As many of you will already have gathered, if only from the discreet note on the contents page of the winter issue, this spring we’ve embarked on a new project, the Slightly Foxed podcast. Your reaction to this may possibly have been the same as ours when the idea was first put to us: ‘What exactly is a podcast?’ But now that, with some very knowledgeable assistance, we’ve got the hang of it, we realize what an enjoyable way it is of sharing with you more of our life behind the scenes at SF and introducing you to some of the interesting people who help to make the magazine what it is: our varied and very individual contributors, our illustrators and designers, our printers, the independent booksellers who stock us – the list is endless. Think of it as a kind of Slightly Foxed on air, giving what is sometimes called ‘added value’.
So from now on, on the 15th of each month, we’ll be inviting you to join us round the table here in Hoxton to meet one or other of them and learn about their own particular experience and expertise, talk about books we’re enjoying, and share what’s going on in – and sometimes out of – the office. We do hope you’ll join us, if you haven’t done so already. The podcasts are completely free and the first four episodes are available to listen to now. If you enjoy them, please put the word about; and if you have any difficulty accessing them just let us know and we’ll do our best to help.
One reality of life, as we’re sure you all agree, is that it’s not getting any cheaper, and prices are continuing to rise. In our case these include rent, paper, postage and many other essentials. We’ve been agonizing for some time now about how to absorb these costs without raising our subscription price, but it’s six years since we last did so, and now Mark our accountant has spoken to us quite severely on the subject. So with heavy hearts we’ve agreed that from 1 February the price of an annual SF subscription will go up by £8. True, it’s still only the price of a decent meal out and much longer lasting, but we do understand that for many of us these are days of uncomfortable belt-tightening. We’d be very sad to lose any of you, so we’re holding a small number of subscriptions at the old price. If you are a long-term subscriber who finds the increase a step too far, please drop us a line.
More cheerfully, the latest of the Slightly Foxed Editions is a fascinating one: James (now Jan) Morris’s account of the forty years he spent living as a man but utterly convinced that he was a woman – a conviction which finally led him to a gender reassignment operation in Casablanca at a time when this was relatively unheard of. A devoted husband and father of four children, James was already well known as a daring reporter and a marvellous travel writer, as well as a distinguished historian of the British Empire, and this news created a sensation. Conundrum however, though gripping, is anything but sensational. It’s a thoughtful and moving book which casts a calm light on what is now a hotly debated issue.
Finally, many congratulations to the winner of our tenth annual crossword competition, Lorna Raynes, who receives a free annual subscription. If any of the clues defeated you, the answers are on p.93.