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Archive for the category “2017/18”

More (and Less) Walking

The weekend just past is the one where I was supposed to be doing that walked Night Marathon in London.  I failed to complete it last year (as I’ve written about elsewhere) and this year didn’t start it – primarily because I just hadn’t been able to get in the practice and preparation that would’ve made it easily doable, so I’d made the decision to not take it on at the last minute.

So it should’ve been this weekend that I did it, and as it turns out, I’m actually quite glad I made that decision.  First and foremost, the weather was vile, and doing it while being cold and wet really doesn’t appeal.

Additionally, I’ve picked up a vicious cold (I really should stop having quiet days – they totally kill me) and been feeling rougher than a badger’s backside. To top it off, this week also involved a couple of foodie events (although I’d have rethought at least one of those if I’d still been doing the walk)

All told, I’m still (mostly) happy with the choice to not do the walk this year. I’m annoyed with myself for having let the time slip past, and for not doing the training and preparation I could have done.  But there we go, I didn’t do them, and while I probably could have just rocked up and completed it, I wanted to be better prepared this time.

I’m signed up to do next year’s one though, so we’ll see how we go from here to there.  And if I don’t do that one either, then I’ll most likely sack off trying again.

Brian Blessed, Cambridge Corn Exchange

On Monday night, I trolled over to Cambridge to see Brian Blessed on stage doing his “An Evening With” tour. Safe to say, it was a fun night.

I’ve been a fan of Blessed since his turn on Flash Gordon – which is now a very long time ago – which also gave him his most recognised phrase (and with which he opened the show) of “Gordon is Alive!

The entire show was kind of ramshackle and rambling, certainly nothing like the far slicker comedians and musicians that the audience was obviously more used to. I saw a few people with expressions of “What the fuck?!?” as it went on, because the were very few coherent stories, it appeared to be all more of a shotgun approach, as and when he remembered stuff.  (Without seeing the show again I have no way of knowing whether it’s intentionally shambolic, or that it’s just the way Blessed is)

For me though, I’d pretty much expected that, and it didn’t disappoint or disconcert me at all.

I thought the entire thing was a lot of fun (and also very loud, and sometimes sweary – also things I’m OK with) and would happily go and see it/him again.

I think the final note to leave on, though, is this notice on the doors.

Meaty Excesses

Last week was a very bad one food-wise. Not bad food per se, but more just that I was being bad by eating a lot of meat.

On Thursday it was the National Burger Day event down at Hawker House in London, which is something that’s been in my diary for the last three or four years. As usual, it was a good event, I got to see some people I’ve known from previous ones, and also meet some new ones who I hope to stay in touch with.

Then on Saturday and Sunday it was Meatopia down at Tobacco Dock in London – for my fifth consecutive year. Both days of that were great – personally I think I preferred the Sunday, which seemed to have a greater variety of meats and techniques than the Saturday.

All told, I ate a lot. But in some form of compensation, I also covered just over 110,000 steps over the week, amounting to just under 60 miles. In a week.

In short, I’m just an irredeemable idiot, with no real idea of what’s sensible…

Othello and Aristocrats

On Tuesday, as I mentioned before, I went down to London to see Othello at Shakespeare’s Globe. I’d not seen any previous productions of it, and it seemed like a good plan – particularly as it was only £5 for a standing ticket.

All told, it was OK. Standing at the Globe is OK, although the concrete floor is a lot less forgiving than the original’s mud, straw and whatever. I get that that’s less sustainable in modern London, but yeah, a bit tough when standing for near-as-dammit three hours, once you include arriving before it starts, interval, and leaving.

The play itself was good, and I had a decent view of the stage, albeit from the side. Going in with a pretty blank and basic idea of the play, it fulfilled most of that, and was easy enough to follow. I had always had the idea that Iago was a lot more panto-villain with hand-twisting moustachioed evil – although I suspect that’s just how it’s been built up over the years, as a lot of the irony of calling him “honest Iago” wouldn’t work if he were being blatantly manipulative and machiavellian – so it was interesting (and a bit jarring for me) to see the way it’s played by Mark Rylance as a much quieter role, more of a jealous little man, overlooked by those in power, assumed to be a nobody who couldn’t possibly come up with such intrigues. 

But I enjoyed it (although I feel the ending is another of Shakespeare’s more melodramatic dollops) and came out feeling I’d got what I came for.

Then, because I’m an idiot, I’d also booked to see Brian Friel’s “The Aristocrats” in the evening, at the Donmar Warehouse.  Which also conveniently meant I could go and have a quick dinner at one of my favourite places in that area, Chick’n’Sours (Fried chicken and sour cocktails – my kind of place)

So that’s what happened – a walk back from the Globe to Seven Dials, food, and then with plenty of time to kill I sat outside an empty building on Earlham Street, right by Donmar Warehouse, and just relaxed for an hour – which was lovely. It’s a really quiet street – surprising for being in the Covent Garden area – with enough people going past to be interesting, but not chaotic.

