Tag Archives: exercise

Bear traps in the fruit and veg aisle

On a daily basis the eerie silence of London amidst my morning commute is torn asunder by the bipedantical clamour of nauseating fun-running clods of decaying human meat. The bastards are ripe for the picking along Victoria Embankment on any given weekday, fetch me the blunderbuss. It seriously makes me question my choices in life that I too should be caught up amongst these smug, sweaty, cheek-puffing jizz-rags at such an inhumane hour of the day, but such is the power of money. Hast thou found me mine enemy?

So shivering and trying to hold in that liquid shit that I didn’t have time to release before boarding the bus, I’m confronted with masses of fluorescent Lycra-clad health freaks stampeding along the path like a demented city-wide power ranger appreciation party. Some trundle along with their arms limply hanging in front of them like the useless extremities of a Tyrannosaurus while others pound the ground as if they’re wearing motion capture suits for the next Terminator film. Either way they have no concept of life outside of their skid-marked spandex and probably hold me in lower regard than they do road sweepers or the average amoeba. Quite rightly too, I’m just as insignificant as you or anyone else. We’re all just particles of shit floating about the great ass of the universe with no purpose, no reason and certainly no need to look good whilst we decay, nor any great need to run anywhere.

The point is, I recognise this and accept it. Those skin-tight sprinting dunderheads are deluded, not to mention obnoxious and painful to look at. They think they can outrun death?

“Oh, but it’s healthy and good for you,” fuckitty great! So you’ll live longer and continue to haunt these pavements for an even greater span of time? You’ll continue to leech off the Earth’s resources for longer, go about rotting minds with your health-conscious ‘values’ and eventually spew out your own bastard recreations of yourself with a fistful of ejaculate so the whole cycle of arrogant fuckwits can continue well into the end of days? Just think about it, these people probably have functioning genitals. Terrifying prospect, the bastards might yet win this war unless we plant bear traps in the fruit and veg aisle at Waitrose.

The most redeeming feature of our species is that we die. Think of the horror that would ensue if we lived forever – we’d never stop making adverts and given current trends they’d probably become more insultingly idiotic as we went along. Nope, the responsible thing to do is accept that you a worthless clump of matter and will one day be buried alongside other inconsequential heaps of ex-meat in the great process of desiccation that we call life. I’ll go one further: the responsible thing to do would be for all of us to die now and be done with it. We’d solve a lot of our problems that way I think. Plus the smug, panting grin of the fun runner would turn to pained anguish as they realise they’d wasted their lives going nowhere; literally nowhere, just back and forth up and down streets for no good reason.

Folks could argue that spending 8 hours a day sat at a desk, followed by 1-2 hours being herded like cattle to sit about on public transport before slumping out in front of a TV and then sleeping in order to be able to repeat the process 5 days a week, 50 weeks of the year for 49 years of existence requires some form of activity in order to survive longer. Admittedly this is true; a sedate life needs meaning, but spending every waking moment in gym shorts, sweating and feeding your own vanity isn’t much of an ideal.

These people poncing about on pavements, pontificating about press-ups and endlessly counting calories as though they were tumours are missing the point of life – that there is none and achieving the peak of physical fitness comes at the cost of your life. Work harder, eat better, sleep well, exercise regularly so you can work for longer and die having achieved nothing seeing as how that beautifully sculpted body will invariably rot away under the ground after a life of menial toil, all of which is tinged with the loathsome loss of any real fulfilment as you shuffle back and forth over and over allowing life to become one long montage of Rocky training clips interspersed with the odd scene out of Fight Club where Eddie Norton sits glumly at his desk.

Between this, the staff memos and warnings surrounding the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, idiotic comments overheard about Instagram (“Oh yeah, follow Ella, she’s a great photo liker!”) and my own bumbling ineptitude leading to me being declined by two payday loan companies has led to me wonder; where the bloody hell-fuck is all the sanity of this world? Once we were inventing wheels, now we’re running around in them, taking photos of ourselves on them and adding filters to make it look as though we’re glistening in a sepia tone sunset like an oily sod of faecal matter that’s been made over by Gok Wan and then deep fried.

