Monthly Archives: March 2011

Gyms and Sports Clubs: Working them out

Gyms by Tom NashI played Squash the other week. Other than walking places and an annual game of football, it was probably the first formal exercise I’ve partaken in since… A long time. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am pleased to report that I did not throw up or pass out even once.

While I was only there an hour, I met plenty of interesting people and I was also reminded of the brief period of time that I was a member of a gym, as the people I met in the sports club were exactly the same.

So who do you find at gyms, leisure centres and sports clubs? Without further ado, let’s get generalising:

The ‘professional’
Usually a shit one as they are supplementing their income by offering coaching services at a sports club in [your hometown]. Eternally sweatsuit-clad (personalised if they’re really delusional) they watch you playing (or working out) for a while before interrupting with handy tips and advice on how you are doing everything wrong. They are always quick to mention titles they’ve gained and tournaments they’ve won, as if being county champion is some kind of deal-breaker that will immediately cause you to sign up to one-on-one lessons…

Although they are infinitely less irritating than:

The pimp
Somehow, they always tend to be the person using the court, pitch or equipment before you. They feel it is their duty to interrogate you on your level of skill and advise you of the excellent coaching services the club’s professional offers… Possibly a shareholder.

The needlessly competitive
They might be using the treadmill, rowing machine or cross-trainer next to you or they could be the person you’re playing against. Whoever they are, they take their exercise VERY seriously. They will always have a faster speed and higher gradient than you on the treadmill, more weight on the rowing machine and give everything they have, whatever sport they are playing, no matter how little experience or skill their opponent possesses.

The boaster
This fella can bench-press a lot of pounds. Good for you, mate. Of course, those numbers mean fuck-all to me, as having been educated in the UK in the 1990s, my mind works in the metric system. To be fair, 110lbs does look ‘more impressive’ than 50kg… I wonder how busy gyms would be if blokes could exercise their cocks bigger…

The naturist
The fella that strides triumphantly around the changing room stark-bollock-naked. Usually middle-aged, very hairy and rapey-eyed.

The imposter
Like Ethan Hawk in Gattaca, this person is intent on denying their lack of fitness. They hide behind bravado and claim to have experience and knowledge of whatever it is they are turning their hand to. Five minutes of sustained activity later, their gasps, wheezes and intense perspiration reveal the truth, although they will always have an excuse ready to excuse their poor performance. This is probably the same person that gets really drunk, throws up and passes out then the next day claims that they ate something that upset their stomach.

More after my next foray into the world of exercise…

Ageing: Signs that time is catching up with you

Ageing by Tom NashDespite what Olay, Loreal and the rest claim in their adverts, there is no cream, treatment or procedure that can halt the inevitable passage of time. You can inject refined disease into your face and have bits ‘tightened’ or sucked out of you but eventually we will all get old and die. How gracefully you go about this process is, of course, a completely different matter.

As you grow older, certain things that were once the punchlines to jokes you told become a reality and all the face-lifts and botox injections in the world can do nothing to stop them.

Things such as:

Ridiculous injuries
If you told the teenage me that in years to come a simple cough could result in serious injury and time off work, I would have told you to fuck off. Some of the younger folk reading this are probably thinking exactly that right now. But, alas young bendy people, it is true. As you grow older, a mis-timed sneeze, cough or sudden movement has the potential to cripple you for weeks through torn muscles, slipped discs, trapped nerves and all sorts of other delightful ailments.

You don’t even need to exert yourself in any way; you can also injure yourself sleeping. Yep, the world is a cruel, cruel place.

Gruesome hangovers
Once upon a time, it was not unheard of for me to go out on the piss, get up the next day, go to work and then get back on the piss again. This would be repeated most days of each week. The mere thought of doing that now makes me feel a bit sick.

Nowadays, I pretty much have to clear my schedule for the next day if I want to get shit-faced, which I will admit, is rather depressing… But once you hit your mid-twenties, it is viable to expect a two day recovery period for every evening of heavy drinking you partake in.

