Tuesday 25 October 2022

Shirk, Rest and Play by Andrew Grumbridge & Vincent Raison BLOG TOUR #ShirkRestandPlay #UltimateSlackersBible @deserterblog @unbounders @RandomTTours #BookExtract


Have you forgotten how to relax and enjoy yourself? Do you run around in circles mistaking dizziness for happiness? Your troubles are over, for you hold in your hands the means to take control of your destiny, to turn your back on obligation and conformity, or at least hide from them in the toilets for a bit.

Shirk, Rest and Play is a comprehensive illustrated handbook for wannabe drop-outs, dreamers, drifters and gadabouts. Authors Andrew Grumbridge and Vincent Raison – along with their panoply of wastrel acquaintances – offer ruminations about finding beauty in the ordinary, lessons in tactical slacking and detailed advice on how to get more out of life by doing less.

They cover all aspects of modern existence, moving smartly through Childhood, Work, Leisure, Home, Money, Health and Beauty and, of course, Death, where even amid the tears and sadness, you can still find plates of mini-burgers.

This book is the call to arms you’ve been waiting for, giving you all the tips, shortcuts and (de)motivation you need to duck out of the system and live life on your own terms.

Shirk, Rest and Play : The Ultimate Slacker's Bible by Andrew Grumbridge and Vince Raison was published by Unbound on 1 September 2022.

As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 

Extract from Shirk, Rest and Play

We come into this world not an entirely blank slate. We have certain predispositions: some inherited, some unique to us. We are not, however, born with an inclination for form filling, housework or business attire. Such things are foisted upon us by a society that has forgotten how to have fun, that has mislaid the meaning of existence: to mess about. One minute we’re eating crayons or digging up worms without a care in the world, the next we’re setting alarm clocks, comparing insurance premiums and calculating square footage. It not only sounds wrong, it is wrong.

How does it happen? Why does it happen? We blame a society with its focus not on happiness, but on such mundanities as productivity, career and material acquisition, all presented, ironically, as the means to happiness. Do you mind? we need to be ready to assert, when we feel under pressure to conform, I am trying to look for some worms here.

As a reminder to cling to as much of it as possible, let’s consider what happens to us in childhood and hear about the early days of some of our esteemed influencers.


None of us ask to be born. Our first act is usually a cry of protest at having been forced to do so. We were quite happy where we were, thank you very much. In the warm, in the dark, nutrients on tap. There’s no one to tell you to tidy your womb and for giggles you can always give the old placenta a kick. But out we come, into the cold and the light, and if we don’t wail at that, we get a smack on our tiny, newly exposed rear.

‘Speak for yourself,’ said Half-life. ‘I gave the doctor a right-hander straight away. Didn’t like the look of him.’ Pre-emptive action has been a hallmark of the big man ever since.

Early Years

Early childhood is a bit like being rolling drunk: everyone remembers what you did except you. We may remember little, but we take on board an incredible amount of vital information, including how to get around, how to communicate and which parent is the softest touch for biscuits. We eat, we sleep and – if we’re lucky – get doted on by spellbound parents.

It is truly a golden era for slackers. We have no respon- sibility and we also get to be as demanding and annoying as we want. It’s no coincidence that when we are at our most helpless, we are also at our most adorable. No one in their right mind would deliver the level of care babies and toddlers need – not to mention put up with Teletubbies – without a profound love to see them through.

In addition, little ones are able to take great pleasure in small or everyday things: pebbles, leaves, dead birds, etc. And it is to this childlike state we should aspire when, for instance, we find a discarded armchair overlooking the A205. Should we tut and bemoan the fact that the correct procedures for outsized waste disposal have been ignored? Or should our eyes light up at the prospect of a good sit-down by a busy road? The choice is ours.

Aside from imitating parents and siblings, children learn through play, a method we tend to lose sight of by the time we’re perfecting our CVs. By all means give up the dummy, nappies and teddy bears, but don’t give up curiosity, playfulness or poking your brother with a stick. How else will you learn? How else will he learn?

‘Play is the work of childhood,’ said the eminent psychologist Jean Piaget. It is our contention that it should be the work of adulthood, too. As the great American cartoonist Berkeley Breathed put it, ‘It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.’

Andrew Grumbidge and Vincent Raison founded the lifestyle blog Deserter in 2014 to pass on their
learnings so that future generations could avoid the evils of hard work, ambition and sobriety. Nevertheless, the blog led to the acclaimed alt-travel book Today South London, Tomorrow South London (Unbound, 2018), an Evening Standard comedy book of the year.

Their Deserter Pubcast has been lauded as an ‘essential’ listen by both the Sunday Times and Esquire. 

Both authors live in south London. 

deserter.co.uk / @deserterblog

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