Or maybe we’re just sticking our genitals in all the wrong places. If the experimental eroticism inspired by Fifty Shades of Dullard plays out then perhaps there’ll be fewer people with reproductive capabilities or personal liberties and we may be spared the nightmarish reality of living through the same shit again but with younger, fatter versions of the twats that already pollute our pavements.

So if you’re thinking of jogging, hire me and I’ll chase you with a harpoon gun giving you something to really run about and then we’ll see how effective those early morning training sessions have been. Until then silence your broccoli hole and do something meaningful with your life you arrogant shambling carcasses. Pour me a drink.

The cormorant

At lunchtime today I went to sit by the Thames. I sat on a bench a little way west of HMS President for about 15 minutes, during which time I completed as much work of importance as I had all morning in my valueless non-job.

As I sat there I noticed a bird, standing on a large post protruding from the water. Its wings were unfurled as it dried itself in the faint sunlight emerging between cracks in the impressive clouds overhead. I know a little of birds from a few years as a youthful twitcher, half a life ago. It was a cormorant.

These can be angry beasts, but they’re uncommon enough to make them a pleasant sight during a lunch break away from desks, computers, meetings and people using words like ‘solutionise’. As I stared at the cormorant, at those fearsome clouds, at London, at the river, and considered life, one question struck me above all others.

What the fuck are all these people jogging for?

Hundreds of them, heading in both directions, most of them past their prime already. Where they’re going I have no idea and how they’ll deal with reeking like a turd rolled in Camembert when they get there is anyone’s guess.

The cormorant wasn’t fat, and didn’t seem overly concerned about flapping its wings to stay slender. It also didn’t seem to care much about eking out the very longest period of years it could before it became the sort of mess that even rats turn their noses up at as the corpse washes ashore at Rotherhithe. In all, the cormorant seemed perfectly happy with its place in the Milky Way.

Nobody could accuse me of being happy, I’ll grant you, but as the days tick by it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is all there is and moaning about it isn’t helping. I even said to someone the other day, “If I was really likely to top myself I probably would have done it by now”, which may or may not be true but speaks to a slight relaxation of the existential angst in my mind, if not the underlying rage-laden desolation.

As we’re all well aware, there are constant stories in the press about how walking 20 minutes a day makes you immortal one week and fucks your knees up the next. Today’s is: ‘Having heartburn for three weeks or more could be a sign of cancer’. I don’t know a man alive who doesn’t get heartburn regularly. I chew through Rennies like a six year old overdosing on Fruit Pastilles.

Until around a year ago I was a semi-regular visitor to the gym. I hated it more than bile could express but I went in the faint belief I was holding back the inevitable tide of fat-bastardry. It didn’t work; I was slowly rolying anyway. And since I stopped, I neither feel nor look measurably worse. Just older.

Because old is coming, regardless of how much you sprint past Cleopatra’s Needle at 1.15pm every day, head bobbing like a drunk on the tube home, clad in your tightest shorts so I can see every bulge of your astounding balls, though given your horrific sweaty face and pollution-matted barnet you could just be an ugly woman and those could be flaps for all I know.

What you hope to gain from your lunchtime exertions is between yourself and the last nurse who asked you to cough while she cupped. Perhaps you’re hoping to spend extra time with your children in later life. There’s nothing your children will thank you for more than you spending your healthier days in an office, then running, then back in an office, then too tired to function when you get home, before slowly succumbing to dementia and decay so horrifically your grandchildren’s nightmares become populated by slowly necrotising old codgers holding out their arthritic digits to scratch at their skulls with yellowing nails.

On my way back from the impromptu London marathon taking pace by the river, I walked past a man sitting cross-legged in Milford Lane. Sound asleep, glittering gold can of Special Brew by his side. Can you joggers honestly tell me you’ve a better life than him? You get back to your already humid office, sweating like Paul Merson in Ladbrokes, as he wakes up fit as a spring lamb, ready to take on all-comers just as soon as he can find the next course of his breakfast/lunch/dinner of champions. He might well be dead within the next 12 months but he’ll know very little about it once it’s over, just like you. You don’t find many regrets beneath the graveyard grass.

Because the cross-legged jakey is the cormorant. He doesn’t care, there’s no obvious reason why he should, and he makes more sense to me than an entire battalion of Lunchtime Linfords. I’d be more likely to share his dazzling chariot to oblivion than your never-ending race for deathlessness if I didn’t know he’d sooner jump up and down on my throat than let me share his tramp juice.

