Dr Matthew Green at the Idler Academy

January 12, 2013
by matthewgreen

At 7pm on Thursday 31st January, Dr Matthew Green will be returning to the Idler Academy in Notting Hill to give an illustrated talk on the lost world of the London coffeehouse. A perfect tie-in for anyone who’s been on the Coffeehouse Tour, the talk has proved a hit at 5 X 15, Port Eliot, Selfridges and on BBC Radio. You can book tickets here.

The Idler Academy is a sanctuary of leisurely learning. As its headmaster Tom Hodgkinson is fond of pointing out, citizens in ancient Greece spent much of their free time immersed in intellectual pursuits. Hence the Greek word ‘schole’ (whence ‘school’) originally meant leisure.

But today most of us are wage slaves with precious little time to cultivate the mind and education has been institutionalised in ‘schools’ in the modern sense.

Cue the Idler Academy. With its philosophical lectures, communal wooden tables, Dr Johnson’s complete works, and its own fiery grammarian, it’s perhaps the closest thing on earth to a Georgian coffeehouse. But visitors should note that unlike at the Grecian or the Chapter Coffeehouse smoking and dolphin dissection are not currently permitted at the Idler.

Nonetheless, the Idler echoes the lost world of caffeine-fulled conviviality, intellectual exchange, and spirited debate that Dr Green will bring to life in his talk. Includes free shots of black and gritty coffee, prepared in the 17th-century style, and a glass of red wine.

Libertas per cultum! 

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