I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to the tenth birthday celebration of Slightly Foxed, that wonderful literary quarterly full of snippets of delight and wonderful articles by an eclectic selection of contributors.
I don't suppose when they started that they thought that they would still be going in ten years time but they have and we are all delighted by this. Here is the opening paragraph in an article from the Daily Telegraph last year:
"Almost a decade ago, when one of the last family publishing firms was taken over by the international conglomerate Hachette, two of its editors decided they’d like to try something smaller. The publisher was John Murray, established in 1768 and responsible, over time, for the likes of Jane Austen, Lord Byron and John Betjeman. So many generations of Murrays had worked there that the family had become compelled to name its children by numbers (Octavius being the eighth). The editors were Hazel Wood and Gail Pirkis, who recall, with the vague weariness of people long recovered, the distant days of large advances and glitz. Celebrities were beginning to colonise the publishing calendar, and everything was driven by marketing. “We didn’t much care for the change,” Pirkis tells me, with some understatement"
And so they decided to start Slightly Foxed. They have a wonderful shop in the Gloucester Road, they have their quarterly and they have their own imprint with small runs from selected books. At the moment I am collecting the Carey family series written by Ronald Welch which I loved as a child and am now loving all over again. Learning history has never been so easy. I wrote about them earlier, here.
The party was heaving and great to see so many wonderful supporters and enthusiasts there and to be surrounded by kindred spirits. I was very happy to have a good friend with me as these kind of gatherings always daunt me a bit and my social skills are not what they used to be and before the evening we repaired to a small local Italian restaurant where we both partook of spaghetti carbonara. One of the best I have ever eaten and within ten minutes of opening, we were the first in, the tables were packed. Obviously well appreciated and I shall go there again.
And prior to Slightly Foxed we had also been to the Persephone bookshop where it was good to see and chat to Nicola Beaumann and my lovely friend Curzon presented me with a Persephone book as a gift.
A perfect day.