Gym goodbye? (Sun 13 – Sat 19 Dec 2015)

Is gym part of my past rather than my future?

Gym failureReaders will know going to the gym 2-4 time per week has been an integral part of my life for the last few years. However, I am currently dealing with a lack of time and inclination to go – I haven’t been since I got back from Gran Canaria. I have always said both not to be afraid of change and not to keep doing the same things if it does not produce the results you want. I think I can know safely say that I am never going to be a musclebound adonis and I am singularly failing to lose weight – probably the key thing that could benefit my health and fitness. And in seeing the film Chemsex this week, it made me realise how much I am playing into the destructive gay world thinking i.e. that I only have value if I have a good body. There is also the issue of being young but there is ultimately nothing I can do about getting old.

Not going to the gym does not mean I am going to let myself go but rather I need to work out a new exercise / diet strategy and I may return to regular gym attendance in the future. My current gym membership runs out early Jan so I am going to have to make a decision.

Weight on Tuesday morning was 13-8 so I had lost a pound (as did mum!) without going to the gym. Some walks during the week though no particularly big ones. Did control my eating i.e. on Monday eating less because I ate a lot on Sunday and the same for Friday against Thursday. Flu jab on Tuesday morning arranged via work.

Doomed to repeat?

download (87)Another thing that has influenced my thinking was that I had a brain wave and decided to compare what I was doing the week before Xmas last year with the one just gone (this is the value of keeping a blog). It was quite depressing to see how similar things were. In both weeks I went up to Scotland for work and down to Brighton to visit my old chaps. I was still dealing with masses of emails and struggling to do the digital and languages learning I wanted to do as well as enjoying eating out and reading. The main differences were that I wasn’t seeing my personal trainer (she is not doing this any more) nor am I jogging (because of my achilles / calves problems which were also there a year ago) nor going to the gym. And yet I am the same weight. A huge differences was that one of my best friends was still alive though QPR were still shit albeit struggling in the Premiership rather than the Championship. Do I want to be reflecting in a year’s time that there has still been no change in some fundamental areas of my life?


One of surprisingly big events of week was going on Saturday to see the film ‘Chemsex’ at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art). About the current situation on the gay scene where drugs and sex have become synonymous. Drugs like mephedrone, G, and crystal meth (tina) are taken to give an amazing high and a rapacious appetite for sex. Thus some gay men are getting caught in a world of drug addiction and orgies that lead to all the usual addiction problems (including death by overdose) plus diseases like HIV and Hep C. And in a cruel twist of irony the most effective ways to take these drugs are often to smoke it or, even worse, to inject with people sharing needles. There is a risk that this is all dressed up as ‘fashionable’ – for instance, people don’t inject instead they ‘slam’. Fundamentally it’s all the same problems with a gay slant as for people hooked on injecting heroin or smoking or injecting crack.

Complex why people do it but actually all addictions have the same basis of companionship, easy answers, feeling good, and denial. The film brought up emotions for me around with the drug scene in Brighton that destroyed my life and relationship there, and it reinforced to me the value of an abstinence-based recovery approach. Sad but amusing to see people in the film who were obviously damaged from taking drugs but in denial about it (‘I’ve taken drugs for years and it hasn’t done me any harm’ says the gaunt man with staring eyes and addled thinking) and they don’t see themselves as ‘normal’ drug addicts – injecting with a dirty needle and having twelve hours of sex with lots of different people in many ways is actually a lot worse than the zoned out person on heroin.

Digital work

Three office days last week (all with a digital slant) on top of my Scottish trip; all part of the rush to get everything done before Christmas. A big focus for last week was on the grants programme being done with Microsoft: receiving application forms and videos, reading and watching them, and finally our panel meeting to agree who to fund. The latter happened on Thursday afternoon with a panel of over seven people connected via the use of Skype.

Wednesday there was a meeting with Nominet Trust to review how our joint funding of Stoke Wavemaker is going All good including the development of their e-learning platform. Meeting was originally going to be in Stoke to see them in situ at the Mitchell Arts Centre but moved to London instead which suited me. Stayed at Dave’s afterwards. He was very busy last week with lots of pre-Christmas work celebrations in the evenings and so we didn’t meet till after 9pm on Wednesday night.

download (88)Two other key things at work last week. First, ongoing discussions on the details of our new grants strategy to be launched after Christmas and we will find out in January what the new staff structure will be. Second, on Tuesday afternoon we had our team Christmas lunch. It’s been a bit dodgy some years but this one was a good one; a nice pub meal followed by chilled drinks, charades and a decent time to finish so that I didn’t get home too late.

Glasgow again

download (3)So Glasgow again like last year and with the weather being colder than London but not as cold as I expected (global warming / climate change? We’ve fucked our world up). Sunday – good BA flight from Heathrow and pottered around the city including looking at the (obligatory) Christmas Fair. Dinner at the world buffet on Sauciehall Street and a hotel bar drink. Monitoring meeting on Monday went well though some disagreements and hard discussions as one would expect for a properly managed grant – Kids Company shows what happens when grants aren’t managed properly. Nice to have my colleague Sharron there who is taking over managing some projects from me on at least a temporary basis so I can concentrate on digital stuff. To the airport and another good BA flight back to London before spending the eveing with mum (and I did the same on Tuesday night).

Brighton again

download (90)Off to Brighton on Thursday evening. Very unusual for me to go down later in the day but had to get stuff done at work first. Train delays (oh what fun memories that brought back of my time commuting to and from Brighton) but ultimately arrived by 8pm. Out for dinner around 9 and a surprising number of restaurants’ kitchens had already closed, so much for Brighton as a 24 hour city. I ended up at Las Iguanas, a chain but fun and I had yummy guacamole with nachos followed by a burrito and a nice glass of rose all whilst reading my book then back to the hotel bar for a nightcap.

Off to see Bob and Brian on Friday though woken at 6.30am by the alarm going off in the hotel. Strange that they are both mid seventies and James died aged 56 – mother nature is a harsh mistress. I had not seen them for two months (before I went to Gran Canaria) because my November visit had been cancelled to accommodate an urgent work meeting which then got cancelled atdownload (89) the last minute. Bob was angry because he had not been washed and dressed for when I arrived at 10.20. He was ready by 11.15 and we went out to the coffee shop taking advantage of the mild weather. Onto meet Brian who was OK though had had another fall. Train back to London and really knacked so had an early night.

Beautiful books

The_Martian_2014Read two books last week. First was Andy Weir, ‘The Martian’ One of my 50p charity shop purchases and one I have wanted to read for a long time. Haven’t seen the film and several people have raved about both. It is good, perhaps a bit American dream and certainly not as easy a read as I expected being very technical; this is proper science as fiction. Second was Claire North, ‘The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August’ Flagged as one of the best sci-fi books of 2015, it really is part of a common genre of the moment centring on what happens when people are able to live their lives over. These are people who remember everything from the moment they are born and are doomed to constantly live their lives constantly over and over again and again – utlimately in many ways a curse rather than a blessing.

Also must mention that whilst in Brighton I managed to check out several charity shops including one of my favourites and came away with bag of books including some classic gay literature (Dave was deliriously happy NOT).


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