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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

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1st December 2020

Slightly Foxed Issue 68: From the Editors

After probably the strangest year that most of us have ever experienced, London is starting to feel more familiar. There are lighted office windows around Hoxton Square, and there’s traffic again in Old Street, now including shoals of bikes, some darting in and out of the cars and vans like minnows, some wobbling dangerously. There are a lot of new and inexperienced bike riders in London these days, and whether you’re walking or driving you have to look out. At Slightly Foxed the office is buzzing, and readers and contributors have been active too, putting pen to paper, or rather finger to key, to give the two of us plenty to read after lockdown. Sadly we had to cancel Readers’ Day this year, but we’ve booked the Art Workers’ Guild for 6 November 2021, and we look forward very much to seeing you there.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
A Merry Malady

A Merry Malady

Let’s begin with a brief quiz. Have you ever arrived home, triumphant with glee over your latest bookshop find, only to discover that you already have the book you just purchased? Have you ever attempted to bring home unobserved a stack of newly purchased books, and thus avoid the censorious lift of the eyebrows of loved ones which so often greets your latest acquisitions? Have you ever begun reading a book you’ve been looking forward to for years, even decades, only to discover your own notes in the margins? (If so, you are a bibliolathas.) Are you on first-name terms with the staff of three bookshops or more? Have you ever had to reinforce a sagging floor because of the weight of your books? Have you ever had to add a room on to your home or move to a larger one to accommodate them?
SF magazine subscribers only
A Lost Enchanted World

A Lost Enchanted World

Not long ago, in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, I was transfixed by a vast oil painting; Viktor Vasnetsov’s Bogatyrs (Men of Power) – astride their horses, one brown, one black, one white. I felt a thrill of recognition. Here were the three brothers, born to a poor widow in a single night and named Evening, Midnight and Sunrise, ‘all three as strong as any of the strong men and mighty bogatyrs who have shaken this land of Russia with their tread’.
SF magazine subscribers only
Golden Fire

Golden Fire

I write these words, appropriately enough, in The Woolpack – the Slad pub that once claimed Laurie Lee as its most famous patron – with a pint of cider at my elbow. From one window, the view dips down into a valley, and you can see a path that leads into Stroud, where Lee was born in 1914. From the other, the churchyard, where he is buried beneath the words ‘He lies in the valley he loved’, is just visible. The cider I am drinking is, inevitably, pressed from local apples: ‘golden fire, wine of wild orchids and of that valley and that time and of Rosie’s burning cheeks’. It feels, as it often does in The Woolpack, as if the connections with the past, those generations before me who called this place home, are tangible ones, worn into the dark, musty, cider-soaked fabric of the place.
Ring Out, Wild Bells!

Ring Out, Wild Bells!

Imagine you are walking in the English countryside and come to a village. As the day is hot and the church is open, you step inside to look around and rest in the predictably cool and dim interior. There are some things that the vast majority of church buildings in the British Isles seem to share: the ‘odour of sanctity’ (a combination of furniture polish, lilies and slightly damp stonework); the kneelers stitched by parishioners; a wall display or prayer tree made by the Sunday-school children; and a series of polite little notices – ‘Please close the door. PIGEONS!!!’
SF magazine subscribers only
11th November 2020

The shocking story of Charles and Mary Lamb: Slightly Foxed podcast reviewed

This story might have made for lurid telling, but the podcasters let James set it out plainly before interjecting with pertinent questions and steering the discussion to the Lambs’ work. The respectful quietness of Slightly Foxed is one of its virtues. Where other podcasts suffer from a crescendo of competing voices, this is steady and understated and, yes, all the cosier for being so.
- Spectator
From readers
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy | From the Slightly Foxed archives

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy | From the Slightly Foxed archives

Greetings from Hoxton Square where once again we’re sharing a free article from Slightly Foxed to complement a weekend of good reading. The magazine’s archive now stretches to almost 17 years’ worth of issues and over 1000 articles, all of which are available in print and on our website. This week we have combed through our back issues to bring you a piece by John le Carré’s biographer Adam Sisman on a spy fiction classic, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
18th September 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 18 September 2020

Last Thursday was a red-letter day for me because it was that now rare thing, a real letter day. Among the catalogues, bills and offers to sell the house shoved through the letterbox was an envelope addressed in the distinctive handwriting of an old friend. For many years now, widowed and against all advice, she has lived alone in a slightly dilapidated house in a remote part of rural France, reading and rereading her favourite books, ruled over with an ‘iron paw’ by her dog and cat and subsisting on very little money. She sees a few local friends, but nowadays, she says, she tends more to reclusiveness, quoting Colin Dexter’s verdict on Inspector Morse: ‘He was somewhat of a loner by temperament – because though never wholly happy when he was alone he was usually slightly more miserable when with other people.’
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors

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