Mis Au Placard

We salute Frédéric Desnard who is suing his employer for boring him into stupor.

A Frenchman who claims he was given so little to do at work he suffered “bore out” is taking his case to an employment tribunal on Monday.

Frédéric Desnard says his managerial job at the perfume company, which made him redundant 18 months ago, was so tedious he became exhausted and literally bored out of his mind.

The 44-year-old said his “descent into hell” was similar to a burnout, but less interesting.

A great precedent and, if nothing else, the case has taught us the term mis au placard, meaning “put in the cupboard” or given only menial tasks to do.

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Thumbnails

All of our artists work differently. Some read the article and draw whatever they feel like. Some ask us for quite specific ideas or instructions. Tristan Tolhurst, a friend from Montreal, usually sends a selection of thumbnails from which we choose a favourite.

When you’re useless at drawing like I am, even these doodles are deeply impressive and it feels a shame not to share them any further than Tristan’s bottom drawer. So here are his latest ones.

For the forthcoming Issue 13, Tristan is illustrating Matt Caulfield’s article about Ryōkan, the party monk. You can click to embiggen.

Ryokan-smaller

While we’re at it, here are some old ones from Issue 8 (the Luke Rhinehart interview):

rhinehart 1 smaller

rhinehart2-smaller

And from Issue 5 (my piece about living in a loft):

Above it all smaller

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That Old Chestnut

canoeing

The Chestnut Prospector is the most celebrated canoe in literature, and I have my eye on a blue beauty for sale online. For the past few months I’ve been reading everything I can about canoes. Recently, my search has become more urgent: I turn 40 in a month.

It’s not a midlife crisis – I am not shopping for a sports car or getting a tattoo (yet). My quest for a canoe is more an exploration of what I want the next chapter of my life to be, in the spirit of Henry David Thoreau as he famously set out into the woods to “live deliberately.” Thoreau was 40 when he embarked on the classic trip that inspired his book Canoeing in the Wilderness. He was known to paddle a Chestnut canoe, and once said: “Everyone must believe in something. I believe I’ll go canoeing.”

I was googling Thoreau in lazy preparation for our upcoming “Outliers” issue, Thoreau being a great figurehead of outlying in more ways than one, and this news story from Toronto popped up. I read and enjoyed it. Yes, acquiring a canoe is the Canadian answer for everything, but sometimes it really makes sense!

You can of course read Thoreau’s Canoeing in the Wilderness online for free.

I used to be adventurous, always hiking, camping and enjoying nature. Now I work in an office tower, and in my rare free time I write. Both are sedentary and rather solitary pastimes. I crave movement. In my mind, a canoe is a transcendental vessel offering the desired mix of tranquility and adventure.

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Title Teaser

13teaser

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Apparent Subservience

I’m struggling a bit with Paul Manson’s Postcapitalism but at least it has this:

manson

Not a bad description of a young wage slave, that. Violent resentment is right!

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Issue Three — Free!

Issue Three is the most popular issue of New Escapologist we’ve ever done.

Seven years on, it still sells well. Who knows why?

Maybe it’s for the emphasis on practicalities. Maybe it’s for the very funny piece about skiving at work. Maybe it’s for the lovely interview with Tom Hodgkinson.

Whatever the reason for the issue’s popularity, we’re going to honor its godfather status by giving it away for free on PDF to everyone on the New Escapologist mailing list.

Many will know we ran a similar give-away for Issue Twelve last month. The response was encouraging, so we’re doing this one more (and only one more!) time.

Join the list today and we’ll send out the PDF on August 1st.

★ Buy the brand-new Issue 12 of New Escapologist at the shop; buy our popular digital bundle; or get the Escape Everything! book.

Ich Bin Raus

Can you believe it? There’s going to be a German edition of Escape Everything! called Ich Bin Raus, which means “I’m Out”.

I’m very happy that the life of the book is now longer than I originally imagined.

Here’s a page about the new edition, though it’s probably only useful if you happen to speak German.

It’s entertaining (for me) to see these all-too-familiar pages in translation. Since I only speak English and a little French, these pages should be unreadable but I can still mysteriously read them thanks to intense familiarity with the original.

Look, here’s “Foreword by David Cain” in German! “Vorwort von David Cain”. Cool.

vorwort

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Work, Love, and Couples

The Guardian has a feature in which anonymous people submit letters they don’t have the courage to send. It’s a bit like when an office worker spends Monday afternoon pecking out a scornful email to the boss without actually clicking send, except now there’s an outlet for it.

This example is from a man who exhausts himself as a lawyer while his wife looks after the children at home. He’s bitter about this because he’s shouldering the family’s financial burden alone and can’t see a sign of it stopping:

I don’t think I can do this for another 25 years. I often dream of leaving my firm for a less demanding position, with you making up any financial deficit with a job – even a modest one – of your own. I’ve asked, and sometimes pleaded, for years with you to get a job, any job. Many of my free hours are spent helping with the house and the kids, and I recognise that traditional gender roles are often oppressive, but that cuts both ways.

It’s easy to dismiss this as the sour grapes of privilege (boohoo, the poor man with his social mobility) but when you think of work as a curse, as I do, instead of a gummy medallion, one can sympethise. It’s also a reminder that the benefits of gender equity aren’t exclusively for women but for the whole of society.

If this couple left the traditional breadwinner/homemaker gender roles in the dustbin of history and shared the duties of moneymaking and domestic work, I think the whole family would be a lot happier.

This is about society’s shitty attitude towards women and its exoneration of work. Through these idiot values, we’ve come to look down our noses on housework and parenting as if they weren’t vitally important, and arrived at a labour market where it’s difficult to find rewarding part-time work. The result is a shadow society of unrewarded home-makers and an aboveground society of burned-out husks.

Things are changing but far too slowly.

Funnily enough, my next Idler column (Idler No. 50) is about how cohabiting couples can help each other escape the rat race as a domestic tag team while staying in love.

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But I Left Anyway

From The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by the brilliant Haruki Murakami.

murakami

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Until We Bust

kurt

We do, doodley do, doodley do, doodely do,
What we must, muddily must, muddily must, muddily must;
Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do, muddily do,
Until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.

I’ve always thought was the best poem in the world.

★ Buy the brand-new Issue 12 of New Escapologist at the shop; buy our popular digital bundle; join the mailing list for occasional newsletters and free gifts; or get the Escape Everything! book.

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