Friday, 13 September 2013

The shape of things to come

I know things have been quiet here lately, but let's face it: we're all busy.

For example, for the last couple of months I have (among other things) been focusing on improving my strength and flexibility. For years I have been very dubious about what -- if anything -- can be achieved by using DVDs in the privacy of your own home. How can you know if you're doing it right without being able to check your form in a floor-length mirror? Or without someone to tell you you're doing it wrong? Without (and let's admit to the monster within here) someone else to compare yourself to or compete with? For many years I was a slave to the gym, and couldn't imagine ever being motivated enough to give up timetabled classes, weights machines and cross-trainers in favour of jogging on pavements or doing push ups without being spurred on by the knowledge that each set of ten justified the monthly direct debit to We Own Your Fat Ass Gym Inc. Or Trish, my beloved trainer, coaxing me into standing on a Swiss ball while I complained that I felt like a trained seal. "Oh, no. A seal would have much better balance and muscle control than you do," cooed Trish encouragingly.


Perhaps I am a product of my times. I came of age as the gentle, 1970s-style Tai Chi session viewers of the TVNZ breakfast show were invited to join in on at the end of the morning news was axed as more and more people preferred to get fit where other people could see them pay to do it in the "Let's Get Physical" 1980s.

I am old enough to remember Richard Simmons' TV shows, and his exhortations to "Maryanne in Connecticut -- I can see you Maryanne! Don't give up and stop making me giggle!" Richard Simmons is da man and I will not hear a word against him. But it was years before I realised* that there was no Maryanne in Connecticut, and Richard couldn't see any of us. While Richard was telling his audience how wonderfully well they were doing, for all he knew they were all either weeping and eating ice cream or writhing on the floor in agony.

In spite of my generational mindset and cynicism about my own levels of self-motivation, I have managed to acquire a small library of DVDs, most of which were collected out of desperation when I emigrated five years ago and I had no idea when I'd next get to a dance class. Until quite recently most have just been dust collectors, but I am about to embark on an ambitious project called....[drum roll]:


This is Jilly's idea, really. Either I'll be reviewing DVDs you've never tried yourself or I will be -- in any event, I hope you'll be able to give me tips as I go along or get something out of it. As you eagerly await the first installment, a friend of mine posted this link on Facebook and it's compulsory reading: 

*I was about five when his show was at its peak of popularity.

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