Sunday, January 18, 2009


"Nah, seriously - I eat 5,000 calories a day," the tattooed, muscular black bloke grunts.

"What, and you don't put on weight?" the skinny Asian kid whimpers, his veins squeezing through trembling twig arms under the shoulder press.

"Nah," the black bloke shoots back, incredulous. "Course not - I do 4 hours down here, sprint for another hour in the evening...seriously, I'm always eating, I had two Big Mac meals last night, I go through six to eight packs of crisps a day!"

Ian Astbury looked such a cock during the 'Love' era I note, watching The Cult pose and primp their way through She Sells Sanctuary on the video screen, though secretly glad it's not Sash or the Ting Tings for a change. One day, I must borrow someone's iPod and exercise myself fucking bandy while damaging my eardrums with Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel or Black Flag.

The weights room is a strange chamber. This is the Room 101 you never think you'll ever really visit. The home of steroid-popping narcissism, roamed by freaks who've only ever been in love with a tub of Maximuscle and a mirror. I desecrated the Temple the first morning I popped upstairs to have a look around, accidentally knocking two weights to the floor. It sounded like I'd just hurled them through a plate glass window. The Acolytes of Adonis gave me serious evils as I just hobbled my way to the leg press like nothing had happened. There was a Dionysian in their ranks, and that waning moon of a beergut nestling under my St Pauli T-shirt was a red flag to these beefcake bulls. Or maybe it was the fact I was wearing Nike trainers with Adidas sweatpants that gave the game away.

When I first read The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, back as a wee gossoon, I pretty much made my mind up: wine and song, the invocation of chaos, the uncovering of esoteric absurdism and blaring loud records were to form my path in life. I suppose, pretentious as it sounds, I was throwing in my lot with Ian Astbury and heading for the Tavern At The End Of The Universe. If you're a parent and you wanna keep your kids on the tracks, I'd avoid reading this mighty tome to them at bedtime.

It's really important you understand this, cos it's the key to unravelling the mysteries of the weights room. The Adonisians don't 'do' 'posts' about Joy Division; to them, Ian Curtis was some stick insect who should have bulked up. Oh, he killed himself? Well, who wouldn't with a body like that? Now, Arnie, on the other hand - maybe his 90s films all suck, but you could never fault his pecs and dorsals back in the old days. Look, we've even stuck up a massive picture of him over here.

Well - I've worn my St Pauli shirt in a club packed with rabid Rangers supporters before, so a buncha bodybuilders with their tiger tattoos and vests weren't going to put me off. Hence me sitting here, lifting 60kg with my legs and backside, critiquing Ian Astbury's nomad shepherd garb while a black wall of muscle brags about his incredible appetite. Actually, hang on: if he exercises for 5 hours a day, presumably he doesn't work, or just has a part-time afternoon job down the library? In which case, how he can afford to consume 5,000 calories a day?. But then, that's the thing about the Adonisians; while you were sitting round reading Nietzsche, they were reading stuff like Personal Power: 10 Ways to Accrue Financial Success And Retire At 28 and the like.

Occasionally, WOMEN enter the sanctum. This elicits either of two responses:

a) (she's ugly/old) - Have you ever seen the look bus drivers give cyclists when they cut in front of the 171?

b) (she's young/fit) - The ones who are 'resting' suddenly look as if a colossal vat of Maximuscle's strolled past. The ones on the weights start frantically grappling their machines, like ship's captains at the wheel during a tempest. Their mouths form O shapes, they start exhaling like punctured tyres. Everyone knows that a Dionysian can't look after a woman properly. They're too busy cheating with 'the muse' (ie- searching out pubs for philosophical enquiry), leaving Whitehouse and Thai Garage Pop CDs lying around, cooking up shanties on the Pipes of Pan. They simply refuse to believe that what a woman wants - nay, needs- is to be draped off a rock-hard bicep, to parachute onto a glistening six-pack, to feel warm Maximuscle-scented breath engulfing her very core. This is their courting ritual, their chance to flip the pins to 90kg and display their innards tryna burst out of their skins.

So the woman walks in, plonks her pert,lycra arse onto a tiny seat shaped like a pair of Y-Fronts, and begins to flex the rose tattoo on her triceps, and the men grunt, tremble and spray the temple with libations of sweat and sticky brown snot in her honour.

The Cult bleeds into a video for some track called "Beeper". A load of impossibly happy, overexcited youths prance around in dayglo. The words BEEPER flash up behind them all over the screen. Like, fuck off you merry cunts, I'm trying to lose a beergut and nurse badly bruised bones here! The screen cuts to a Sky Sports round-up, Twitchy Redknapp silently mouthing strategy and tactics over an electro bassline and a voice going "BEE-BEE-BEE-BEE-BEE-BEE-PER-PER-PER-PER-PER" A skinny Jewish bloke comes in, plonks himself down at the shoulder press and makes a 10-minute call on his mobile, before going back downstairs. The black bloke heads off in a fit of sanctimonious exagerration - 4 hours, my eye. Still, I've lost 6 pounds since New Year, so maybe these fuckers have got something going for them. I'll tell you about the woman in the "Friends of the Earth" shirt later, I fancy a drink.
Your mission is thus to become a 200-pound fat-free protein freak by the end of February. After becoming the star of Baywatch: Brighton Beach, you will leave the Blogosphere in a fit of "So long, wankers", and never be heard from again.
I'm not turning into Henry Rollins, honest...
If you see the black bloke again, tell him that Big Macs and crisps are not exactly the healthiest way to consume a load of calories. Brown rice, lentils and badger trotters are what he should be mixing in with his daily half-ton of Maxi Mussel.
I had a mate at college who went on a bulk-out diet of exercise and all that and taking heaps of Muscle-up powder and drinks and that. He put on about two stone in a month and couldn't work out why, til he told us that he was also eating his 'normal' diet that the powder should have replaced. His cock was the size of a tiny twig too apparently. Though whether that was a side effect of the weight building I couldn't say.
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