Day 18 – Exercise revisited

Or The Incredible Speed of 6000

Following the debacle of the first lockdown run, I’ve been getting better at exercising and doing small circuits of the garden Chez nous.

Some upper body weights, some online core and HIIT classes, the occasional run, a bit of cardio up and down the steps. It’s mostly been great. I’m actually feeling pretty good.

There are a few things that still need sorting out though.

This was yesterday’s workout:

Not bad. Decent figures. That distance isn’t correct though – the first run was measured on GPS and sold me short. This one relied on my steps and probably overestimated by a couple of kilometres. But this was all about heart rate and time, not about distance.

It wasn’t about speed, either. And that was a pity:

How do you like them apples?
What’s up, Usain? Can’t keep up, petal?

Yes. My maximum speed was 91.9kph. A speed I haven’t managed to achieve since heading back from Agulhas a couple of years weeks ago.

I’m faster than I look. Weird though – I don’t remember my face being dragged off my skull by the sheer, brute force of massive acceleration next to the pool. And Christ only knows what the braking distance is for that sort of speed. I’m surprised that I didn’t collide with a wall somewhere. My garden really isn’t that big.

There’s one other issue. Timing.

I’ve been timing my workouts by song. As in:

I’ll just do two more songs and then I’ll get a beer.

And when you know that you’ve only got one last song, you put in every ounce of effort you can. And then that last song turns out to be the 12 extended player of some 160bpm dancefloor remix by the Pet Shop Boys. And you very nearly die.

For 9½ minutes.

For the record though, the Pet Shop Boys are really good for getting you going while you’re exercising. Yesterday’s dance version of Love is a Bourgeois Construct got me up to almost 92kph.

Powerful stuff.

Day 6 – I want a dog

When it gets dark, my dog will bark
At any passers-by

So sang and remastered the Pet Shop Boys, thus:

Barking at passers-by was one of the beagle’s most very favourite things to do, and absolutely its most favourite thing to do that didn’t involve food. We spend most of our outdoor time at home in the back garden, but if we have cause to go out to the front, the beagle will scoot out and take up a position overlooking the pavement and… well… will bark at any passers-by.

You must please understand that the gate is some distance from the actual passers-by. The passers-by are in no danger here, although if they were to actually get into the front garden, they may be licked to death.

I went out into the front garden this morning to wash the front windows, because that’s the kind of thing you do when you have nothing else to do and nowhere else to go. And when the windows are dirty.

The beagle eagerly ran out and took up position and waited… and waited… and waited. And gradually, it sat and then sank to its tummy, resting its head upon the bottom rung of the fence, as absolutely no-one passed by.

Eventually, it gave up and returned inside to do some sleeping. This is absolutely unheard of (the returning inside bit, I mean: the sleeping is entirely normal).

This is great news as far as the adherence to lockdown regulations go, but not so wonderful if you are the beagle. The beagle is clearly very unhappy.

So, if you are planning to pass by my house, please could you…well, actually, just please could you? Literally, please could you pass by my house?
It would make someone I know ever so happy.


Go west?

“Go West! Life is peaceful there!”
So sang the Village People and then so also sang the Pet Shop Boys.

So it must be true.

Trouble is, if you’re in Cape Town and you’re planning to follow that advice, life is going to be rather wet there too. (West being the South Atlantic, for the geographically-challenged.)

That’s why I’m going to turn things around and Go East! this weekend.
Logic suggests that life will be turbulent there, and, should we extrapolate through the rest of the song, that we will be enclosed, alone, there will be rain in the summertime, the skies will be grey and we will do anything except be just fine.

Hmm. East seems a bit crap, to be honest.

Still, the beaglesitter is booked and we’re heading off… East… for a weekend away. Posts here will continue (obviously), and my Instagram is always open for your delectation.

Have yourself a good one. And try not to contract antibiotic-resistant Gonorrhea. (That latter bit of advice applies beyond this weekend, to be honest.)

The Dictator Decides

Will someone please say the unsayable?
Will someone please tell me I’m wrong?

If JZ was looking for a way out of this mess of a Presidency…

It’s Impeachment Day here in South Africa, or rather (unless something very incredible happens in the next few hours) Failed Attempt At Impeachment Day.
Also I’ve been listening to the new Pet Shop Boys album.

At present, these two facts seem wholly unlinked, but please bear with me as I intertwine their currently separate existences through the medium of interpretive dance blogging.

One of the standout tunes for me is track 5: The Dictator Decides. Now, while I’m not suggesting that Jacob Zuma is a dictator, he’s edging closer to the definition of that moniker every day. And while this track is probably written about the (apparently reluctant) rise to power of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, there are a few choice lines that could have been penned specifically for our JZ:

The joke is I’m not even a demagogue
Have you heard me giving a speech?
My facts are invented
I sound quite demented
So deluded it beggars belief
It would be such a relief not to give another speech.

Here’s the song if you’d like to hear the whole thing:

I’ve kept it deliberately small so that you don’t die from the flashing album covers accompanying this audio version. You may still struggle a bit though. Sorry.

The President isn’t very good. The Pet Shop Boys album, however, is. (It’s actually really good).
If you’re a glass half full kind person, this should be enough to see you through your day. Just.

Super Simple

This looks like I’m being lazy again (it’s not deliberate), but I just found this interview really interesting, and I wanted to share. It’s with Mark Farrow, who has been designing Pet Shop Boys record (CD, tape, album) covers for ever so many years now. He’s just done the same again for their latest one, Super, which I’m currently listening to (spoiler: it’s not misnamed).


I’m not into “design”, but I really like the idea behind this latest cover:

This time we went pop art, a fluorescent circle containing the word “SUPER” in a contrasting fluorescent colour. Then each format, CD, LP and digital, was given its own fluorescent colour scheme. The different music streaming services even have their own colour schemes. These colour schemes then come together in an animation of clashing colours used for online advertising and digital poster sites. Unhinged and brash, yes, but it also feels considered and complete as a campaign.

And yes, look – they’re all different – here’s Simfy and the Wikipedia entry:

  Screenshot_2016-04-04-11-55-57       Fullscreen capture 2016-04-04 115656 AM.bmp

So let’s get this straight… This guy has been a designer – a successful designer – for at least 30 years (he did the cover for West End Girls back in 1987) and he has come up with a circle with a word in it? A word that he was given. He didn’t even have to think of the word. Seriously, aside from the circle (which is hardly a complex addition), could it actually have been any more simple?

No. No, it couldn’t.

Thing is though, it’s absolutely brilliant. And even those true cynics amongst us have to take a seat and just admit that sometimes less is more. Maybe you need to be a top class designer – supremely confident in your ability and reputation and in your clients’ belief in your work, to be able to challenge them and their fans with something so audaciously basic and fundamental.

It’s so unpretentious that it might just be the most pretentious thing I’ve ever seen.

And I love it.