Gym’ll Fix it for me

“And me, and me aaaand meee-eee-eeeeee”

Sir Jim’ll Saville

Hello again punters. Which is a terribly Julian Clary opening. So to speak.

I am given to be thinking of J.Clary and his “Sticky Moments” and his “Camping At The Aldwych” and his Hugh Jelly and such a ma like. He appeared of course in that live AIDS benefit show I mentioned some blogs back. Hysteria 3. London Palladium etc. I bumbled my way through his “snatch” as it were (oh give over Asplin…) on YouTube on Friday night as I had my final booze and fags blow out.

Which we might as well use as a kick off to what’s going on now. Which is that it’s 3 minutes to 4pm on Sunday afternoon. The same Sunday afternoon of the previous entry, where I was noshing bacon sandwich (or Vyvyan’s Pet Ferret, as us nerds like to call them) and thinking about gigs.

I did pack up about 2.30, passed a Chinaman on his way to the dentist, and hauled my ass Gymwards. Unpacked denims and satchels and laptops into one of the few un-buckled and un-dented flimsy tin lockers and clambered aboard a rowing machine.

Ooooooh I do like a rowing machine. Don’t know why. I think because it’s “sitting down” which of course is always a plus. But also the little stick man, icon, Keep Britain Tidy silhouette figurine drawn on the peeling stickers that these machines have, does seem to have every part of him “light up” so to speak, as the diagram illustrates the “rowing manoeuvre.” Which implies an “all body” work out. Which I like. Because going off to different machines for every different muscle group is a massive pain in the ass.

So 15 sweaty minutes on that, another 15mins on an inclined treadmill, back on the rower and then back on the treadmill gives me a solid dripping 60mins of light muscle and cardio. Especially with my now patented “do dumbbell weight lifts while on the treadmill” technique which sees me pounding away on a speed walk while lifting and crunching the 3kgs in each hand. Tremendous.

Am not quite through my 2 litres today. Prob about half a litre to go. So, in contravention of all that is fit, I have pulled out the laptop at a little table in the gym and am now trundling away on this machine instead.

I have about 30mins before I can head back and this will work out perfectly with Claire finishing up her course. Splendid.

Being an attention deficitted addle brained twit head, I cannot possibly JUST do exercise. (In the same way I cannot just type this. Somekind of soundtrack is required in the old lugholes).

Exercise MUST be accompanied by some kind of mental stimulant. I like an audio book, I like a podcast, I like a Radio 4 show, I like a bit of Rocky-style gym-pumping brassy orchestra. And today I like Allen Carr’s book on Quitting Smoking.

I smoke too much. And I quit too much too. I know that sounds stupid. But I take on things like tobacco and alcohol with such drive and commitment (lagers, bitters, shots, whiskies, chasers etc) while sporting a silver cigarillo case and a shiny Zippo that I almost give the same level of passion to quitting. If you could buy a silver “non cigarette case” to carry empty all the cigarettes you aren’t going to smoke in, I would have one in my tuxedo at all times.

In other words dear reader, when I smoke I smoke a lot. And when I quit I quit with gusto. Same with booze. All or nothing. No half measures. Why have 3 pints when you can have 6? Why have 2 cigarettes when you can have 20? And so on and so on blah blah excuses excuses. Tedious.

But once in a while (usually with a very good reason. Relationship/health/finance etc) I decide to jack in the weed. And you join me today on one of these kicks. I hope it will be the last kick. And this is the one that proves to be the turnaround. I am confident it will. (No point trying otherwise). But then have been confident EVERY TIME I have binned the Camels and cleared the neon Bics from the kitchen drawers.

Why now?

Well, we said that 6 weeks ago when we started all this. Why now quit smoking? Why now start the Pub Quiz again? Why now embark on a return to Stand-Up? For fucks’s sake, why now to throw myself at a fucking rowing machine? Oh dear reader. Why now?

Well let’s think about it. Honestly.

Firstly, I’m tired and bored. There, I said it. If I thought that my life was nothing more than call-centre training, Friday drinks, a hacking morning-cough, stinky clothes, Netflix, dinners with Claire and feeding the cat…well I don’t know. It’s been that for a while. I mean, I suppose technically it’s been that for years. I’ve tried to mix it up and get “another thing.” My Jeff Goldblum YouTube Animations got me excited for a while. Until I think, I proved I could make them. Thus making “more of them” somewhat a pointless exercise, if my only reason for their creation was showing it was possible.

Picture asking Roger Bannister if – now he’s run the mile in under 4 mins – he fancies doing it again. “Fuck off,” Roger might say. I did it. It’s done. As am I. Next is a 3 minute mile, and that ain’t doable. I’m off for a fag.” Why do it twice?

“Why do it twice?”, is something of my motto in life. And a fucking crap motto it is too. Achieving as it does, single one-off freaky achievements, mostly flukes and luck, that get discarded. This MUST be evidence of a “proof” thing. Doing whatever to “show the world” I can do it. And then, promptly stopping doing it, as the point has been made to whichever ghostly figure I am trying to impress. School friends? Peers? Family? Jesus? Rowan Atkinson? I don’t fucking know.

So if you ever want to be bored poo-less by someone chirping up “er…yeah, I did that once actually…” then invite me over for dinner. I’ll try not to smoke between courses.

So what’s all this navel gazing achieving then? Well I’m still not sure. But I’m finding out. Perhaps it’s an idea that, as I approach my 49th birthday, (49 days and counting – how pleasing) I am facing some kind of Last Chance Saloon. A decade too late one could say…

“At our age? Where you are…you are…” CITY SLICKERS

Ahh Babaloo Mandel and Loel Gantz. What a couple of Jews. An excellent midlife crisis script. But that line has stayed with me for years. And I mean YEARS. I think Darren and I saw City Slickers on VHS at his flat in Kenton back in 1992. We were going through our Billy Crystal/Jeff Goldblum/Northern Exposure period. When Harry Met Sally and Throw Momma From The Train were high points. “Father’s Day” wasn’t. Nor was that piece of crap improv’ shilling he did with Robin Williams in that Friends episode “The One With The Ultimate Fighting Champion.” Christ that’s painful.

But “where you are, you are,” is a depressing maxim. I’ll talk about it more soon. What it means. And what it doesn’t mean. And why it might explain how I come to be typing this on a laptop in a gymnasium with a “self-help” guru on the headphones while I practise stand-up comedy, 49 days before my 49th birthday.

Heigh ho.

Back soon. Burgers and Bond tonight.


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