There’s plenty of mind-nourishing goodness in our November/December issue, says Tom Hodgkinson
Our new edition is released today. The cover star is Rupert Sheldrake, who describes the difficulty of being both a mystic and scientist, in a world where the twain rarely meet. You’ll also find out about Sheldrake’s work on reigniting the tradition of pilgrimage in Blighty and in getting people to go along to Evensong in the country’s 40-odd medieval cathedrals.
Further on the medieval theme, stonemason and author Alex Woodcock reveals the amazing range of weird sculptures in our old cathedrals and churches.
Read about Mary Killen‘s loathing of admin, improve your mental faculties with John-Paul Flintoff’s guide to mind maps, and wonder whether Griff Rhys Jones might have a point with his various objections to fireworks.
Guy Standing attacks the time bandits, the powers that be who, he says, have been engaged in a massive time-grab over the last four or five hundred years. Standing has a plan for how we can take our time back.
Then there’s our regulars Virginia Ironside and Stewart Lee.
In his column Arthur Smith accentuates the negative. “One has to turn up for grumpiness, dissatisfaction, and sometimes even sadness, for these are the condiments that give depth and flavour to the ever elusive – happiness.”
He’s right. You can’t be cheerful all the time. What about bereavements? Two friends of the Idler have died recently. Young Poppy Chancellor was only 36. Daughter of Jock Scot and Anna Chancellor, she was a brilliant artist and a beacon of fun and positive energy. Too awful for words.
For her funeral the family held a wonderful procession with horse-drawn hearse and banners, from Golborne Road to Kensal Green cemetery. Poppy’s death brings to mind the final verse of Chesterton’s poem “The Rolling English Road”:
My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.
RIP also Tony Husband, who died at 73 of a heart attack in London, while walking to a Private Eye party. Tony was a brilliant cartoonist and contributed loads of great work to the Idler (remember “Neville”?).
In his obituary, Craig Brown compared him to Samuel Beckett. And he remembered a cartoon of Tony’s: “Over a garden fence, a man complains to a neighbour: ‘Your cat keeps doing its business in my garden’; in the foreground, the cat sits behind an office desk, talking on the phone.”
PS You’re invited to a party in London on Wednesday 6 December to celebrate thirty years of the Idler. Entry is free when you pre-order a copy of our new limited-edition publication, XXX: Thirty Years of the Idler. Click here to reserve your place. To pre-order the book but not come to the party, click here.
Our November/December issue is available in Waitrose, Waterstones, Smiths Travel outlets, select Smiths high street branches and around 100 indie stores. Click here for your nearest stockist.