A Drink with Arthur Smith

Arthur Smith A Drink with the Idler
Photo by Steve Ullathorne


Join A Drink with the Idler for a chat with comedian Arthur Smith

Arthur Smith will be in conversation with Idler magazine editor Tom Hodgkinson and your host will be Idler Academy director Victoria Hull.

We’ll have philosophical insight from Dr Mark Vernon and the discussion will be followed by a live Q&A.

A Drink with the Idler is free for Idler magazine and Academy subscribers.

It is an online event. Bring your friends. It should be like meeting up in the pub for an interesting conversation. We leave the meeting open at the end so you can carry on chatting.

About the speakers:

Arthur Smith is a comedian, writer and broadcaster. He studied at the University of East Anglia, Norwich and speaks fluent French having spent a year as an English assistant in the Lycée Janson de Sailly in Paris. In 2015 the University also made him an honorary doctor of letters. He started his working life as a dustman, a singer in an obscure rock band and a teacher of English to foreign students. Eventually, he became a professional entertainer and has since performed all over the world and written every form of comedy from stand-up one-liners to full-length plays and screenplays.

His play An Evening with Gary Lineker ran in London for several years in the early 90s and other shows he has since written and performed on the West End stage include the stage plays Live Bed Show, Sod as well as solo shows Arthur Smith’s Hamlet, Dante’s Inferno (my last hangover) and in 2016 he did Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen in Edinburgh, London, Berlin and beyond. In 2018 he performed Syd, the story of his father, who was captured at El Alamein, ended the war in Colditz castle and then became a policeman who didn’t like arresting people. He is currently trying to write a book about this.

He does the VO for the hit TV show Money for Nothing and is the voice of Dave Spud’s dad in the cartoon Dave Spud. He appears regularly on Radio 4’s Loose Ends and 4 extra’s The Comedy Club. His autobiography My name is Daphne Fairfax was widely admired and in 2019 published 100 things I meant to tell you. He also did an ad for Yakult once.

Tom Hodgkinson is editor of the Idler and author of the best-selling manuals, How to be Idle and How to be Free. Other books include a book on smallholding called Brave Old World, a book on parenting, the Ukulele Handbook and, most recently, a manual for creative entrepreneurs, Business for Bohemians.

Dr Mark Vernon is a psychotherapist, writer, broadcaster and teacher. He presents several Idler Academy online courses. He has a PhD in philosophy, and degrees in theology and physics. His most recent books include – The Idler Guide To Ancient Philosophy (Idler Books), Love: All That Matters (Hodder) and Jung: How To Believe (Guardian Shorts) – and he has books on friendship, belief and the good life too. Mark can often be heard on Moral Maze. He began his professional life as a priest in the Church of England. For more visit, www.markvernon.com

Testimonials from A Drink with the Idler

Thanks very much, it was fun and a lovely change in these strange times of isolation!

That was great, thank you so much and now looking forward to next week !! Wonderful to have this in my empty social diary !!!  

Absolutely fascinating talk with John Lloyd this evening, he was so interesting and open. An honesty that was unexpected but very welcomed by me. I loved it all. Thank you so much, I look forward to this hour every week I can’t tell you how much. 

Loving The Academy! It’s the closest thing I’ll ever have to Summerhill! 

LOVING the Zooms, what a great way to interact, please keep this going.

Such a great drinks party last night! 

The discussion, your fabulous backdrop, the sound, the guests – everything was spot on and we loved it! It flowed well, was really interesting and was a real highlight of the week.

Another lovely Zoom drinks with you all! So pleased you have streamed it as I have told my children and they will watch and hopefully join too! Keep well and thanks again for this great opportunity to join in and enjoy the chat.

Just wanted to thank you yet again for another fascinating and enjoyable Thursday night drink. These are rapidly turning into the absolute high point of my week. 

There’s something very effective about running an event like this via Zoom. This may sound odd, but it all feels very intimate and immediate, possibly more so than were all 200 of us there in person. To me, it became especially evident when the conversation veered off into a one to one chat between John Lloyd and the ‘audience’ member. In other circumstances this probably wouldn’t have happened and, if it had, it probably wouldn’t have worked. Last Thursday evening I walked out of my shed (where I watched it) feeling mentally refreshed, inspired and intellectually satisfied! 

Eternal thanks for presenting us with a cheerier path. 

I just want to say how very much I look forward to the Idler drink each week. All your guests are so interesting and funny and completely hit the spot for me on so many levels. I sit hiding in our bedroom, the only quiet place in the house, with red wine, and pad and pen to quickly scribble down bits and bobs that I’d like to look up afterwards. I feel cheered and relaxed after and ready to continue homeschooling my 2 bairns the next day free from worries of not earning a bean and partner being a London copper, even just for a few hours at least. 

Since joining you for a drink, I’ve also subscribed to a history course and the magazine, in all its shiny glory, which I also indulgently read with a tea and a Crunchie, being the best Idler I can be and savouring each page and honeycombed bite. 

Really enjoyed it – thank you so much!

Thank you that was great! Really personal and interesting. 

Thanks so much and for another fun hour to look forward to especially during this lockdown episode of our lives!

Another fabulous session at the Idler bar, lively discussion and thoughtful insights 🙂 It continues to be brilliant with such a great breadth of topics.

Amazingly uplifting real inspiring chat! 

Another great evening.

Another wonderful drinks with the Idler. Thank you all so much! It’s definitely a highlight of my lockdown week! I appreciate all the effort that must go into making it actually happen. Inga

Thanks for another fantastic evening. Murray Lachlan Young was brilliant and Mark Vernon’s philosophy on the current state of affairs was inspirational. Dream team.

I have been enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of these ‘drinks’.

Loving my Lockdown Thursdays – it’s the start of my weekend,  I work part-time Tuesday to Thursday. Get home, get a drink and join everyone.

Event Details

Date: Thursday 8 July

Time: 6pm-7pm

Location: Online via Zoom link

Cost: £5. Free for Idler subscribers. SUBSCRIBE NOW

How to join: Register by clicking the ‘GET TICKETS’ button above


When you register, you can choose a Standard Ticket (£5), or a Free Ticket if you are an Idler subscriber. You can also add a donation if you wish. The ticket income will support our beautiful, fun and fascinating magazine and enable us to keep producing weekly Drinks with brilliant speakers.

After buying your ticket you’ll receive instructions from Eventbrite. They will ask you to sign back into Eventbrite in order to reach our ‘Online Event Page’.  This is where you can join the event on the night. We shall not be sending out links directly so please leave yourself time on the night to get to the Online Event Page.

Latecomers may not be given access.

You can catch up on previous iterations of ‘A Drink with the Idler’ on Idler TV on YouTube, including interviews with Hayley Atwell, Armando Iannucci, Sally Phillips, David Graeber and many more.