Aaronovich is losing lbs by the day on the treadmill.
Like him, I can't motivate myself to run unless I have music to listen to. Most of Aaro's commenters seen to go for various types of electronica or pop.
Me? I go for fast noisy loud music. My typical treadmill playlist is....
- Stiff Little Finters - Suspect device
- Blink 182 - Online songs / Rock show / First date
- The Clash - Safe European home / English Civil War
- Arctic Monkeys - Bet you look good on the dancefloor
- Gang of Four - Natural's not in it
- AC/DC - If you want blood / Highway to Hell / Walk all over you
- The Ruts - Babylon's Burning / H-Eyes / Staring at the rude boys / Society (live version)
- Deep Purple - Highway Star
- Futureheads - Hounds of Love
- Patti Smith - Rock n Roll Nigger
- The Who - The Seeker
- Spizzenergi - Where's Captain Kirk?
- Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bob / Beat on the brat (or pretty-well anything else of theirs)
- White Stripes - Seven nation army
- The Jam - In the city
- Barracudas - Summer fun
- The Doors - LA Woman (it's faster than you think)
But I often need something more than music to keep my pace up.
A violent fantasy can make fifteen minutes on the treadmill at full-tilt pass in what seems like seconds. All you need to do is re-live (and rewrite) one of the beatings that you received in your teens - outside a pub or a football ground perhaps?
Mine is based outside a pub called the Dog and Bear in Nottingham. I don't know what it's like now, but it used to be a bit tasty in the early '80s. I don't think that the hammering in question was due to the fact that I was wearing eye-liner but I never took the risk of wearing it again apart from in nightclubs.
Here's what happened in real life:
I walked in. About ten yoofs with little moustaches turn and look at me. The person I was hoping to meet wasn't there. The soulboys were beginning to walk towards me.
I leave, sharpish. More of the pricks were coming towards the door as I got outside. Three of them take an interest. They are...
a) an aggressive little fucker who is looking for trouble
b) a bigger one who is obviously very useful and doesn't look like he feels pain
c) a weedy-looking hanger-on who thinks that he can join in at no risk to himself under the circs. He's standing behind the aggressive one with that canine-baring smile you get before someone starts kicking you.
Psycho comes up with a pretext. He pretends to mistake me for someone who spilt his pint / shagged his bird / looked at his knob in the bogs.
I back off, look for an escape route and find none. It probably all happens from start to finish in about twenty seconds, but like a car-crash, it feels like hours. Psycho throws a punch that half-lands and I half-parry. It's hard enough to knock me onto my behind though. This positions my nose perfectly for a follow-up drop kick. Again, I see it coming, turn aside and take a glancing blow. Roll over, and into a ball on the floor. Psycho starts kicking my ribs a few times.
The bigger one calls psycho off. I take a hint and take a powder. As I get up to run off, weedy follows it up with a fey boot and he tries to grab me and land a punch. I sideswipe him and catch him better than I'd hoped to. I run off.
Bruised ego, a few grazes and a nosebleed. It could be worse.
Now here's what happens in my head, on the treadmill.
Leaving the pub, the same three walk up. Psycho invents a pretext as before. But this time, I have a bottle in my hand. Magic!
Smash the bottle. Sidestep Psycho. Shove the broken glass neck under big-and hard's chin. He's not really interested in the first place, and he calls Psycho off. I give psycho a way of saving face by explaining that I'm not who he thought I was. He apologises, I lower the bottle. We're nearly all settled now without a scratch on any of us.
But this is where I can now start winding Weedy up. Start off with a bit of verbal abuse, and follow it up with a half-hearted kicking while his mates laugh at him.
As a piece of narrative, this is all reasonably possible. Well. Actually, it's probably not. The miraculous appearance of the bottle and the easy compliance of big-and-hard involve a significant suspension of disbelief, obviously. But my experience of psychos is that they can be talked down and given an excuse not to kick the shit out of you - as long as you can recruit someone they respect to do it.
I'd also acknowledge that, even if I'd got hold of a bottle, it would probably have been taken off me and recycled horribly in reality. But I've gone over this little scenario hundreds of times. Pointlessly, in every case. And usually on a treadmill in a gym.
You never forget a kicking. Well, I don't anyway. And I can release in instant rush of adrenaline every time I try and imagine ways that it could have been less humiliating or painful.
If you've ever been beaten up, try rewriting it next time you're trying to exercise. Aaronovich can probably come up with his own version. Perhaps if someone could arrange for George Galloway to better him in a verbal exchange.....?
Someone who loves him should make this happen. It could do more to reduce his waistline than anything that he could load onto his i-Pod....