Played hookey for a couple of hours last Saturday and joined a few fellow writers at our hallowed Cliff Cottage for lunch hosted by the wonderful Elizabeth. She’ll hate me for saying this, (and will let me know in no uncertain terms as she is a subscriber) but she truly is generosity and philanthropy personified.
In the course of our spirited and diverse conversation it came up that a writer friend of ours was ghosting an autobiography. There’s nothing too remarkable about that as a lot of autobiographies are “ghosted” to some degree. However, for an autobiography to be successful the subject should be well known or at the very least their name needs to be recognisable. The subject of this one was unfamiliar and curiosity got the better of me.
Imagine my surprise when a veritable dogfight unfolded before my eyes.
Lizette Roux, whose life is to be documented in print, recently set up a dog magazine called Surrey Dog Life and in doing so has become embroiled in a particularly bitchy battle with the editor and publisher of the well established, also Surrey based, Dogs Today.
Beverley Cuddy started Dogs Today 20 years ago and has taken great exception, not surprisingly really, to Lizette Roux’s masthead strapline which reads “Surrey’s first and only dog magazine”. To add insult to injury Roux has also called her home the “Dog House” which is just happens to be the name of Cuddy’s home. I can’t help but think either one of them could have come up with something more original but hey-ho that seems to be the house moniker of choice in the Home Counties.
At this point you’re probably thinking that a minor publishing dispute isn’t really enough upon which to base an entire volume and you’d be right.
Roux, who, until recently went by the name of Liz Hoad, is a former Page 3 girl and is no stranger to controversy and the law courts.
A professional golfer when she left school, clothes sponsorship led to modelling which then led to topless modelling – a more lucrative career at that time than chasing birdies on the PGA circuit. As seems to be the way of it, she then embarked upon well documented affairs with James Hunt, Lord Lichfield and the much loved and late Seve Ballesteros to name but a few … allegedly.
Despite these obvious distractions, her penchant for putters, fervour for fairways and great weakness for gimmies never left her and in 2004 her membership application, under the name of Beth White, to the elite golf club at Wentworth was accepted … until her colourful past became known and the powers that be withdrew it. Needless to say, a fight ensued.
Those who know me might be tempted to think my over-active and over-vivid imagination has come into play and either I’m making this all up or the punchline is immiment. I wish it was. Such literary luminaries as Charles Dickens, Daniel Defoe, P. G. Wodehouse, H. G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, Alfred Tennyson, J. M. Barrie, George Eliot, Robert Browning, Lewis Carroll, George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Conan Doyle, J. M. Barrie, John Galsworthy and John Donne have all lived for a time in Surrey and even they’d be pushed to make this sort of nonsense up.
This skirmish in Surrey is … well, it’s ‘surreal’.
Having been editor of a golf magazine for several years (golf/dogs … it’s all about chasing balls isn’t it?) I know how much work goes into getting each issue out so Ms Roux/Hoad/White must be a grafter. She’s clearly also a dog lover and is interested in writing (three important … nay, essential qualities in my book) so my feeling is that with a population of over 1 million England’s most heavily wooded county should be able to sustain two dog magazines … “surrely”. (Sorry).
As good old Walt Disney, said, “I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.”
He’d have loved this fairytale.