Tag Archives: fitness

No.73: Feel Big love For Gary Barlow

Gary Rachid. Hang on. No... Ah whatever. He's LOVELY.

Most of us vagina-ry masses (and quite a few of the penis-toters too for that matter) are spending quite a lot of time currently doing this. It’s excellent, that’s why.  He’s not Simon Cowell for a start which basically makes anyone brilliant. And if your criteria for fancying someone is also ‘they’re not Simon cowell’, then you’ve probably been single for about as long as this blogger.

FFS, who cares that GB once took drugs?  Kelly Rowland once shat herself you know. Ok, so she was 5 days old, but the press* don’t seem to be able to stop themselves from separating a past event from its present relevance by means of a rational criteria based on time, age, common sense or plain human decency. Probably because it’s more fun their way.

‘Everyone with a fanny and some people with a penis love Gary Barlow!’

‘Ohdearmeno. We can’t have that.’


‘…Because…look over there! An albatross with a vicar in its mouth!’

‘wha – ?…Oh it must have gone. What were we saying?

‘Dunno. Slice of toast?

‘Ooh – lovely!’

So what does this mean, besides that fact that you can distract anyone living and breathing with the promise of toast? What this means is that the minute a human sets foot on English entertainment soil, success stops inspiring praise and starts being considered a good time to start psychologically beasting them.

The English seem to have the social group mentality of Ted’s father, police captain Logan,  in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and praise means you get SLACK and TOO BIG FOR YOUR BOOTS and YOU MUST  be destroyed within 3.5 weeks for your own good because do you know what success means in this country?! It means you’ve FAILED. So give it up, loser! Or go to America immediately (except to Ted’s dad’s house) where they like success and that sort of caper. The poofs.

The rise and rise of Barlow Hotness (do not use this phrase out of context in case someone thinks you mean Ken or HEAVENS FORFEND, Deirdre) has brought with it a parallel experience for many women. And that is the experience of fancying someone that your mum and your grandmother fancy as well at the same time.  Thanks to Gary, women of 16 and women of 79 have a shared love that isn’t (a) being grumpy, (b) being selectively deaf and (c)  screaming at figures of authority whilst covered in food.

Gary also eats food, has some transferable skills, has a fluctuating metabolism, doesn’t seem mental at all and you know he secretly hates Robbie. He’s a normal human being on all the 5 Internationally recognised counts.

It’s hard to work out why Gary is suddenly so very lovely. True, he’s nicer than an X-factor beanbag camply repeating the same sentence until you want to scoop your eye out with a melon baller (Walsh), a person that just tucks their hair behind their ear whilst holding a pen (Minogue), another person made of card (Cole) or someone so smug that if you licked them they would even taste of smug (Cowell).  But then again, maybe he bought a bag of handsome at Lidl and ate all of it. Which is my favourite answer.


*Not all press. Lots of them are lovely. Like CC, WR, CM, ME, HB and the like.

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No.55: Go For A Bicycle Ride

Ahh yes! One of  (according to Hollywood, along with shooting someone holding a gun sideways in each hand and driving a car off a pier onto a boat) the most exhilarating things a human can do.

Yes, all you have to do is find a bike that works and, three hours and a thousand cuts by discarded Tetanus-riddled garden tools and bits of wood barring your way into the shed later, you stand triumphant in front of a two-wheeled monster from the planet DeathTrap.

But never mind that – it has a basket on the front and – joy upon joy –  a bell! There is nothing as childishly delightful as a bell on a bicycle. Ok, the bell is so rusty it doesn’t so much ring as make a noise like Stephen Hawking clearing his throat, but excitement ensues nonetheless.

Now, in an ideal world (which you, as a flancer, obviously sacrificed long ago) bicycle rides are taken on sunny days in the countryside wearing a skirt, floral blouse and straw wide-brimmed hat. With working brakes.*

In reality, one must make-do. If you are a British reader, it is 98.7% likely it will be pissing down when you finally disentangle your bike from an ancient Flymo and two hundred meters of fairy lights, but – being British – you will still go for a bicycle ride anyway because as we know, two World Wars weren’t won by staying in when it rained to sack things off and eat toast.

