Thursday, 6 March 2008

Let's Get Physical 6/3

To paraphrase the great Eartha Kitt I am just an old fashioned boy. Also like Eartha I am lacking an old fashioned millionaire. Where we differ is in that I can listen to my “Chopin and Bizet and the songs of yesterday” on my brand new second hand mp3 player. No, not an Ipod, as I say, I am old fashioned. I much prefer my music on the old fashioned compact disc. Who could imagine that a time could come when we could ever say that? I suppose a vinyl LP is now in antique territory!

An mp3 player/ipod has never really appealed to me. However, the music they are playing at my gym has seriously deteriorated of late so when a friend offered me her old player I almost bit her hand off.

Music provides a soundtrack to most of life’s defining moments, so the moments of defining that constitute a good work out should be no exception. To say the first selections I chose were random would be an under statement. Some of them were downright bizarre in fact. I suspect that the three hour long process of transferring files to the player may have something to do with that. Well I exaggerate a little, but it’s something I have no shame in admitting I struggle with! Some of my selections really lifted my spirits and were a great asset. Natalie Cole’s version of “Gotta Be” and even Nena singing “99 Luftballons” – yes in German – really got the adrenalin running as I pounded the treadmills.

Of course what brings me to mention all this is the show tunes I discovered I had allocated in my random selection. Some of them work brilliantly, some of them less so, and some ended up with quite embarrassing side effects!

I will begin with Andrew Lloyd Webber. “Oh What A Circus” from “Evita” was the perfect accompaniment to the cross trainers with all the pace and energy it has. My selection from “Jesus Christ Superstar” wasn’t nearly as successful though. It all started off swimmingly as “What’s The Buzz” got me sufficiently energized and I was veritably skipping along at high speed, then it segued into the slower “Strange Thing Mystifying” and I slowed along with the music until the point where I could hear the cross trainer beeping as I was going too slowly. I had a similar problem when it came to Sondheim. The title song of “Company” was great. I was a happy smiley skippy bunny trotting along as I silently joined the chorus of “Bobby baby, bobby bubby, Robert darling” . Where it all fell down was “Putting It Together” from “Sunday In The Park With George”. In places it’s great, but then they speed up, slow down, start talking. My pace was almost like I was on the random setting. When I was fast I was fast, when I was slow I was slow, when I was……hold on that’s the Grand Old Duke Of York isn’t it?

I suppose the most comical results were from the pens of neither of the above. I expect, when listening to music on headphones, we all sing along on occasion. Well, I lived to regret that whilst listening to a couple of tunes from current west end hit “Hairspray”. So there I am. The rowing machine. To my astonishment I realised that about three people were staring at me. Then it hit me. I had been singing “Mama I’m A Big Girl Now”. Very embarrassing. It had been quite bad enough ten minutes previously when I heard “Good Morning Baltimore” when on the bike, only to realise I was holding my arms aloft – a la Eva Peron on the balcony of the casa rosada – although thankfully at this point I was keeping my mouth shut. Tracy Turnblad has a lot to answer for!

It was this dual mortification that decided me. The last straw! It was pop only from then on, the show tunes had to go. I was simply not to be trusted. They are banished from my mp3 player until further notice. All well and good, but I will let you into a little secret. The gym’s not nearly as much fun without them!

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