The Idler (1993)

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This article is about the modern-day periodical. For other publications called The Idler, see The Idler (disambiguation).
The Idler
Idler42.png
The Idler #42: Smash the System
Editor Tom Hodgkinson
Categories Arts/Culture
Frequency Annual (previously quarterly and bi-annual)
First issue 1993
Company Idler
Country  UK
Language English
Website Official website
ISSN 1351-5098

The Idler is a yearly British magazine devoted to its ethos of 'idling'. Founded in 1993 by Tom Hodgkinson and Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the publication's intention is to return dignity to the art of loafing, to make idling into something to aspire towards rather than reject.[1]

The magazine combines the aesthetics of 1990s slacker culture and pre-industrial revolution idealism. The title comes from a series of essays by Samuel Johnson, published in 1758–59.

Ethos[edit]

On the practice of idling, Tom Hodgkinson writes:

History[edit]

The Idler was launched in 1993 when its editor, Tom Hodgkinson, was 25. The title came from a series of essays by Samuel Johnson. In it, Johnson wrote on such subjects as sleep and sloth and said: "Every man is, or hopes to be, an idler." The new Idler took this 18th-century sensibility and combined it with the radical philosophies of the 1990s. Issue One featured a profile of Dr Johnson and an interview with psychonaut Terence McKenna.[3]

The Idler began as a quarterly magazine. It later become a biannual publication under Ebury Press and eventually a small press annual collection of essays from 2009.[4]

2010 saw the opening of the Idler Academy of Philosophy, Husbandry and Merriment: a school, coffee house and bookshop.[5]

Spin-offs and other media[edit]

Tom Hodgkinson has written four books which develop this attitude to life. The first, How to Be Idle, has been published in 20 countries and has so far become a best-seller in the UK, Italy and Germany.[6] His second book How to Be Free takes an anarchic approach to the everyday barriers that come between us and our dreams. The third is an alternative parenting manual, The Idle Parent, which argues that children should be left largely to their own devices.[7] The fourth, Brave Old World considers the virtues of the self-sufficient, rural lifestyle.

Title Year Pages Author
How to be Idle 2007 286 Tom Hodgkinson
How to be Free 2008 352 Tom Hodgkinson
The Book of Idle Pleasures 2008 224 Tom Hodgkinson and Dan Kieran
The Idle Parent 2009 260 Tom Hodgkinson
Brave Old World 2011 275 Tom Hodgkinson

The Crap series of humour books is a direct spin-off from an Idler column and edited by Dan Kieran:

  • Crap Jobs is a series of books chronicling the worst of Idler-readers' forays into employment.
  • Crap Towns exposes some of the worst places to live in Great Britain. Crap Towns caught the public imagination but drew fire from both local councils and local media in those areas concerned.[8]
  • Crap Holidays is an exploration of Samuel Johnson's maxim that the idler allows events and goods to come to him rather than expend energy and money travelling to disenchanting locations.

The Idler website includes archived magazine content and regular updates from the editor.[9]

Academy[edit]

In 2010, Tom Hodgkinson and Victoria Hull started The Idler Academy in London: a school and bookshop with the aim of providing lifelong education in useful, enjoyable but neglected subjects. It is founded on the idea that leisure be refined through cultivation and upon William Cobbett's stance that "Competence is the foundation of happiness."

Contributors[edit]

Contributors and interviewees featured in The Idler include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About". The Idler. 17 June 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Idler". The Idler. 17 June 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "Busy doing nothing: Ten years of The Idler's interviews with outstanding bohemians - Features - Books". The Independent. 2013-09-08. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  4. ^ "Issue 42: Smash the System". Idler.co.uk. 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  5. ^ "About". Idler.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  6. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/books/review/26STEINGA.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  7. ^ Ian Sansom. "Review: Secret World of the Working Mother by Fiona Millar, The See-Saw by Julia Hobsbawm and The Idle Parent by Tom Hodgkinson | Books". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  8. ^ Terry Kirby (2004-03-25). "Revealed: the top 100 'crap' towns in Britain - This Britain - UK". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  9. ^ http://www.idler.co.uk

External links[edit]