Tom Hodgkinson is a writer and the editor of The Idler.
07 April 2013 12:00 AM
It was a good funeral," said the punk poet John Cooper Clarke to my wife Victoria and me as we walked away from St Bartholomew church in the City of London. We had joined 300 mourners to commemorate the life of Bruce Reynolds, best known as the unofficial leader of the gang who carried out the Great Train Robbery in 1963. Clarke had read a poem.
24 March 2013 12:00 AM
hen our phone went down in early February, we emailed our provider, the Phone Co-op, to ask them to fix it pronto. We live in a remote corner of Exmoor with no mobile reception, work from home and use the phone quite a lot. Now, the Phone Co-op is a lovely, friendly, ethical family company. There is some sort of co-operative element to it which I don't fully understand but which gives it an aura of non-exploitation. And you can communicate with them directly. Which is all great. But of course they don't fix the phones. That is down to another company: BT Openreach.
10 March 2013 12:00 AM
Education as it is organised today is a system for fitting children out to be servile adults. They are trained to serve, either in the corporation or the bureaucracy. This is called a utilitarian education, and its end purpose is a "good job". A lucky few slip through the net and, against the odds, create a somewhat more romantic arrangement for themselves: they are the self-employed – the artists, the entrepreneurs, the wanderers. But most are condemned to a life of more or less well-paid servility: at the last count, there were 25.3 million people in the UK with jobs. Sadly, this figure is on the rise.
24 February 2013 12:00 AM
When I was at university in the late 1980s, I had an American housemate, Chris. He was outstandingly bright. He was here on a year abroad as part of his degree, studying physics at Yale. But he had the worst handwriting I had ever seen. It was a horrible, ugly scrawl. Admittedly mine was not exactly on the Eric Gill level, but at least it was joined up and legible. Chris did all his work on a word processor, a novelty to us backward Europeans back then, who still wrote our essays on lined paper with a fountain pen. I felt sorry for Chris, though, because his childish writing made him look stupid.
10 February 2013 12:00 AM
How long will this extreme weather last? It's becoming exhausting. Snow is followed by rain, then wind. Travel is dangerous. Cars are stranded.
27 January 2013 12:00 AM
Are we in fuel poverty?" Victoria asked me the other day. I decided to add up our annual fuel costs to find a definite answer. It seems that we spend £2,100 a year on heating oil for our Rayburn stove. We spend £1,600 on electricity. And there is about £400 on logs, and £120 on gas bottles. That makes an annual spend of £4,220. Our annual income before tax is somewhere in the region of £40,000 to £45,000. Therefore, if you accept the definition of fuel poverty as a situation where a household spends 10 per cent or more of its income on keeping warm, it seems we are indeed fuel-poor.
13 January 2013 12:00 AM
What's wrong with children? However much you attempt to instill an anti-consumerist philosophy into them, they still hurl themselves unthinkingly at the latest fads, costing you an arm and a leg in the process.
06 January 2013 12:00 AM
The 18th century is generally seen as as a hard-working epoch, particularly the latter part of it, when the Industrial Revolution was born. This was the time when Victorian prosperity was forged in the smithy of the new work ethic. It was a time when the Protestant attitude finally triumphed over Popery and we were encouraged to abandon the contemplative life in favour of sweat, toil, consumption and social advancement. This was progress. You might say it was a triumph of Whiggery.
16 December 2012 12:00 AM
There is a very excellent housemaster at Eton College called Mike Grenier, who has invited me to give talks on the benefits of idleness to the boys there on three occasions. I've always enjoyed these evenings, but confess to finding the boys there "slightly sinister", in the words of Aldous Huxley, who was both a pupil and a teacher at the school. They all seemed to be unfeasibly tall, with unfeasibly big hair, and while charming, gazed benignly on me as I might gaze benignly on a street urchin in São Paolo – to be pitied, but beyond saving. What I mean to say is, they ooze self-assurance.
02 December 2012 12:00 AM
Are shopkeepers the only true anarchists? The idea came to mind this week on reading a really wonderful new book by Yale professor James C Scott called Two Cheers for Anarchism, which defends anarchism as a political principle and attacks large institutions, whether state or corporate. The most brilliant chapter offers a defence of the petty bourgeoisie, a class to which I now happily belong.
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- 1 Reyhaneh Jabbari: Iran due to execute woman for murder of her alleged attempted rapist
- 2 Sainsbury's '50p challenge' poster telling staff to encourage customers to spend more placed in shop window instead of staff room
- 3 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 4 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 5 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
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