Tom Hodgkinson is a writer and the editor of The Idler.
23 September 2012 12:00 AM
Sometimes everything just goes wrong. Particularly during term time. During the holidays I looked forward to the start of the new school term, but right now I am looking fondly back on the holidays. Because of the lie-ins.
16 September 2012 12:00 AM
George Hinchliffe, head of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, tells Tom Hodgkinson why the uke's fanbase is soaring again
09 September 2012 12:00 AM
In his beautiful and useful 17th-century self-help book The Anatomy of Melancholy, Robert Burton recommends merry-making as an antidote to depression. He lists "dancing, singing, masking, mumming, stage plays" as worthwhile pursuits for the down-at-heart, and approves of festivities for the people: "Let them freely feast, sing, dance, have their puppet plays, hobby-horses, tabors, crowds, bagpipes, etc, and play at ball, and barley-breaks, and what sports and recreations they like best."
26 August 2012 12:00 AM
Most of us know Count Leo Tolstoy as the author of War and Peace, a big book that we haven't read. What is less well known about this remarkable individual is that he was a social reformer whose pacifist and anarchist ideas were to have huge influence in the 20th century and to this day. I say all this because Tolstoy has been popping up in my conversations recently: a Viennese journalist, flatteringly if absurdly, compared me to him the other day, and I have just started to read Anna Karenina.
12 August 2012 12:00 AM
Anyone who knows anything about prisons will suspect a link between criminal behaviour and illiteracy. I'm a keen student of the work of Noel "Razor" Smith, armed robber-turned-writer and public speaker. He has been in and out of prison all his life. There is no doubt that he found liberation through language. And again and again in his accounts of prison life, we find that a large proportion of his fellow inmates cannot read or write.
29 July 2012 12:00 AM
The Sex Pistols, brilliantly, attacked the holy trinity of the modern economy: work, shopping and holidays, that is, paid employment, consumption and paid-for leisure. In "17", Johnny Rotten sang: "I don't work, I just speed, that's all I need," adding, with pride, "I'm a lazy sod." "Anarchy in the UK" complains that our Queen's "future dream is a shopping scheme", and in "Holidays in the Sun" he sneered at those who take a cheap holiday in other people's misery.
15 July 2012 12:00 AM
Travelling fills me with dread. When a trip is looming – and loom they do these days, because I'm often invited to speak on the benefits of doing nothing at festivals and conferences abroad – I fret. I even panic, sometimes for days before the journey. I stomp around the house grumpily. I worry about clothing. Why did I say yes? Why can't I just stay at home? Where's my passport?
01 July 2012 12:00 AM
Twitter is a terrible distraction for writers and journalists. The deadline is hanging over you and all you can do is waste time scrolling through hundreds of unsatisfying attempts at aphoristic wit.
17 June 2012 12:00 AM
Everyone loves a bonfire and now is the time to build one. In olde England, midsummer fires were traditionally held on the eve of the Feast of St John the Baptist on 24 June. These were occasions for music and dancing. One Elizabethan ballad testifies: "When midsomer comes, with bavens and bromes, they do bonfires make /And swiftly then, the nimble young men runne leapinge over the same / The women and maydens together do couple their handes / With bagpipes sounde, they daunce a rounde; no malice among them standes."
03 June 2012 12:00 AM
Unlike in 1977, when the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen" reached number two in the charts, there seem to be few republican voices prepared to stand out today. And however much you might like to resist it, everyone has gone crazy for bunting. It's everywhere (not least on the pages of the magazine you're holding in your hands).
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Pakistan vs Paul Smith: Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering nest of potentially deadly spiders in bananas
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 Russell Crowe's Noah banned in three Arab countries before worldwide premiere
- 5 Bob Crow death: RMT Union leader dies of massive heart attack aged 52