Poems That Rhyme - About the Author
The young author - John Slim
The mature author - John Slim
About the Author
Published by John Slim. © John Slim 2011.
Poems that rhyme, 47Alcester Road, Lickey End, Bromsgrove B50 1JT  Tel: 01527 872664
JOHN SLIM has been a journalist for longer than
he usually cares to mention – but he is always
prepared to make an exception, and now, in 2012,
he acknowledges that it all started in 1951, a
month after completing his two years’ National
Service with the RAF.

He joined the Kidderminster Shuttle in June of that year, spent
some time thinking that that was a funny name for a paper,
then realised that shuttles were something to do with
Kidderminster’s staple carpet industry.
He joined The Birmingham Post & Mail in 1954, in its Redditch
office – where he remained until Bonfire Night 1965, when he
moved to head office and launched the Post’s revamped
Mercian column. This became the collection-point for his daily
encounters with ordinary people with hobbies and interests
that were often quite extraordinary – people like Alf Tabb, the
stringy septuagenarian who could ride a 4in-high bicycle, for
instance.
After this, in 1968, he began the first of two long-running
series of major profiles of Midlands and national figures as
they dropped into the news.
He was the first journalist to interview Enoch Powell after his
River of Blood speech in 1968 and then the first to interview
Muhammad Ali, just after Parkinson’s Disease had begun its
destructive assault on The Greatest.
His wide range of interviewees – sportsmen, authors, actors,
military figures, explorers and politicians among them –
included Pamela Stephenson in her dressing room when she
was appearing in a show called
Not in Front of the Children.
When he could no longer resist referring to an 8ft-tall
columnar object standing in one corner, he said, “That’s not a
mushroom, is it?” – to which she replied,  “No, it’s a cock.”
Apparently under the surprising impression that he might see
it even better if she changed its position, she stood up and
tried to move it – causing it to start to topple.
At this point, her visitor leapt from his moorings and wrapped
his arms round it – which was when, the pair of them began
the brief, desperate and unseemly shuffle while they
embraced it and brought it to a halt.
Theatre reviewing started in 1968, as an after-hours adjunct
to his feature-writing. Then in 1984 he was asked to “look
after the amateur stage this week” – an invitation that went on
until his supposed retirement in 1991 and then continued to
separate him from his evening slippers well into the 21st
Century.
Theatre thus became allied to words as one of his special twin
interests. Words went on to see him writing more than 7,500
limericks in seven books, but he had already been using
them, rather more soberly, to start creating the 200-plus
poems now collected in
Poems That Rhyme.
Please don’t try to read them at a sitting.
He toiled long hours, penning verse. . .
...and clearly went from
bad to worse.
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