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Listen here to Tom Hodgkinson on 30 Years of The Idler and How to Be Idle


When Tom Hodgkinson gathered the energy to found The Idler in 1993, reviving a magazine that had been edited a century earlier by Jerome K Jerome, his friends were sceptical. “Toby Young said it would never come out,” Hodgkinson told the Oldie literary lunch, gleefully pointing out that, unlike Young’s own magazine, Modern Review, which folded in four years, The Idler was still going 30 years on and had just turned its first annual profit. “It took The Spectator 167 years to make a profit,” he claimed. But Young is a reliably poor forecaster, it seems. “He also told me that ‘this internet fad’ would be the CB radio of the Nineties,” Hodgkinson said.