The Idler is doing the festival rounds. Tom Hodgkinson can’t wait to sit in a field with a beer
As you know, the three pillars of the Idler Academy’s curriculum are philosophy, husbandry and merriment.
Over the last year, many of us have had plenty of time to indulge in the first two. We’ve been able to ponder the meaning of life and how to live it.
DIY shops have reported a boom, as have gardening supply shops. The entrepreneur Luke Johnson even bought a chain of these – called Primrose – to capitalise on the explosion in home husbandry.
But there has been precious little merriment. Festivals and parties and gigs were cancelled. The theatres and cinemas were closed. There was no maypole dancing.
As an anti-Puritan organisation, we found this pretty hard to deal with. It felt like living under a Cromwellian dictatorship where the finger-waggers and party-poopers were enjoying a moment of ascendancy.
But fun and fellowship are good for the health, both mental and physical, and that’s why we welcome the return of festivals this summer. It’s going to be great to sit on the grass with a pint of real ale in a recyclable plastic glass again.
Sadly our own festival at Fenton House was cancelled for a second time in a row as the National Trust feel unable to take the risk. But we’re going to be popping up at four other events over the summer, putting on talks and selling our wares, and we hope to see some of you at one of them.
First is Elephant Camp, a small and luxurious glamping weekend run by our friends from the Port Eliot Festival. We’ll be running a live version of our Drink with the Idler online event with guests Sally Phillips, Simon Farnaby and Viv Groskop, as well as resident philosopher Mark Vernon. That’s on 30 July to 1 August. Details here.
Then on 17-19 September it’s off to Hawarden in Wales for the Gladstone family’s Camp Good Life.
I’m really looking forward to hiring a transit van, loading it up with bunting, flags, our wooden snail, copies of the Idler magazine, my books, our t-shirts and tea towels and hitting the road again.