain Foxed Edition.

Lazy Day Books

A bookshop aboard a pink '61 Chevy Rampside pickup-turned-bookmobile. Based in Los Angeles, California Instagram @lazydaybooks.la
Stockists

Hatchards Cheltenham

88 The Promenade Cheltenham GL50 1NB Tel: 01242 382703 www.hatchards.co.uk
Stockists
1st December 2022

Slightly Foxed Issue 76: From the Editors

This issue of Slightly Foxed comes with our very best wishes to you all from all of us here for Christmas and the coming year. However there’s no escaping the fact that these are anxious times, and we were touched by a reader in Australia who wrote to us recently: ‘I can only say, to all the Slightly Foxed team, that you are a saviour. Slightly Foxed has kept me in touch, kept me sane, made me relish the humour, the warmth, the quirky charm of the English way of doing things.’ Wherever you are in the world, we hope you feel the same.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
‘String is my foible’

‘String is my foible’

A tarnished silver teapot. A tin of buttons, their parent garments long decayed. A bundle of yellowing letters, in my mother’s hand. Look: here she is, smiling in her nurse’s uniform in the photograph that used to sit upon the mantelpiece. But now she’s propped against moving boxes, still not unpacked. These are a few of the reasons why I cannot sit in my own front room, although there are more. It’s no use turning to Marie Kondo in this sort of situation; what I recommend is Elizabeth Gaskell. The narrator of Cranford (1851–3) knows all about hoarding. ‘String is my foible. My pockets get full of little hanks of it, picked up and twisted together, ready for uses that never come.’ And elastic bands – or, as Cranford puts it, India-rubber rings. Oh, don’t talk about India-rubber rings! ‘I have one which is not new,’ our narrator tells us, ‘one that I picked up off the floor, nearly six years ago. I have really tried to use it: but my heart failed me, and I could not commit the extravagance.’
SF magazine subscribers only
Shall I Be Me?

Shall I Be Me?

In the summer of 1953, briefly in London during the Coronation celebrations, I took myself to the Phoenix theatre (Upper Circle, 6s.) to see The Sleeping Prince, with the two glittering stars of the time, Laurence Olivier and his wife Vivien Leigh. Olivier had commis­sioned the piece especially for the season from the playwright Terence Rattigan, and the paper-thin plot had the Regent of Carpathia, in town for the 1911 Coronation, reluctantly mesmerized by a chorus girl. No play embellished by Olivier and Leigh could fail to captivate a popular audience, and this one had a good run – but for those with a more robust appetite it was really nothing more than a moderately tasty meringue.

Surprised by Joy

In the obituaries that appeared in 2021 for the Polish writer Adam Zagajewski, his prose, I was saddened to see, hardly got a mention. I suppose this is common with poets: their poetry is seen as the real work, and everything else is a sideline, left-handed writing. This is, to be fair, often the case. But Zagajewski was genuinely ambidextrous, writing just as many books of prose as poetry, and just as seriously. It was essentially the same work, only in a different form.
SF magazine subscribers only
A Northern Survivor

A Northern Survivor

Nestled in the heart of Orkney’s second largest town, on a main street uncoiling, as the Orcadian poet and writer George Mackay Brown described it, ‘like a sailor’s rope’, Stromness Books & Prints has sev­eral claims to fame. It’s the UK’s most northerly independent bookshop, and it’s ‘Scotland’s only drive-in bookshop’, as claimed by Tam MacPhail, who ran the business for many years. (This claim is based on the fact that the main street is narrow enough for drivers to stop outside the shop, open the window, shout a request through the door and be served without leaving the car.)
SF magazine subscribers only
. . . from the Trees

. . . from the Trees

In Issue 75, I said some books help you grow. Others help you let go. Our son was 17 when he disappeared. I’ll call him R. We bought our place that was big enough to plant trees when he was 14. We thought this was a good thing; he loved trees, so did we. While we were busy planting an orchard, a forest garden, he explored the ancient wood­land that surrounded us, taking an axe, a tinder box and a bivvy bag. We wouldn’t see him again until dark, sometimes not even then.
SF magazine subscribers only
A Recording Angel

A Recording Angel

From the long shelf of books about London that I keep (and keep adding to) the one I most cherish is The London Nobody Knows. Published sixty years ago, it is part whimsical vade mecum, part urban elegy, a book that celebrates the lesser-known nooks and cor­ners of a capital that was in drastic transition. Knocked about by German bombing twenty years earlier, London had then come under sustained assault from planners and developers largely inimical to the architectural quirks and anomalies of the Victorian age. The author, Geoffrey Fletcher (1923–2004), was working against the clock: the ‘tawdry, extravagant and eccentric’ place he loved was fast disappear­ing, and a recording angel like himself needed his wits about him if he was to preserve its memory. The year of the book’s appearance, 1962, had already seen the destruction of two major landmarks, the Euston Arch and the Coal Exchange. More were bound to follow.
SF magazine subscribers only

Sign up to our e-newsletter

Sign up for dispatches about new issues, books and podcast episodes, highlights from the archive, events, special offers and giveaways.

By signing up for our free email newsletter or our free printed catalogues, you will not automatically be subscribed to the quarterly magazine. To become a subscriber to Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader’s Quarterly Magazine, please visit our subscriptions page.

Slightly Foxed undertakes to keep your personal information confidential. You can read more about this in our Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from our list at any point by changing your preferences, or contacting us directly. Alternatively, if you have an account you can manage your preferences in your account settings.

What excellent company you are!

I have been devoted to your podcast for over a year; it could be improved only by being more frequent. Every book I have ordered from you has been a delight; nothing disappoints. I receive your emails with pleasure, and that’s saying a lot. Slightly Foxed is a source of content . . . ’
K. Nichols, Washington, USA

Sign up to our e-newsletter

Sign up for dispatches about new issues, books and podcast episodes, highlights from the archive, events, special offers and giveaways.