Saturday, April 14, 2012


I hate to admit that I really enjoying going to the gym, but I've said it. Despite the distinctly postlapsarian tinge the Iffley Road gym has -- and one would think one of the world's leading universities would have better facilities -- I do enjoy channelling the infinite amount of pent-up aggression and frustration that I seem to possess into a brutal gym sesh. And verily, the gym has all the signs of Satan about it: the constant blasting of vile chart singles, courtesy of MTV; the body-obsessed, muscle-bound men (and women) that frequent it (cf. the Coens' Burn After Reading); and the smell -- oh the smell -- of putrid, potent sweat.

And yet.

And yet.

There is something heroic and noble about physical endeavour. Christopher Isherwood (Chris Ish, as I like to call him) knows what I'm talking about:

'... the uncomplicated relaxed happy mood which is nearly always produced by a workout at the gym. It is so good to feel the body's satisfaction and gratitude; no matter how much it may protest, it likes being forced to perform these tasks.' (A Single Man, p. 87)
The warrior civilisations knew it. And I find myself ready to think and live again, after a heroic exertion of this mortal frame.

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