Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

I have found it! Enfin a gym with no TV’s in it that resembles what I imagine a prison gym might look like. V 1980’s, bit grimey. Not too much equipment but the critical bar you can actually reach and swing on. The rooms are separate, as they should be, so if what’s happening in one is insufferable you can seek respite in another. Plus swimming pool in the same building gives the two forks in the one picnic exercise opportunity.

Gyms are one of the most banal gathering spots on the planet and there’s very little to say about them. Unlike swimming pools which are one of the more fascinating.  Gym’s have one great prospect and it’s anthropological and finally I have found one where there’s something to watch. A curious amalgamation of men, some who show up to exercise in jeans and drift in and out. Today one fella was training another fella furiously. The fella being trained was waving an overweight dumbell over his head lying down and groaning like he was undergoing some kind of surgical mapping procedure. The self appointed trainer was riding him. The fella looked like he had seconds to live. I stared astonished at the unsychronised flailing and waited for him to expire and noticed he had armpits that were related to the fringe of a Shetland Pony or a very long haired domestic cat and began to wonder about his particular concoction of hormones. Eventually the poor man staggered to his feet, minutes passed and the younger dudes were all encircled a heated debate rose up. I became excited — nothing like a sweaty heated debate — it looked like it might erupt into a great Gladiator moment of males and dumb bells, but no the mad trainer (who was not a specimen of health it must be said) was laying into the young fellas about his poor puffing pony admonishing them. This man sweats more than any of you he was shouting. Look at him, he sweats more than all of you put together …. he roared. The poor pony fella looked a bit shaken by this new respect, but relieved to be out of the mad armlocks the fella had hitherto forced him to endure and he moved his head dazed like he was trying to figure out if he still had ears.

Later I noticed they retired to smoke in the car park. You couldn’t make it up. Would made a great Michael Jackson video for a song called … Respect is due for the pony who sweats.

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