Tom Hodgkinson‘s letter to readers on the joys of virtual Idler gatherings
First off, can I say thanks to everyone who has been coming along to our Thursday evening Idler TV broadcasts. We conceived our “A Drink with the Idler” shows as a temporary lockdown project, something to sustain us since all live events were cancelled.
However the continued popularity of “A Drink with…” has convinced us to keep the events going. While they are obviously not a perfect replacement for a live event, they do have other advantages. There’s no need to leave the house, therefore Idler readers from all over the world can join in. The fact that they’re carried out from home means they are considerably less hassle for the guests, as well. Thanks to our “large meeting” setting on Zoom, we create the atmosphere of a sort of televised phone-in, where readers can ask questions. We love seeing and chatting to all the Idler readers out there. And the events have a second life on Idler TV.
That our “A Drink with…” shows are a very good idea is perhaps proved by the fact that in September the Spectator launched its own series of weekly Zoom events, also on a Thursday and also from 6–7pm. And while we’re on the subject of the trend-setting Idler, we also notice that following my newsletter two weeks ago on Boris the Puritan – who, in Cromwellian fashion, has closed the theatres, shut the pubs early and is threatening to cancel Christmas – the same point was made in the Observer on Sunday and in the new issue of Private Eye.
Next week’s “A Drink with…” guest is the former Prospect editor David Goodhart, who is coming to talk about his new book, Head Hand Heart: The Struggle for Dignity and Status in the 21st Century. Register here. It’s free for Idler magazine and Academy subscribers.
While we’re blowing our own trumpet, may I remind readers that we’ve also been leading the way in what is rather clunkily called “EdTech”. Seven years ago we launched our first online course, “An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy with Mark Vernon”. We now offer 60 online courses. They are on sale individually but most idlers opt for a subscription to the Idler Academy, best understood as a Netflix-style subscription. We truly give you all the best teachers in their field, and we’re continually adding new courses.
An Idler Academy subscription costs £6 a month, for which modest sum you get full access to every online course, plus the current issue of the Idler magazine in digital form, and the Idler paywall and archive. And for £8 a month, we’ll also send you the print edition six times a year – plus a free tote with a snail on it. Read more here.