Perhaps he’s dead already. When I looked back along the river, the cormorant had gone. Run all you like; just be in no doubt where you’re running to.

Eat some more turkey

Around this time of year, one of the most common phrases is “New year, new start”. You see it everywhere. On social networking websites, in general conversation, not to mention every five fucking seconds on the shitty soaps people insist on watching from morning to night every day of the festive period. What people don’t seem to understand, though, is that they say the same thing every single year – and they never actually manage to achieve any of the things they put on the list. In fact, the only thing they do is waste the time they spent writing the list in the first place.

And seriously, why make New Year your start date in the first place? This is no joke – I’ve heard people talking about things they want to achieve, in August, only to say “oh it’s okay, I’ll put it as my New Year’s resolution next year”. They could have achieved it several times over in the time between saying it and New Year, and by the time New Year actually comes, chances are they’ll have forgotten about it anyway.

And why do people think that waking up on that particular morning is any different to waking up on any other morning? In fact, if anything, it’s worse. Who wants to start a new fitness regime when they have the world’s worst hangover? Or when they’ve spent the past fortnight eating so much they can hardly move? Suddenly, running ten miles six days a week doesn’t seem quite such a good idea.

The one thing that really annoys me, though, is when people waste money on resolutions that they’re never going to keep. By this, I mean like joining the fucking gym. Sure, they can be great value for money. Where I live, it only costs £10 a month for gym and pool memberships – but that means nothing if you’re never going to use the sodding thing. And some people pay much more than me! Great, you’ll go every day for a week. That’s highly commendable (and don’t forget to post those workouts on Facebook, whatever you do! But trust me, that’s another rant for another day) but what about after that? What about after the first week, when you remember how warm your bed is, and just how cold it is to walk to the gym?

Even worse are the people who drive to the gym, and then spend an hour walking on the treadmill. If this is you, well done. Not only are you wasting money on your gym membership in the first place, but you’re also wasting fuel and time – when you could have just opened your front door and gone for a fucking walk for free. Honestly, nobody will charge you for walking around where you live! It’s amazing. That way, when you decide to give it up, you’re not stuck in a 12 month membership that you’re going to resent paying for the rest of the year – only to keep signed up the following year because you’re motivated again and have decided that “this year is the one”.

Basically, you need to face the truth. If you’re going to stop smoking, you’ll be able to do it at any time of year. Don’t do it when you’re likely to be tired, broke and hungover from Christmas. It’s clearly never going to work. If you want to get fit, get fucking fit when you decide to. Honestly, exercise is much more fun in the summer anyway. Who wants to start running outside in January? Nobody. If you’re going to lose weight, lose weight. It’s not rocket science; nor is it something you can do for a few weeks and then just magically be thin forever.

Waking up on the morning of January 1st (or, if we’re being realistic, probably the afternoon, or even evening) is no different to waking up on any other day. You can go for a run – but you can do that any time. Writing a list of what you’re going to do is just setting yourself up for failure, and wasting the time you could have spent doing the things on the list, so just do them. Wake up, and learn that if you can’t do something one day, you’re not going to be able to do it just because you’ve unwrapped a new calendar.

When you’ve actually changed your life, feel free to brag (keep it quick, please) but until then, shut the fuck up and eat some more turkey.

A little extra timber

About an hour ago a tune I love came on the radio. Unable to resist its fiendish melody and beat I started jumping up and down on the spot, something I don’t tend to do at my level of cynicism.

There are people I know who make a healthy living out of telling me I am not, and I am not getting, fat. I would dearly love to be able to explain the sensation to them of feeling as though the entire front of your body is made of tits, and not just the actual tits which probably shouldn’t be that size on a bloke. It feels like the momentous movement of tectonic plates made of fat being slowly but aggressively shifted back and forth across the body of a thin person I haven’t seen for fucking years.

I have scales in my flat and they tell me, depending on whether it’s before or after I’ve made a male disaster of the bathroom to drown out Thought For The Day, that I weigh one or other side of 15 and a half stone. This, for a man of precisely six foot tall, is on the boundary of overweight and genuine fat bastard and is the heaviest I have ever been.

