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Exotic Subscribers

Businesslike people sometimes ask us about our ‘reader profile’ – who, they wonder, would be a ‘typical Slightly Foxed subscriber’. We find this impossible to answer, except to say that you all clearly love reading and have shown yourselves to be an exceptionally nice bunch of people – courteous, generous, loyal, and with a telling turn of phrase, judging by your letters. What we do know is that you are spread far and wide, and during the dark, rainy days of last summer, as we posted off copies of the latest issue, we wondered rather longingly about the warm and exotic places in which you might be reading it. So we sent some of you who live overseas a note, asking you to send us a postcard describing your favourite surroundings for reading Slightly Foxed.

One interesting fact that emerged was that many of you read it in the bath – whether it’s a bathtub in Boston, Beijing or the Balearics. ‘How I wish I could say I sit on my patio facing south, or in my pergola facing north while enjoying SF,’ wrote a reader from Mexico. ‘The awful truth is, I read it in the bathroom, facing nothing.’ ‘I didn’t think I had a favourite reading spot,’ writes another from Austria, ‘but I’ve just found my latest issue, squeezed between a basket of plastic ducks and the tooth mugs, and realized that of course I do. What greater luxury could there be than a hot bath and Slightly Foxed (especially when the children are asleep)?’

Others waxed more lyrical. ‘I usually read SF in my Sydney garden, watched by the green parrots in my wattle tree,’ writes one Australian subscriber, while another reads his ‘on lazy Sundays, in my comfy old bed, in a house full of books, on a limestone hill, overlooking the town of Fremantle with the breezy blue Indian Ocean in the background.’ And a subscriber in Athens reads SF in a little house ‘tucked beneath the Hill of Nymphs, a few hundred metres to the north-west of the Acropolis’ or lying in the shade of a carob tree near the spot where Pericles lies buried.

An Indian subscriber enjoys Slightly Foxed on a balcony above the teeming streets of  Mumbai, while a  fellow SFer reads on a bench under a spreading tree overlooking the hills in Brazil’s high central savannas. Yet another snatches a few quiet minutes with her latest copy in a Brussels café over a cup of mint tea while she waits for her 5-year-old son to finish his music lesson. And a dealer in rare books in Milan paints a touching picture of himself taking Slightly Foxed out of his drawer and reading it in the troglodytic circumstances in which he works, ‘in a little recess, ten feet underground, in a library’, surrounded by towering bookshelves.

Whiling away the 45-minute ferry crossing to the mainland from the Outer Hebrides with SF, waiting for its ‘erratic arrival (due to weather conditions)’ on Alderney in winter – it’s thrilling to think of all the different circumstances in which people enjoy Slightly Foxed, and these were just a few of the many postcards we received. Thank you all for taking the trouble to reply.

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