All in the Mind?

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I have long wanted to offer an update on the latest additions to the Crowden Archive. Some subscribers may recall the first piece on the subject, ‘Something for the Weekend’ in Slightly Foxed No. 32. In it, I described a selection of the titles in my possession which have been collected over more than thirty years and which appeal to those possessed of a Lower Fourth Form sense of humour. My mother feels that I should now move on to more suitable pastimes, pokerwork, perhaps, or tatting, but books with questionable titles just keep on falling into my hands.

My intention has always been to leave the archive to my various scouts who have, over the years, been kind enough to contribute to it. Benjamin Whitrow, a fellow-actor, is a new recruit to the band of overgrown schoolboys who scour bookshops on my behalf in London and the provinces. Last Christmas he produced Smiling Willie and the Tiger and I’ll Come if You Will. I have bookended the latter with Taken by the Hand and Sooty’s Jumbo Trouble. Ben’s scouting skills are sorely needed, because my Yorkshire scout no longer passes on duplicate finds and my solicitor, an early recruit, has promised Biggles Takes It Rough but has yet to deliver.

All archive books have to be bought cheap, as I am still of the opinion that no title should cost more than £5, and I’m afraid I think purchasing over the Internet is cheating. Pansie’s Flour Bin, an obscure nineteenth-century title, failed on both counts, which was a great disappointment.

Inspired by a visit to the Slightly Foxed office, two doors up from a saucy emporium for ladies and a short bus ride from 100 Shades of Blue, which is not a paint shop specializing in Farrow and Ball emulsion, I returned home to tackle the books, now four deep on each shelf. A Dewey system unique to the archive has had to be created: Dicks now fill more than half a shelf, Queens the ot

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About the contributor

Sarah Crowden has a Foundation Certificate in Bricklaying. Suggestive terminology in bricklaying is limited, but she is delighted to report that it is rife in Plumbing.

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