I received an email from Tom Hodgkinson the other day. 'Dear Tom Hodgkinson', it began, before going on to make a polite request that I didn't write any more articles under the name 'Tom Hodgkinson', and signing off with the words, 'Yours etc, Tom Hodgkinson'. I had just written a piece in The Guardian about a marathon I'd done, which had been accompanied by various (posed) photographs of me in tight shorts, and infused generally with a spirit of neo-Fascistic body-worship. My namesake, who also writes for The Guardian, was protecting his reputation.
Editor for the last ten years of The Idler (a biannual magazine devoted to 'alternative ways of living'), Tom Hodgkinson is not interested in exercise, preferring instead the pleasures of loafing, shirking, and skiving. He's a scrimshanker, in other words, and How To Be Idle is his manifesto. Arranged in