THE Idler magazine, a bi-monthly lifestyle title championing the more relaxed pursuits in life – that includes anything from bee-keeping to dub reggae to running a micro-brewery – is becoming something of a success.

From humble beginnings, it now has 3,000 subscribers, a growing list of online courses. But it’s a success story over 25 years in the making and at this Festival event the magazine’s affable editor Tom Hodgkinson details the ups and downs of his “journey”.

In an engaging discussion, hosted by Festival producer Alice O’Keeffe, Hodgkinson doesn’t gloss over the stresses and strains of running a small business. Indeed, the tough times and “disasters” are highlighted, from the years of making a loss, to falling out with investors, to the irony of trying to manage idle, weed-smoking staff.

Hodgkinson’s book, Business For Bohemians, aims to be a practical guide for turning your creative ideas into a sustainable way of living, and he does give the audience some good tips on mailing lists, book-keeping and actually making a profit. Running the business with his wife, he also discusses the pros and cons of working with a partner – “It’s a really terrible idea,” he states, tongue only slightly in cheek.

So making a business out of taking it easy may not be such a contradiction – Hodgkinson claims he will still often rise at midday. But the sweat, graft and endeavour he’s put into ‘idling’ is evident.

Theo Hooper