As exclusively revealed on GofaDM (well, if I’m honest the more mainstream news outlets didn’t seem terribly interested), I have modified my rigorous fitness regime to have more of a gymnastic bent. This is despite a number of obvious disabilities that make me less than ideal gymnastics-fodder – in particular, my age and height. Sadly, even when both younger and shorter, I was not known for my movement-related grace – in fact, I have generally taken to grace as a duck takes to quantum theory (OK, may be not quite that well, a duck can at least say “quark” – or a pretty good approximation thereto).
I must be something like six weeks into this new regimen and so I felt it was time for some sort of progress report. Despite the unpromising raw material (viz, my middle-aged body) I do seem to be making rather good progress towards quite a range of pretty impressive gymnastic manoeuvers. I don’t think Nadia Komench or Louis Smith have anything to worry about (actually, Nadia may as a web search reveals she is rather older than me) – but the whole project is looking less like an impossible (and, frankly idiotic) dream and rather more like it might actually happen.
I have to say that training to be an elderly gymnast is a lot more enjoyable than the standard weight training or running used by others. It is also seriously hard work, but does rather usefully lead to a degree of obsession and hence regular practise and steady progress. It also tends to avoid the use of heavy weights (other than the author) and so I think is generally less stressful for my joints and is continuing to improve my ability to apply the adjective “lithe” to myself without the need for it to be accompanied by a phalanx of heavy irony. The process has not been entirely injury-free – though on both occasions it was the same part of me (an uninvolved part) that has taken the punishment. As has been mentioned before, I am very gifted in the nasal department in that my nose, not unlike a pier, sticks out half a mile – and on two occasions my hooter has taken a glancing blow. Once from above and once from below as I have failed to take account of its degree of protuberance from the remainder of my face. Still, such contusions can only add to my rakish charm!
Far more pain has been incurred while indulging in apparently far safer activities – mostly in the last 24 hours. I’ve already mentioned my plan to become a virtuoso pianist by following Mr Hanon’s exercises and yesterday I decided it was time to tackle number three (of 64). Before this, it advised I play exercises one and two non-stop, twice – an activity I had only previously attempted in the singular. Oh, the pain! I would have thought all the hanging from walls and bars would have beefed up my fingers, wrists and forearms for a solid five minutes of continuous play. Not a bit of it! I am now even more impressed by concert pianists who can play without a break for tens of minutes.
I have also previously alluded to my propensity to insomnia. As well as the usual issues of my brain racing with wizard wheezes for this blog which prevent me from sleeping (so, yes, this blog is therapy), I also have tendency to self-harm once asleep. This harm, which usually takes the form of an attempt to tear one or both of my arms out of their sockets, usually wakes me up eventually. Last night, I excelled myself such that within 90 minutes of retiring my to bed I had tried to unscrew both of my hands at the wrists and my head at the neck. This process did rouse me before its completion, so I am not writing this post as some sort of poltergeist. Nevertheless, my wrists are still rather painful – and I didn’t even obtain any (conscious) enjoyment from their injury (nor, lest you were wondering, was any alcohol involved).
Talking of insomnia, last night I went to the Nuffield to see another sufferer: Robin Ince. He is a very amusing chap, but if you thought I was prone to digression you ain’t seen nothing yet! This man could digress at an Olympic level – and does, he must have started dozens of times more anecdotes than he finished. I get the impression that his gigs end when the management turns out the lights and throws him out (rather than due to any lack of material or audience enjoyment).
This was supposed to be a short post, so I really better try and try to reach some kind of conclusion. One pleasing side-effect of my gymnastic training is that I seem to be becoming significantly more ripped (as I believe the young people say) – as well as more flexible. There is a serious risk, if this continues, that I might have a six pack (and not just of artisan ale). This could be helpful for my putative plan to become a stripper, as I believe such a thing is very desirable to some. Then again, all manner of strange quirks of the physiognomy are considered attractive – why, for example, are visible cheekbones so desirable in a man? And when did this interest start?
Anyway, for me the only downside of the training is a mild degree of obsession. Last Sunday, strolling through Southampton Common with my parents, I found my eye drawn to the children’s play area which had some excellent bars I could have used for a bit of practise (and I am technically a child – and had my ‘rents there to prove it). Sadly, they were being used by “proper” children (think I would count as a “vulgar” child) – and I felt it may be impolitic to chuck them off. I shall have to try again at night, or when the little ones are safely locked-up at school. The downside for everyone else, is (a) me banging on about it and (b) me showing off my new skills at any (and every) opportunity. No piece of street furniture will be safe from molestation if things go according to plan!