And then Aristocrats. Which, in my opinion, was sadly an absolute bag of bollocks. Apparently it’s Chekhov-esque, which apparently means “sod-all happens”. I’d seen generally positive reviews of it, but couldn’t find much to be impressed by in it, myself.  It was good to have seen it, and understand a bit more about the kind of plays I don’t like – which is always a useful reference point, so long as you haven’t spent an absolute shed-load of money to find out you hate it – but it’s definitely not one I’d bother with again.

Mind you, I was in a seat in the second row of the stalls, right by the stage, and it cost me £30.  So it could’ve been an awful lot worse than it was.

All told it was a good day, and not massively expensive. What more could one ask for, really?

Gym Thoughts

Following on from earlier posts this week, I’m back to figuring out a gym routine, what works for me, and what will keep me going. (If anything does)

At the moment I’m working first on “just” getting into the habit of going. Without that, it’s far too easy to give up again, so it’s my first goal.  It’s hard work, because I simply never feel that endorphin-rush that most people talk about when it comes to gyms and heavy exercise. That makes everything tougher, because the “rewards” I get for going are only statistical – reduced weight (hopefully) and improved strength (which I can track and see in an app or spreadsheet) with none of that emotional/hormonal/endorphinal backup.

Initially, I’m using a gym that’s very close to my office – even fewer possible excuses than usual!   On my first visits, I’m not hugely taken with the place, but we’ll see how things go.  It’s different to other ones I’ve been to, which may also account for my current feelings, but time will tell on whether I stick with it.

There is another gym that’s easy to access from my office – but it’s about a mile away. It’s the one I was using before, and is one of the new breed of “always open” gyms. (And also cheaper than the current one, but that’s less relevant)   I don’t know which one I’ll end up using, but for now it’s more about the routine, the habit, than anything gym-specific.

Ideally, once I’ve established myself a routine/habit, I’ll be able to work on a decent exercise regime as well. (I’ll be doing that from the start, of course, but the routine is the key)  I’ll be keeping track of that on the Fitocracy app (or some other equivalent, but I’ve used Fitocracy before)

For now, it’s all just a process, and I’m planning to work on it alongside other things (which will be written about elsewhere/elsewhen) so we’ll see how it goes.

Despite the evidence of this week’s posts, I’m not going to become some kind of gym/health/fitness obsessive – but there’ll be other posts on the subject over the next few months, as I see how things go…

Weaker

Before I made my decision to not do the Shine Night Marathon this year, I was working on losing weight and improving fitness.  (That’s another set of posts for later on, though)

There’s some stuff that has taken a long time to happen, and one of those things was getting my arse back into the gym. I stopped going nearly three years ago (October 2015, according to my Fitocracy tracking) because I wasn’t enjoying it or feeling any particular benefits, and I didn’t really regret stopping.  I haven’t been paying all that time without using it – I’m not insane! – although I did start a new membership a couple of months back, as part of the process of getting back into it. I just hadn’t actually been in. *cough*

With some other changes in the last week, I finally darkened the door of a gym again this week, to see how I do with it.

And as it turns out, it was OK. Not perfect – although I’m not going to judge on that, because it was just the first visit, and still a learning experience. So I’ll continue to see how it goes, and aim to get back into some kind of routine with it all.

What is interesting though – and is purely a facet of those records with Fitocracy – is how much strength I’ve lost in that three years. For example, when I left the previous one, I was able to do leg-presses at 325lb for 5 series of 50 repetitions. (Yes, my legs are/were monstrous. I know)  On my first visit back, I was only able to do 110lbs for 4 series of 20 repetitions.  That’s a massive reduction in strength (I can’t even work out the percentage drop)

[Updated : I’m also a massive fucking idiot. Turns out, the weights in the new gym are in Kg, not Lbs.  So I’m still weaker than I was, but a lot better than I thought I was doing. That 110lbs? Well, 110kg = 240lbs. Still less than before – but I’m happier with things again now]

I will see how it all goes, and it’ll be interesting to see what progress I make, both with the gym stuff, and the other odds and sods that are going on at the same time.

Bat Out Of Hell, Dominion Theatre

Last weekend, I went to see Bat Out Of Hell, the juke-box musical based on the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy by Meatloaf.

It hadn’t been super-high on my priority list, but a friend of mine is running the lighting desk, and it was also in consideration as something to take my mum to later in the year, so I picked up a ticket to see what it was like.

I didn’t really know what to expect – and in many ways, I’m glad of that.  While I did enjoy it, it’s not one I’d go and see again (and also I’m not convinced that mum would like it) so it was definitely worth seeing as research first.  In fairness, a lot of people really like it and have seen it multiple times – and Meatloaf himself saw it a couple of days before I did, and seemed to be pleased with the entire thing.  It just didn’t really do it for me – it’s a subjective thing, and I’m never going to say to anyone “Don’t go”.  It just turned out to not be my thing.

The staging, set, lighting and so on are great, the music performances are pretty good – but the story itself is woeful, and seems to be there just as a kind of bare basic scaffold on which to hang the songs.  (I’m no expert on juke-box musicals, so this could be the case with all of them, I don’t know – and I’m not going to generalise based on a sample of one!)

But still, it was entertaining enough, and kept me amused.  I didn’t come out thinking I’d wasted my money, or disappointed in the production – but I still wouldn’t want to pay to see it again…

 

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