The Idler Magazine

A Dreadful Mistake

From Mr Clinton Morgan, May 2010.

Posted in Readers' Letters on 24 October 2010

Dear Sir,

Because I was successful at giving up my vice of drinking copious amounts of milk for Lent, I took it upon myself to give up idleness this year. Until Easter I would throw myself into doing stuff, whatever it was. I only stopped for lunch and finished at five o’clock. I even avoided the lie-in by walking my brother’s dog once the sun was up. Silly bugger, Not only that I did not take Sunday as a day to sleep until noon and watch Monte Carlo or Bust whilst digesting a roast dinner. Unlike my attempt to eschew bovine lactation I was not successful Thank goodness. I only lasted ten days when one day my body rebelled and I could not get out of bed. Keep the good fight against being busy Tom, it is an unnatural way to live. Busy doesn’t work. Plus there were occasions during those ten days where I felt more of a desire to do something in the evening than during the day. Now I’m back at my slow motion (or the near enough equivalent) pace which is ten times faster than the pace of the new busy.

The appealing thing about both thrift and investment is that they involve creative thinking. Latterwise you could go for gold, silver, wine or antique books. Perhaps buy a first edition of a brand new book and watch it increase in value (especially if it becomes rare) but remember to respect the tome by reading it first. On the matter of the most superior man made technology I recommend a sojourn to Jonkers Books in Henley-on-Thames. It’s best to know what you want (I suggest browsing on their website) but the service you get there is impeccable. You really get the feeling of being treated right royally. A book I recommend for you to read is Jeremy Mercer’s Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs. This is about the famous Parisian bookshop called Shakespeare and Company where you can stay indefinitely rent-free, providing you work there and read a book a night. You learn about George Whitman’s frugality and disregard for money. Bank notes shoved between the tomes coupled with his annoyance if you spent an extra centime on cheese. This is in pre-Euro France. If you need a book for summer I’d recommend that plus Willy Rusell’s The Wrong Bay.

I am very much enjoying thrift. Because I work part time in M&Co department store I end up with a lot of white card after unpacking. Instead of discarding them I bring them home and with my paints I make home made greeting cards for family and friends. It’s fun being a one man factory with C90 tapes for company and a home made card is truly appreciated. I wish I did it earlier. Clinton Cards is far too extortionate. I also plan to paint a home made snakes and ladders board for when my brother’s children come to visit. I might go the collage route and stick in photographs of real ladders and real snakes. The DIY ethic is very liberating and confidence boosting.
Now I’ve just written about creative activities that I have done that involve saving money. However I have had a stroke of luck in terms of making a bit of money. On a whim I went into shops and pubs and cafes with a printout of some of my paintings. One local hairdresser wanted to buy one and was surprised when I said she could have it for a fiver. She gave me ten pounds for my cartoon portrayal of fat nudes on a bouncy castle. I was surprised that I was offered money for a painting. My intention was and is to get my work exhibited in some way. I hope you don’t take offence in my adding some examples of my work in this letter. As for my writing you can see examples at when you type in my name. What they consider to be my best work are the cherry picked ones. I can only apologies for them being on computer.

Before I go I must add I think your Idler’s Academy of Husbandry and Philosophy is a great idea. I hope that one day you will bring it to my village. Either at Sonning Common Village Hall or even Gallavstree Common Village Hall .Maybe at one of our local pubs or better still at the Herb Farm.

Mr Clinton Morgan, Oxfordshire.

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