Slightly Foxed was officially launched on 11 March at Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street, W1. Daunt’s was a perfect setting, embodying everything you would hope for in a bookshop – helpful, well-informed staff, a wide and well-ordered selection of books, quick service, even polished wood panelling. It was a pleasure to see all the people who have helped to make Slightly Foxed a reality gathered together to wish it well.
What a good thing it is that there are still independent bookshops like Daunt’s around – in London one thinks particularly also of Heywood Hill in Curzon Street and John Sandoe off the King’s Road, each with its own individual flavour produced by owners and staff who know that selling books is not like selling frozen peas, who love what they sell and take the trouble to get to know both their stock and their customers. These are all well-known and well-established bookshops, but in towns and cities all over the country, other, mostly smaller bookshops are carrying on the same tradition of providing a personal service. It’s a hard world these days for independent booksellers, so let’s give them our support.
Support is what we have felt, coming at us in wonderful warm waves, since the first issue of Slightly Foxed hit doormats as far apart as Finland and Papua New Guinea. Your letters have meant a great deal to us, and it’s hard to resist quoting from some of them.
‘Damn it, I should be at my writing but I can’t put the little fox down,’ wrote N. T. di Giovanni. ‘It looks beautiful. It feels beautiful. It is so readable . . . It is everything the leaflet led me to believe it would be’; ‘We are so delighted with the first issue. Little domestic work was done yesterday, when our copy arrived,’ Rayleen Eaton informed us; ‘My lovely first issue of Slightly Foxed is getting very creased and bathwater damp – please keep some back issues in case,’ pleaded another ‘v. satisfied subscriber’. There were dozens more, but one we particularly enjoyed was a response to our subscription leaflet from an American reader, which we’ve reproduced on p.92.
We must be truthful, however, and say that there was a dissenting voice. One reader found the magazine ‘metropolitan, self-conscious’ thirtyish, (in answer we might point out that more than half our contributors live outside London, and a good number have already collected their bus passes). And opinions were divided about the lengths of the individual pieces, some describing them as ‘just right’, others demanding more variation. We would be delighted to hear your views and suggestions on these and any other aspects of Slightly Foxed.
Meantime, we are happy that Slightly Foxed is finding a readership that seems to have been waiting for it for a long time. Thank you all for your faith in the project and your enthusiastic support. And thanks to our contributors too, for grasping what we wanted and giving sparkle to our first issue. Producing our second is a little like having to follow a first novel that’s had good reviews. But we hope and trust you will enjoy it as much as you enjoyed the first.