This issue marks a bit of a celebration for us – Slightly Foxed’s fifth we birthday. It seems no time ago – certainly not twenty issues – that we we’re sitting round the kitchen table, arguing about a title, discussing printers and finances and page designs and paper thicknesses, and how to get the word out about a new quarterly that — let’s be frank — a lot of people felt couldn’t possibly work.
Sometimes, in darker moments, we felt it couldn’t possibly work either. But friends and relations, and friends of friends and friends of relations came up with lists of likely subscribers and generally put the word about, and on this tide of help and goodwill Slightly Foxed was launched. The cheering response to our early issues certainly supported the truth of the simple idea that had got us started in the first place — that there many more interesting and amusing books to be read that the ones featured in the weekly review pages, and that people want to be reminded of them.
Now the number of Slightly Foxed readers may have increased, but we still feel that each issue goes out, not just to subscribers but to friends. We’re constantly cheered and encouraged (and often amused!) by your letters and phone calls, and truly grateful for your loyalty in supporting us. We’re still a very small staff and we still discuss things round the kitchen table. Fortunately we have no need to spend too much time ‘in meetings’ — a few words over a cup of coffee, or even something stronger, will usually sort out a problem.
As ever, we raised a glass of something stronger to celebrate the arrival of the autumn issue and the publication V. S. Pritchett’s A Cab at the Door — this time at the kind invitation of one of our Board members in Edinburgh. There was an excellent turnout and lots of Slightly Foxed Editions were snapped up in preparation for Christmas. Talking of which, the latest of them, Richard Kennedy’s A Boy at the Hogarth Press and A Parcel of Time (see p.13), now combined in one volume, are — we think — the perfect Christmas present. And on the subject of presents, we’re compiling a new index of books, authors and contributors that have appeared in all the issues so far, and you’ll be receiving a free copy in the spring. Meanwhile, do have a go at our Christmas competitions on pp. 56 and 92.
Finally, a piece of sad but not unexpected news. Pugwash died peacefully this summer at the age of 15 – an honourable innings for we a cocker spaniel. He was buried in Devon, in his favourite wood. But we still think we hear the sound of paws in the passage. Now there is much discussion about what kind of dog should succeed him as Office Dog – after a suitable interval, of course.