Other than the occasional anti-religious and anti-capitalist aside, this book was an absolute delight. It seems that a libertine should be, anywhere and everywhere, a lover of freedom. No matter your political or religious views, however, who does not welcome a bit of idleness when able? Only a dilettante.
Two of my favorite quotes:
And dawdling, mucking about or playing at sanctioned times, such as weekends, break and holidays is all right, but the real treat is to be derived from not working while others toil. Knowing that Jenkins is sitting in double maths while you sit in a café with a cup of tea multiplies the pleasure a thousandfold. There is no fun in joining the frisbee-throwing hordes in the park on Saturday. The idler wants to be throwing frisbees while the hordes are suffering. Frisbee-throwing becomes incalculably more delicious under these conditions.
When you are living an idle life, you have no toil to escape from. If your work is your fun, then why go away? The actor Keith Allen first put this idea to me in an interview in the Idler. He said: “Holidays mean nothing to me because I think I’m on holiday all the time.” Similarly, the comedian, writer and broadcaster Arthur Smith, when asked “Do you take holidays?,” replied: “My life is a holiday.” This seems to me to be a wise solution. Even Billy Butlin had similar advice. “The secret of success in life is to enjoy your work . . . Have the confidence to strike out on your own, and start working for yourself as soon as you can.”