Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Into the mindless world

The inset shows (imperfectly) the door to discomfort – discomfort that must be endured for six more weeks.

Presently school children are at a loose end. Their parents take them to swimming pools where they mess around, taunting adults engaged in length swimming. As a result I have temporarily withdrawn my labour from the South Wye Leisure Centre in Fownhope. But I need some form of mindless physical activity so it’s back to the exercise bike which I keep in the garden shed.

Swimming offers certain incidental aesthetic pleasures; the ex-bike none at all. Besides, it’s surrounded by garden tools, links with another alien world. As a very minor act of revenge I clip my MP3 player to the blade of a hanging spade, stick in the ear-plugs and pedal away on a sweaty, dusty journey that goes nowhere.

The MP3 player contains over a thousand tracks varying in length from a Schubert lied to a Bruckner symphony movement. But alas the ex-bike imposes its own cultural environment. Try as I might I cannot listen to, say, Quartet for the end of time while fake pedalling. So my huge repertoire is reduced to four collections (say sixty tracks) of the only pop songs I regard as worth listening to, most MoR and most at least twenty years old.

Yesterday I concluded with The Pogues’ The band played Waltzing Matilda, the best anti-war song I know of. This afternoon I’ll resume with Barbra Streisand’s Don’t rain on my parade. It’s OK but I’d rather be swimming.


herhimnbryn said...

You could take this down to the pool and everyone would move out of the way for you.......


Happy pedaling.

Hattie said...

Enjoying your blog, which Marja-Leena has pointed me to. I had the pleasure of visiting her in Vancouver recently.

The Crow said...

Thank you for the reference to The Pogues’ The band played Waltzing Matilda. I found it on YouTube and listened to it thrice. It is a good one, as you say.


Barrett Bonden said...

HHB: But what about those that didn't move out of the way? Converted into beef stroganoff in its pre-cooked form. Coming into contact (however briefly) with someone is the ultimate solecism at the pool. In my case it nearly always seems to involve women who are doing back-stroke and wandering way off line. I am thinking of apologising in German after the next encounter.

Hattie: By now M-L will be able to explain quite a few of the peculiarities that crop up in Works Well. Just because something's technological doesn't mean it can't also be mysterious. But welcome, anyway.

The Crow: The great thing about ATBPWM is the way the lead singer spits out the words in disgust.

Occasional Speeder said...

It was difficult for Shane McGowan to do anything but spit due to the lack of dentistry his teeth had endured. Regrettably someone has "tided" his mouth up - probably some record company executive who took full advantage of his commitment to Bushmills..

Lucy said...

Has he got dentures now then? First they were black then non-existent... Never took you for a Pogues fan, BB. They were an important part of my wasted youth which I intend some time to reclaim; when vinyl went the way of all flesh, so did my Pogues albums, and I hesitate to revisit the past. Mind you, getting to grips with MP3 technology would be a start.

Our swimming pool ditches the adults only evening in the school hols, which is really when you need it most I'd have thought. Our exercise bike went the way of all good intentions a while back. I did develop the knack of reading a book while pedalling, but it didn't make it much more pleasant.

Barrett Bonden said...

Not a Pogues fan, just a fan of three songs by them. The other two are the NY Christmas carol and The Wild Rover, the latter on the basis of a single verse:

I went to an ale-house I used to frequent
And told the landlady my money was spent.
I asked her for credit and she bid me: "Nay,
Custom like that I can get any day."

Neatly put together and rhymed.

Avus said...

But why not out on a REAL bicycle, BB? I could never cycle "on the spot" in a garage when the great outdoors is waiting to be enjoyed. I did try a gym once (twice, actually) but found the experience soulless and boring.
Sun on your face, wind in your hair (and, occasionally, rain in your teeth) is far more satisfying to me.

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: ... tarmac in your mouth and a juggernaut ironing your pants. Yes, there's nothing like a spin on the vélo but for it to count as exercise, an hour's the absolute minimum unless the road is flat and you push yourself. Otherwise the downhills always seem to cancel out the ups. What I do in the shed is the equivalent of taking nasty-tasting medicine. Also it's daily.