Contrary to the Sepia-flavoured indulgences of cinematic idealists, riding a bike in a skirt is actually strewn with pitfalls – one of which is getting the hem caught in the cogs and being dragged under the wheels like a near-sighted Victorian urchin into the jaws of a thrashing textile loom. A short skirt is arguably more practical, but you do tend to end up with a queue of cars crawling along behind you and pedestrians coming towards you horrifiedly covering the innocent eyes of their children/dog/elderly relative in a wheelchair  from the unholy view of your gusset.**

Victorian Urchin: Pre-Loom

Riding down a hill with your legs out at angles is also a bit of a risk, despite this being the universal image of carefree joy in modern Britain***. I tried it, but was unaware in my cloud of carefree joy how close I was to the pavement, and consequently punted the shopping bag of a middle-aged woman so hard it took leave of her grasp and smashed a car windscreen. For this reason readers, always check your high gears work so that you may increase your speed if suddenly necessary.

One final point – have you ever tried to cycle through countryside? It’s shit and you’ll end up having to weave around cowpats, burnt-out cars and ditches checking to see if your fillings haven’t been shaken loose every twenty meters

Thus, the flancer alternative? A waterproof cape down to the shops riding on the pavement, feet in – ignoring that old person you ran into a bush – to buy a bottle of wine.

Which you then realise you have to drink standing outside the corner shop because some kind of rodent chewed a hole in your front basket.

Ah well.


*Unless you are male. In which case please substitute any relevant soft-focus fantasy you require. Maybe it still involves the blouse, that’s your call.
**In this case, ESPECIALLY if you are male.
*** Along with teenagers puking WKD into their own lap outside nightclubs and clinically obese families eating burgers outside Primark, of course.
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No.21: Take up Jogging

Here’s a flancer-based equation:  

30% of your day sitting down +  30% being paranoid + 15 % innate A.D.D + 15% over-active imagination +10% ability to self-delude  =  take up jogging for one day a month.

On this one, epic day, the flancer will have woken up having decided that their indolent life path can only end in morbid obesity. That they can delude themselves no longer that ‘Five- a -Day’ in fact refers to fruit and vegetables,  not cigarettes, cups of coffee or visits to YouTube.  They will look in the mirror, observe mournfully the toast and cake crumbs and on their (topshop.com)  jumper from the day before, smell the Marlboro aroma of their unwashed hair and an epiphany will occur (after a short breakdown).  Everything that is wrong with their lives can be solved by going out and JOGGING.  A sudden, desperate need descends to join the ranks of happy, healthy humans whose circulation actually works and who move about outdoors (and not just to get to the car).   They want a piece of this happiness! And without further ado they put their trainers on, walk to the  car and drive to the shops to buy something to jog in.

At first glance, a Flancer’s wardrobe could be mistaken for the wardrobe of somebody that keeps fit anyway. Do not be fooled:  countless tracksuit bottoms (you can’t sit and write in a suit, for god sake), heat-packs (sitting = lumbar problems), water bottles (came free with the bulk-buy tracksuit bottoms), maybe a yoga mat (a Christmas present), small dumbbells (a fad) and such like.  Flancers never use any of it for it’s intended purpose because generally flancers are crap at sport. Rather than admit this, they will ardently insist that this slothish lifestyle of drinking and smoking is par for the course of creativity; observe! those Rive Gauche, artsy hipster-types! They spend months indoors eating nothing but Gauloises on toast and they produce masterpieces!  But this is simply obfuscating bullshit and if you point it out to them, they will probably cry, nod regretfully and on their next trip to the supermarket buy loads of bottled water and Ryvita.

Anyway, once they have returned from buying kit, the flancer will often discover that all the energy they had for jogging has been used up by going out and queuing in JD Sports for a whole twenty minutes.  The real fighters, however put on the kit and go for a walk. To the shop.  For fags. But the obsessives will warm up (which will traditionally resemble something that Mad Lizzie off-of Good Morning Britain used to do. Because people who never exercise resort to 80s-style  warm-up techniques* for some reason) and set off, after first taking fifteen minutes deciding whether to take their key, hide it under the door mat, put it in their sock or just leave the front door open so the paramedics can get in when they come back with them on a stretcher.

Then comes the other dilemma:  do you take your mobile in case (a) you get lost or (b) you end up in the local ghetto with no strength left to run from the yoots? Or, the real reason. (c) to call someone to pick you up.  By this time it will be dark. 

The flancer will set off, soon reaching the 200m mark. At this point, initial smugness is replaced by chest pains and the onset of migraine. Anger and hatred arrives at the 400 m mark.   And at half a kilometer the flancer is praying a bus will come along to throw themselves under to make it stop.

At least then they will get a lift back. Who cares if it’s in an ambulance?


*namely star-jumps, side bends or anything from group-exercise sessions at Butlins holiday camps Circa. 1981. Kinda like this only less choreographed  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeMJOPlK-0E

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