Want proof? Check your Facebook newsfeed on a Saturday morning. I bet every person that moans about being hungover in their status update is over twenty-five years old. If you don’t have any friends that are over twenty-five, then take heed and make the most of the time you have.

The terms ‘retro’ and ‘old-school’
You want confirmation that you are getting old? Look at the Toy sections of any retail website. Everything on sale that is labelled ‘retro’ is something you have fond memories of from your childhood, right? Almost as horrifying is seeing nightclubs advertising music from the 1990s as ‘Old-Skool’.

Diminishing cultural awareness
When you were in your teens, even if you didn’t get involved, you were still aware of any cultural phenomenons that were occurring around you. You knew what was popular on commercial radio and what was actually popular with people who have taste (yeah, I said it). I remember being very much involved in Drum n Bass music/culture around the turn of the century… Fuck knows what’s going on with it now…

The older you get, the more likely it is that entire cultural movements will pass you by. I bet my old man wouldn’t know what Lady Gaga was if she fell on him. Yes, you will pick up on certain things through cultural osmosis (think back to Biology class- I recall something to do with potatoes) but these days, due to the speed that information is shared globally, by the time you have caught up, that shit will be old hat.

Eastenders picking up on ‘jog-on’ a few years ago is a good example. The term became popular among angry young men via the classic work of cinema ‘Football Factory’ (Danny Dyer’s in it, so it must be good…). By the time the ‘Stenders writers became aware of its existence, the only people in Britain still saying it were your parents.

Got a smartphone? Does it confuse you sometimes? I said, DOES IT CONFUSE YOU SOMETIMES, DEAR?

I think I’ve proven my point.

Concerts: Who’s in the crowd

Concerts by Tom NashUnless you’re one of those weirdos that has no interest in music (freaks), most of us have been to see at least one live musical performance. Whether it was at a massive venue like the O2 or a small club like The Luminaire in Kilburn (RIP), chances are someone below attended:

The die-hard
It’s not hard to spot this lot. At the very least they’ll be decked out in a band tee-shirt. If you’re at a festival they’ll probably have a banner or a fucking flag. If it’s a small gig, they strong-arm their way to the front so the band/artist can see that they know every word to every song. If you’re really unlucky, one will end up behind you and you’ll have no choice but to listen to them ruin your favourite group/band/artist’s entire catalogue with their tone-deaf warbling.

Which in all honesty is preferable to:

The wannabe groupie
They fight the die-hards for the optimum front spot (which is how mosh pits start) and if successful they spend the entire show trying to have eye-sex with the singer or any random band member that glances vaguely in their direction. They also scream. A lot. In fact, if there’s a posse of them, this will occur every time the audience is addressed.

You can break them up by deploying:

The mosher
Sweaty, sexually frustrated boys with bad hair… I gather. I wouldn’t know, you couldn’t get me to a Metal gig if you paid me.

The tall bloke
You notice him as you arrive and think ‘I hope he doesn’t end up in front of me’. Next you find your seats or a decent spot with a good view of the stage. Then the fucker comes and stands directly in front of you. Of course, the big fellas tend to not have been hugged enough as kids so if you ask him to move he’ll throw his toys out of the pram. It’s best to just relocate.

The people that look like your mates
You’ve drunk/sniffed/smoked a bit too much during the course of the evening and make a quick dash to the loo. You then head back to where you think your mates are. Maybe you even spot the back of their heads. You tap one of them on the shoulder to recount the amazing tale of your bathroom trip and that’s when you realise you were standing a little further to the left and a bit closer to the front…

The aspiring artist
Again, I don’t know how this works at other shows, but you always get at least one at a Rap concert. You might be having a smoke outside or simply waiting for the show to start, but chances are someone will approach you and offer to ‘buss some rhymes’ for you. No matter how non-commital your answer, they will. Following their performance they will explain that they plan to give their demo to the artist(s) performing…

Yeah, good luck with that.