An Escapologist’s Diary. Part 31.

Each installment of this diary is an addition to the ball of data serving as an answer to the pesky question, “What would I do all day if I didn’t go to work?”

I have chosen not to go to work anymore. That is, I no longer consent to being an employee. Instead, I fill my days with projects, capers, and a deep commitment to idling.

Here’s a quick review of my 2011: another full year of such indulgent ducking and diving.

The juiciest fruits of the year were the completion of my first book (due for publication this March); my finally emigrating to Montreal from Glasgow (the fruit of almost three years dicking about with the most amazing Brazil-like bureaucratic system); the launch of New Escapologist Issues 5 and 6 (our best issues to date in my opinion); and a thrilling stint at the Edinburgh Festival.

There were other performance spots, perhaps most notably a part in an amazing performance art event at the Traverse Theatre.

I recorded a bit for a film; and wrote for The Idler and SideStreet Review and Cactus.

With The Wireless Mystery Theatre, I co-presented a music and spoken-word cabaret event at The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh.

With much help from the local zine scene, my girlfriend and I organised a zine fair in a student-occupied university building in Glasgow.

For fun, I visited Bratislava, Budapest, Ljublijana, and Zagreb. Closer to home, I visited Paris, Bristol, Newcastle and London (where we conducted an informal New Escapologist field trip to The Idler Academy).

With my friend Tim, I walked 35 miles of the Lyke Wake Walk and completed another long-distance walk, solo, between Glasgow and Loch Lomond.

With my girlfriend, I travelled to Florida to fulfill her ambition of meeting a penguin.

There was a fair amount of being bone-idle on top of all this, consuming the finest pap that the Web, the public library, and BBC Radio have to offer. Collapsed upon our Montreal Chaise, I gobbled up the following books:

Soderstrom – The Walkable City
King – The Dark Tower
Gladwell – Blink
Dawkins – The God Delusion
Carter – The Magic Toy Shop
Brian Tracy – Eat That Frog!
Dawkins – The Greatest Show on Earth
Shrigley – The Essential Shrigley
Gray – A life in pictures
Calvino – Under the Jaguar Sun
Fry – The Fry Chronicles (Audiobook)
Thompson – Sunshine on Putty
Kurtzweil – Fantastic Voyage
Orwell – The Road to Wigan Pier
Hegley – The Adventures of Monsieur Robinet
Mignola – Hellboy Vol. 1-8 + ‘Abe Sapien’ Parts 1-2
Mignola – The Amazing Screw-On Head
Moor – More Trees to Climb
Randall – Disgusting Bliss: the brass eye of Chris Morris
Bennett – A life like other people’s
Murakami – Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Ronson – The Psychopath Test
Bryson – At Home
Smith – My Name is Daphne Fairfax
Wilkinson & Picket – The Spirit Level: why equality is better for everyone
Pirsig – Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance
Murakami – 1Q84 Books 1 & 2
Baker – Double Fold: libraries and the assault on paper
Momus – The Book of Japans
Vonnegut – Player Piano
Mayer-Schonberger – Delete: The virtues of forgetting in a digital age
Smith – Bone Vol. 1: Out from Boneville
Birmingham – He Died With a Felafel in his Hand
Pantanella – Typographie Inusuelle
Smith – Bone Vol. 2: The Great Cow Race
Morrison – Supergods
Smith – Bone Vol. 3: Eyes of the Storm
Lanier – Your Are Not a Gadget
Ames – The Double Life is Twice as Good
Gray – Straw Dogs
Partridge – I, Partridge: we need to talk about Alan (Audiobook)
Willingham – Fables Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover
Morrison – Vimanarama
Hitchens – Letters to a Young Contrarian
Willingham – Fables Vol. 14: Witches
Meltzer – Identity Crisis
Starrett – Seaports in the moon

And that’s that. It definitely pays not to work. For 2012, I plan to continue in this mode of being, and to embrace these words of Chrisopher Hitchens who died in 2011:

Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the “transcendent” and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disruption for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect them to live for you.

Thank you, dear readers, for following New Escapologist in your various ways through 2011 and into 2012!


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

3 Responses to “An Escapologist’s Diary. Part 31.”

  1. Tom says:

    First of all, impressive reading list! You’ve read more in a year than most people read in a lifetime.

    Secondly, I’m curious as to how you plan on filling time in Montreal. The reason I ask is because I am rather tired of the sterile “feel” of nearby Ottawa and am seeking ideas for a life elsewhere.

  2. It’s just small town versus big town.

    Weirdly enough, I’ve noticed that people in Montreal think that Montreal is a small town but it’s actually the sixth biggest city in North America. I suppose the Montrealer’s perception is altered by the fact that NYC and Toronto are both nearby.

    Living outside of Ottawa is not something I’d do. I rely on the network of public and private facilities (libraries, restaurants, bars, museums, galleries, 24-hour stores, theatres, public transit hubs, most things being within walking distance) offered by a big town. The limitation is probably mine though: a flexible person should be able to adapt to live anywhere, but not having access to these things sends a shiver down my spine.

  3. Tony says:

    You seems to keep VERY busy for being so bone idle 🙂 Wonderful list of books and travels.

Leave a Reply

Latest issues and offers


Issue 14

Our latest issue. Featuring interviews with Caitlin Doughty and the Iceman, with columns by McKinley Valentine, David Cain, Tom Hodgkinson, and Jacob Lund Fisker. 88 pages. £9.


Two-issue Subscription

Get the current and next issue of New Escapologist. 176 pages. £16.

Four-issue Subscription

Get the current and next three issues of New Escapologist. 352 pages. £36.

PDF Archive

Issues 1-13 in PDF format. Over a thousand digital pages to preserve our 2007-2017 archive. 1,160 pages. £25.