When my calf muscle popped like a child’s balloon a few months ago I was in reasonable shape, playing squash a couple of times a week and going to the gym whenever I could bear it. Since my leg no longer lets me spank a ball around a little box, something I actually enjoy, I’m now utterly demotivated from hauling weights back and forth while a shirtless fuckwit groans and moans at himself raising a gigantic dumbbell and staring in the mirror at his pulsating muscles – one in particular it looks like he plans to haul back and forth the moment he gets home.

The mirror in my flat doesn’t lie. If I try to breathe in any more when I look at myself I’m going to force my belly button through my pancreas. And yet when I tried to explain this to a mate I’ve not seen for months the other night, he said “Really? I’ve seen you look bigger.”

Because that, people think, is what I want to hear. I’m not telling you how disgraceful I’m slowly allowing my body to become because I want you to assure me it’s not true – I’m telling you for the very specific reason that I want you to tell me you’ve not seen bloating like that since that whale washed up on a beach a while back and everyone thought it was going to explode.

I’m not a complete ignoramus; I know the primary cause is my diet of beer and kebabs. It’s not the cause of this I need help with, it’s the motivation to do something about it. If you tell me to drink less or stop moaning, I’ll put you straight to the head of the list of people who will soon require a blindfold and a chaplain. But even those people are helping more than the ones who tell me I’m not fat when the jeans are beginning to hurt like sodomy at the number waist I’ve had for about two decades.

And yes, I’m also aware that there are people with far bigger weight issues than me. I personally know plenty, and they don’t seem to give a shit. But I spent as much time as anyone as a skinny schoolboy winding up the fat kids and if there’s one thing I’m not it’s the type of hypocrite to bemoan the state of morals in Britain and fuck my sister-in-law on the same day. It helps that you wouldn’t, but that’s beside the point.

I will have to sort this out one way or another. I could happily give up food but the hangovers are already bad enough to make the simplest tasks akin to scaling Kilimanjaro dressed like Scooby Doo. I could do more exercise, but ball games won’t work until the leg does, and there’s little that makes me more aware of the pointlessness of my life than the fucking gym. I could have some quack suck the fat out of me or fit one of those inner devices that squeezes your guts tight but it strikes me as the Devil’s work, and in any case I don’t have the money because I spend it all on drink.

But if I am to have any hope of stopping the slide into cake-based oblivion I need people to stop ignoring the issue themselves. I am going on holiday with friends in a couple of months and there will be toplessness involved, and if my massive white frame doesn’t dazzle a few of them into a stream of abuse at my expense I will be drowning them individually in the hotel pool. At least that would be exercise I suppose.

I know it could be worse and that there’s a degree of vanity involved in caring about this at all. I know I don’t look like Barry Austin quite yet. I know carrying a little extra timber about isn’t at the top of the list of the world’s problems right now. But halting the descent into self-inflicted, insulin-based chaos isn’t going to be made any fucking easier by you telling me that everything’s fine.

A nice-looking mountain bike

I passed the guy while I was walking into town with my dogs. He was posed in the middle of the pavement, one hand casually holding a nice-looking mountain bike by the handlebars. I live out in the sticks, there’s never a copper around to enforce things like ‘no bikes on pavements’, even if the Boys in Blue were inclined to bother about the kind of laws that politicians make on the fucking hoof, after one too many people write whiny letters to the papers.

In his other hand he was loosely waving a slowly-smouldering cigarette.

A fucking cigarette? When you’re busy showing off your health-and-environment credentials with that bike?

Now, I’ll ‘fess up: I don’t smoke. But before you get all judgemental on me, I used to. And I know damn well that I wouldn’t have a hope in hell of managing my three dogs (two Staffie/Collie crosses and an Anglo Wulfdog pup), whom I usually walk together, if the smoking habit were still with me.

Handling powerful-breed dogs requires lung capacity. Cycling requires even more fucking lung capacity. Smoking reduces lung capacity. Are you seeing the contradiction yet?

This guy was old, and looked it; the poster-grandad of the anti-smoking lobby. Maybe he remembered that, in the days of his youth, the two things that had marked lads out as “cool” had been having a bike, and smoking, and he thought that currency might still be valid.

Or maybe he was just a wanker, old before his time and, despite his fucking cycling habit, not long for this world.