Tom Hodgkinson

Books Reviews Tom Hodgkinson
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Tom Hodgkinson

A patchy panacea

Self-help guide. Anarchist diatribe. Existential argument for playing the ukulele.

British author Tom Hodgkinson’s cheeky polemic doesn’t perfectly whack every mole that pops up, but it’s a bracing read from a self-styled “idler” that will appeal to punks, Libertarians, freegans and its true beneficiaries: middle-class cubicle slaves who think there must be more to life than buying plastic with plastic.

Our malaise is both personal and societal, says Hodgkinson. For today’s Western urban worker, government and guilt work in tandem to keep you in debt and anxious: “The consumer age offers many comforts but few freedoms.” His point is well taken, although the history he uses to bolster it is selective. On medieval life: “Everyday life back then was about being creative and doing lots of different things.” For the lucky troubador, maybe. For the illiterate swineherd, not so much.

Hodgkinson’s prescription pad for these ails overfloweth: Want less, bake bread, stop voting, fling open your doors, throw away your TV. It’s a cri de coeur for those who long to hit the barricades, but only if they can stop for a beer first.